One Sunday morning, while driving through a small Southern town, I spotted a woman hurrying down the sidewalk in her dress and heels, purse on her arm, Bible in her hand. And I suddenly felt homesick. I wanted to be back home, on my pew in my church.
When I was a kid, the adults in our family believed Proverbs 22:6: "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Every Sunday morning, my cousins and I were dressed up, spit-shined, and marched to Sunday School and "preaching," which is what we called the worship service. We were there every time the doors opened. As teenagers, we sometimes resented all that mandatory attendance. But now that we're adults, we're grateful for the faith that gives us a rock to stand on when times get tough—as they are right now, for millions of people.
So I'd like to share a little of our spiritual life with you. But fear not. You will not be preached to. You will, I hope, be encouraged, comforted, inspired, and, yes—entertained. Because while church is the place where we gather to worship and pray, it's also the place (in the rural South, at least) where the occasional snake gets loose in the sanctuary and Sunday services are conducted with a garden hoe propped against the organ. Can I get an Amen?
[That's my husband, Dave, and me in the picture, leaving my home church on our wedding day, six years ago. He's a good Catholic boy from St. Louis. But I think if he eats enough fried green tomatoes and banana pudding, he just might discover his inner Southern Baptist.)