Friday, July 1, 2011

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! And A Tale Of A Childhood Church Mystery

This lovely lady is a bit blurred, but I was drivin' up the road when I saw her, so I grabbed my camera and started SLOWLY easin' up the road towards her while I took photos. I was still pretty far away and had to crop this photo just to get this image. Her baby came out just then and they took off.

July 1, 2011

First let me say Happy Independence Day to all ya'll, since I plan to stay at home all weekend, except for church. The Redneck bought a brisket, we are cuttin' hickory wood for the smoker, and we will have a small family celebration at home. Not even doin' fireworks this year--I'm keepin' it as simple as I can.

We take so many things for granted in this country. I lived in a few cultures outside the U.S., and I am tellin' you--we are more than blessed here, and yet we complain if we don't have the car model we want, or if we don't have a huge house, or, heaven forbid--they vote the wrong person off the island!

Especially as Christians, we don't appreciate the freedoms we have to worship openly, or that we are not dragged from our churches and imprisoned for our faith. Instead, we get all tangled up in what is the right way to dress, which translation of the Bible we read, what do we eat, etc.

When I was a kid, I never knew that there were things called 'denominations'. Yes, I knew there were Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, and Jews--I just didn't understand they were different. I was 12 before I realized there were no BAPTIST nuns! Heck, I thought we all worked for the same BOSS--we were just all assigned to different departments.

Once, when I was a little girl, one of the local Baptist preachers came to my grandparent's house (I was raised by them), and began to berate my grandmother for not sendin' me to church. She agreed that I would attend from then on, and so each Sunday mornin' I would get up, get dressed, and head up into town to church(this was in a small town back in the 60's--no thought anything about a little kid walkin' to church by themselves back then).

Well, after time went by--here comes the Baptist preacher again, and he is wearin' that LOOK they all used to get--if you grew up in a small town, you know the one I'm talkin' about.

"Ella," says he. "I thought we agreed that Evelyn would start goin' to church on Sunday."

My grandmother agreed that yes indeed, they had, and I had been goin' every Sunday since."

"Ella, that little girl has not been in church since the first month she started coming."

Now this was a puzzle to Granny, because she HAD been sendin' me, and afterwards she always asked me what I had learned. I always had an answer, so she never thought twice about it. She called me in from play and asked me if I had truly been attendin' church.

"Yes'm," I said.

"Now, Evelyn," says the preacher. "You know you shouldn't lie. You haven't been in chirch at all."

I insisted that I had, he basically called me a liar--and THAT got my grandfather involved. His voice came quietly, but very powerfully from his chair across the room.

"Why don't you ask her WHERE she has been goin' to church?"

The preacher looked at my grandfather like he had lost his mind, but after the old man stared him down for a few minutes, he turned and asked me where I had been goin'".

"The other church," I said.

"What other church?"

"The one across the street from your church."

That happened to be the local Methodist Church.

"But--but--why would you do that?" he asked.

"They don't yell, so I can understand what the preacher says better," I replied.

You see, the Baptist preacher was a "HARDSHELL" Baptist--he would shout, scream, jump pews and pound the pulpit, yellin' about hellfire and damnation. While there are times when that is a needed thing--I was only a little kid, and it freaked me out. I couldn't understand what he said half the time, because he would yell and rant so much I would get confused.

One Sunday mornin' I just decided to cross the street and see what the other church was like. It was nice, it was QUIET, and I was able to understand what the preacher said when he talked.

My grandfather said quietly, "Well, she's goin' to church after all--imagine that." He then turned his chair away and was silent.

That preacher wasn't happy, but he wasn't stupid either. He left without another critcal word, and I went back to playin'.

I'm not sayin' that you should just let a kid go anywhere he wants to church--things are vastly different these days, and I would screen ANY church before I would let my kids go there alone. I'm just sayin' that maybe we should stop worryin' about what makes us all different, and start lookin' at  what makes us ONE IN CHRIST. Like our Preach says--stop worryin' about how to DO church, and start BEIN' the church.

Well, I got chores. Later ya'll.
© 2011 by Evelyn Edgett

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