That’s right, this is a post about church. I sometimes like to go right for the controversial stuff. 

As a boy, I was raised Southern Baptist. We were poor and lived in a mostly black neighborhood. Feel free to identify me in the image from 2nd grade. You’ve got a 50% shot of getting it right. 

When I went to church, it was a big deal. We went to Sunday school and learned about Jesus. We wore suits. Mine was lime green. Yes, it was a leisure suit. I had another suit for Easter that was checkered. I wore it until the bottoms were near my knees.  We also sang – *really* sang. If you’ve never been to a Southern Baptist church, you don’t know what singing is. Also, we didn't have rock bands at church back then. Finally, every Sunday after church we had a fried chicken feast. 

Today, my wife and kids go to a Baptist church where the only black people is the family the church adopted from Africa. And while there’s no rock band at this church, the choir seems to lack true soul. Sometimes, when I go with my wife and kids, I just look down at the songbook and lip sync. Badly.  Also, kids don’t dress up anymore (they wear flip flops).  Only the old people do. So I guess that just being there is good enough these days. 

I don’t go to church anymore because I believe that religion, by its very nature, is more exclusive than inclusive. And God doesn’t discriminate. I had a personal epiphany about 19 years ago which affected me in such a way that I had no choice but to believe in a power greater than myself. I call this power God. And He really doesn’t care what I want. He just wants me to be humble before Him. So I am. Daily. 

It works for me. And Him.


Jim Mitchem/@smashadv

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Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.