……and Jesus lives! When my ex-husband and I were in a couples Sunday School class in our Southern Baptist church topics would come up from time to time that were, in my mind, gray areas-drinking alcoholic beverages, gambling, taking a vacation that included missing a Sunday. Then there were those things that were we were all so certain of that were abominations against the LORD. Things like homosexuality, adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, jealousy, idolatry.
The Sunday School teacher employed a discussion style class versus a lecturing style. She would read the pertinent scripture, make three points, say a poem and then ask some questions. Any time these topics came up we had a particular member who was so perfect in every way that she would bluntly, and harshly condemn any and all of those behaviors. A real Bible thumper, always beating the choir over the head with the “Good Book”, which is, of course, the King James Version. She had no compassion whatsoever for the couple that sat in our class who had a homosexual son, or the man whose wife had an affair – they were sitting right there. I can’t imagine what it must feel like to go through life thinking your child is an abomination to God Almighty.
While, being a fundamentalist Christian, I agreed wholeheartedly that things like homosexuality, adultery, fornication, stealing, lying, jealousy, and idolatry were sin I often disagreed on things like playing cards, and enjoying a glass of wine with a meal. I even like a cold beer with my pizza and with my hotdog while I’m watching a football game. I never minded saying so either. At the risk of being thrown out of the Church because the by-laws required us to never drink, dance or gamble.
She would get on a roll about how sinful all of that is and that it always leads to debauchery. How it’s wrong to enjoy a game of black jack and to take even a sip of anything stronger than sweet tea. A few of my Sunday School mates and my hubby and I enjoyed a trip to Biloxi, MS every now and again. Her railing always got under my friends’ skin. She never bothered me. She could go off on her tangent and I could respond in a calm manner and ask, “where in your “Good Book” does it say that?”
Finally she got so exasperated with my indifference to her “preaching” she resorted to this retort: “Hell is hot and Jesus lives!”. To which I could smile and respond, “Yes, I’ll see you there”. That made her even more discombobulated, because she had no idea which “there” I meant. You see, all the while I knew that she had gotten pregnant out of wedlock….a fornicator no less. Now I’m ashamed to admit I’ve passed some of the same judgements. I’ve found that the “Good Book” makes some people down right mean, including yours truly. My views are changing considerably.