Monday, November 20, 2006

Rock and Holy Roller

They say that patience is a virtue. That good things come to those who wait. So forgive me for being such an absent blogger these days. But hopefully what I am about to write about will make up for my delinquency.

Marty & I spent yesterday evening at a Baptist church for a "singing."

In case you are wondering how we wound up at church for a "singing," we were invited by Marty's brother and his wife. We had been visiting them and their 10-week old son and the visit lasted longer than we had planned. They were headed to church and asked us to join them. Being with family, celebrating their son, it seemed like the right thing to do.

There is something about Baptist congregations that always astounds me. The level of their conviction in their faith. Their single mindedness in their spirit. The openess of their hearts.

I confess - not being Baptist, not believing what they believe - it can feel a bit awkward to be in their midst, especially when they stand up and raise their arms to be closer to God. When the room echoes with their "Amens" and "Hallelujahs." And yet, there is also something so incredibly moving about it. The pure passion with which they celebrate their beliefs is infectious. And not in a "I am thinking about converting" kind of way but more in a "I sometimes wish I had that much passion" kind of way.

I would say that Baptist churches are a dime a dozen down here, but the truth is I haven't been to all that many. What I can say is that they exist in mass proliferation. They range in size from small roadside shacks to large, modern day constructions.

Yesterday we were at Christian Freedom Southern Baptist Church in King's Mountain, NC. And in fact, we weren't actually in the church itself but in the auditorium of the high school that's also run by the church. The reason for the auditorium setting was that the singing featured the Crabb Family, a well-known, award-winning Christian Rock/Gospel group that Marty said reminded him of the Osmonds.

Despite their Christian roots, the guys looked like they could have been in any modern day band. One sported spiky, tousled hair and 3 days growth of facial hair. Another had shaggy long hair like David Cassidy circa the late 1970s. They wore faded jeans and skinny shirts. One sported Elvis Costello rims and a trendy cap. The girls seemed a little more wholesome - but the stage set-up - inlcuding 4 guitars, keyboards and drums - was all rock band.

I wish we could have stayed longer and heard more. Although we got to church at 5:30, the show, which by the way was SRO, didn't start until 6pm and the choir performed 3 "opening act" songs.

Still, we heard 3 songs by the Crabb Family and I have to say, they rocked...Holy Roller style. At one point I wondered how many songs you can write about God, faith and redemption. And then I thought that if you can write 1000s of songs about love, broken hearts, cheatin' boyfriends, unrequited love, and second chances, then why not God and faith.

All in all, it was a different sort of Sunay night from what I am used to, but it was very much a reflection of what life is like down here.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...