The Greater Corinthian Nondenominational Church of the Christ kept me and my older brother bored, tired and whiny every Sunday morning. My childhood was not one spent with atheists, Catholics, Muslims or Jehovah Witnesses. My mother is an overbearing Christian and I’ve always had religion growing up in the 1990’s.
The women at my church home were downright evil to me. When I was six or so, I pondered if they were the devils helpers. The men were quiet and serious all the time. When the deacons would smile at me I would never smile back.
Church was chaotic for half an hour before service started. The women gossiping about each other and turning church into a fashion show, while the men bet on the football games. I despised all of it. All it was to me was a social hall. My mama knew I disliked church too, yet she forced me to go saying that it’s the message that’s important, not the people.
Everything was sour about that old, cracking, white church: the people, my peers and the stained red carpet. Yes, everything was sour except the preacher, Pastor Raymond Davis. He was mysteriously appealing and warm. The church respected him, and always kept quiet when he spoke. As a youngster I could never understand his sermons yet with time I began to cherish them. His words were my weekly holy horoscopes; they flowed like velvet. I loved hearing him speak with such passion and wisdom, as if he was talking directly to me. He made sense of all the dumb, frustrating things that happen to me in my life. The members must have loved him too because they screamed ‘hallelujah’ while crying and dancing all around the stained red-carpeted isles.
I believe in the cracked, dim, white church that feels like home. The people became my safety-net: my family outside the family. I suddenly wanted to go to church every Sunday. For the first time in my life I appreciated Sundays, and understood that church isn’t for entertainment but to enrich the mind and soul. My mother said she knew I would learn to appreciate church. I guess it’s sort of a coming of age ritual in my family.
Now days, I think of myself as a preacher. I’ll preach to anybody about the love I have for my church. I tell them that if you’re missing out on the gospel mixed with the “Amen’s”, and the southern church music along with the collection plate; you need to go to a Sunday service. Yes folks, I believe in church.
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