Sunday, November 27, 2011


Here it is a Sunday. I was thinking about my Dad on this the first holiday season without him. I remember growing up in a fundamental evangelical church that my grandparents founded in Abernathy, Texas.  Althought you might think differently, a strict church in a small town is not the best way to find your true spiritual path. 
I was sure that this religion would not be mine to embrace when I became the buttt of a family joke. It was a misinterpretation of one of the staple hymns of the church. The words to the chorus of the song that repeated many times were, "Give me oil in my lamp keep me burning."  I was small enough that my Dad would lift me up and I could stand on the back of the pew in front of ours and see what was going on.  At some point in my young life Dad heard me joining my voice with the congregation singing..... "Give me oil in my lamp Giggle Birdie".  I logiically assumed that the stain glass representation of a dove assending on the newly baptised Jesus was the "holy giggle birdie".  For this reason I did not lift my voice in musical praise for a long time after that. 
A friend of my mine has a similar story when she was a small child.  The words to her misinterpreted hymn were "gladly the cross I'd bear." Of course she thought that it was a Hanna-Barberra cartoon character voiced by Daws Butler named.... "Gladly, the Cross-eyed Bear".  Perhaps the Giggle Birdie and Gladly should team up for an inspriational cartoon on TBN. The plots just sort of write themselves don't they?  Gladly and Birdie are on the road to Damascus... well you know the rest.
The things I remember about that little Abernathy church are sketchy.  We left the fold soon after my giggle birdie moment and eventually moved away from the city when I was in high school.  Certain things stick clearly in my mind. One is the Baptism ritual of dunking the saved in a glass tank of water that was at the top of the alter, and the preacher talking more about the devil and satan than he did about God and Jesus. I tended to comee away from those services not so much inspired but scared.  That didn't seem right back then and  doesn't seem so today.  As I look back on my life, the worst decisions I ever made were made from a sense of fear.  I think we should teach less fear and more happiness. 
As you were,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen, Brother Jay.