Chamblee54

One History Of Religion

Posted in Georgia History, GSU photo archive, Religion by chamblee54 on August 7, 2022

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I was a southern baptist all my life. Arguably, I became a baptist when my mother converted in 1938, but really didn’t get with the program until I was born in 1954. The story is that Daddy called the choir director at six in the morning to sign me up.

First Baptist in Atlanta was a big church on Peachtree street, about a mile north of downtown. (A few years ago, they sold the land to a developer, and moved to the suburbs. I was working a block away when they tore down the building, and got some chips of brick as a souvenir.) I sang in the “cherub” choir. This was quite an experience when we performed in front of a full house. I have good memories of Sunday school, vacation bible school, and the choir program.

One thing I did not like, even at that young age, was the preacher. He was a greasy haired man who shouted a lot, and had a mean streak. Years later, I heard persistent rumors that he was gay. (I should note that this is not Charles Stanley. It is the man who preceded him.) One Sunday, we were watching him preach, and he shouted, “this is the word of G-d”. He then waved a Bible in the air, and slammed it into the pulpit. I thought, if that is the word of G-d, maybe he shouldn’t slam it down like that.

In 1962, mom and dad decided to move to a church closer to home. I liked Briarcliff Baptist. About this time, I first heard about being “saved from sin”, and thought it was a pretty cool idea. I also was in the cub scouts, and since their meetings were the same day as choir practice, I quit the choir. I attended church regularly the next few years, but never did join the church, and get baptized. The custom of pressuring children to make a “commitment of faith”, and get baptized, reflects poorly on Jesus. There are some other family issues that came up about this time. They are too personal to get into here, but they affected my attitude towards the church.

After a while, I was 17 years old, and working in a restaurant that was open until 1am on Saturday night. I decided one Sunday that I didn’t want to get up for church. I have only been back to that building once in the intervening 50 years. This is a repost, with pictures from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”.

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