“Dreams Will Keep You In Line.” Recollections From A Scared Baptist Kid

This morning I shuffled into the kitchen at 4 am, chastising myself for not getting enough sleep, for which I will pay later in the day. I figure a nap will take me down around noon. But, when my country and our laws are under assault from evil men, I take it seriously, even though there is little I can do except pray for divine intervention or a selective lightning bolt from Heaven. My dreams were filled with political discourse, and sleep was fitful at best. I awakened sweaty and fearful of what lay ahead. “Our ship is foundering in seas of discontent, and the ominus rocks are within sight. The sails are in tatters, our rigging is failing, and we are destined to be dashed to pieces on the jagged rocks of an unknown land.” I paraphrase that description; it came from someone important, maybe Mark Twain or Confusious.

Last night Mrs. MoMo and I watched the final seasonal episode of “The Chosen,” the story of Jesus and his disciples. The program is filmed in North Texas and Montana, and the cast is exceptional, as well as the writing, which takes the scripture and uses it as real folks would have heard, and spoken it in those times, making it realistic and not words printed in the Holy Bible. We are fans. It’s as if I am attending a church service without the peripheral distractions of bad music, wailing children, and a misinformed preacher that strives to please everyone, everywhere, all the time. I prefer the television show. I assure MoMo that I am not a heathen knuckle-dragging neanderthal chewing on a Brontisaures leg bone, but a bonafide Christian that seeks Biblical truths and inspirations in a different way. She understands.

I spent too many hours on the hard wooden pulpits the Baptists prefer to be anything else. I knew that just below my pew, Hell awaited, and raging demons could pull me down through the wooden floorboards by my small legs if I faltered in faith. I equated faith with fear. Folks today are not fearful of God. Doing good deeds is commendable, but they won’t buy you a stairway to Heaven. Maybe Led Zepplin was onto something?

My zealous preacher resembling a frothing-mouthed Bulldog pacing the stage, arms waving, and holding a large silver microphone to his dripping lips, advanced the service to a dramatic interpretation featuring hysterical heights that made the congregation swoon with the vapors. He reminded me of Brother Dave Gardner, the preacher turned comedian. I heard a few soft chuckles from my father from time to time; he was a fan of Brother Dave. Lofty condemnations, browbeating, and blanket accusations kept the flock in line; Amens were as plentiful as the women’s Beehive hair du’s, and the basket, when passed, was always overflowing with dollar bills and personal bank checks. I proudly gave my dime, which my mother pressed into my hand at the last moment. I was a kid and had no currency of my own to tithe. The little money I got from selling soda pop bottles went to candy bars, comic books, and Dr Peppers, the staples of child sustenance. Those unsettling experiences are burned into my conscience and come to me in dreams when I least expect them. Perhaps our country needs some of that “old time religion” to scare the hell out of us.

7 Replies to ““Dreams Will Keep You In Line.” Recollections From A Scared Baptist Kid”

  1. Yea there are two kinds of preachers I’ve heard…those who preach…and those who teach…personally I like the teaching kind…but I always like to hear Brother Dave Gardner


    1. Brother Dave was an influence in my young days. My father liked him and bought a few of his records, which I was allowed to listen to on my RCA portable record player. I called everyone Dear Heart for years. I also prefer the teachings from my pastor, I don’t need the rock music and the blustering, but my Baptist minister was brother Dave, without the comedy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yea I’ve walked into some churches and it seemed like a Las Vegas show instead of a church.


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