It was good for Paul and Silas

Give me that old-time religion 

Give me that old-time religion 

Give me that old-time religion 

Its’ good enough for me!

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:25 NKJV

We went to church on Sunday for the first time in over a year.

Let me clarify. We went to church in person for the first time in over a year.

We’ve been attending online services in a number of forms. And we’ve led the worship for the livestream on a couple of occasions.

This was being back in the building.

It wasn’t out usual building, but a building from my childhood.

Again, let me clarify.

You’ll recall that we were in my hometown this weekend for a family funeral. We decided to stay through Sunday and go to church with my Mom.

It’s a convoluted story, and one that perhaps needs a flow chart…or perhaps a flannelgraph if you remember your Sunday school, but here is its in nutshell.

I grew up in the Church of God. The Anderson, Indiana flavor, and not the Cleveland, Tennessee flavor.

If you know, you know. Or you can wait for the interpretation.

Around the time I was starting school, our very small church was sold to the town who built a lovely office building and library on the spot. I spent much of my youth in that library.

Ironically, or not, the library is now located in the old Mormon church.

That’s another story.

When our church was sold, the ground was broken for a new church building on the main thoroughfare through town.

But the building didn’t go up overnight and we needed a place for church during construction.

We ended up meeting at the Seventh Day Adventist Church across the street. After all, they weren’t using the building on Sundays.

Our church building was eventually completed and we moved into the new digs.

The Write Side Shop

When I was in high school, in a story that may or may not end up in the book, our church left the denomination.

Several years later, post college, and in the early days of my political involvement, I left that church right before I moved away. That story may indeed show up in the book.

Not long after, my Mom and Stepdad left and began attending a small church in our original Church of God denomination on the other side of the county. They were there for years. When I say small, let’s just say that twelve people was often considered a good crowd.

Fast forward about thirty years. The small church was struggling, but still surviving. An opportunity came up to buy and moved into…wait for it…the Seventh Day Adventist Church building.

And so they did. If things go well this week, their offer to buy the building will be accepted.

All that gets back to the story of this past Sunday, my wife and I went to church with my Mom at the church of my early childhood, across from the church of my childhood and youth.

Where’s that flannelgraph?

Not only that, since the regular pianist, my cousin and or stepsister depending on how you draw the family chart, was out of town. So my wife played piano. To do so she had to learn some Church of God hymns that grew out of the camp meeting movement prior to the turn of the previous century.

All that gets down to the fact that it was good to be in church.

Pastor Faye, also a cousin, and for the record a former babysitter, gave a powerful message based from the first two chapters of Ecclesiastes.

All is meaningless, except that her sermon wasn’t.

On our ride home we chatted about the fact that it felt comfortable. It felt familiar. It felt like church.

That’s a feeling that we haven’t had for sometime. Not just because of the pandemic, but for reasons that will definitely not be included in the book, we’ve been in search for a new church home.

We haven’t found it. And we’re not driving four hours every weekend to find it.

There as familiarity in the old things. The old buildings. The old hymns.

Heck, the hymnals.

That old time religion if you will.

I know that there are different styles of worship. And I know that church music has evolved over the centuries. I mean in the early church, instruments and harmony were nowhere to be found.

I’ve even grown up through traditions that said “We won’t allow guitars in the church because stringed instruments are of the devil. We’ll stick with the piano.”

I’ll give you a minute to think about that one.

Personally, I love the hymns. Sure they’re old. But they’re solid. And they’re absolutely packed full of theology what we miss in the “Jesus is my boyfriend” songs.

Too soon? No my brethren and sistren not nearly soon enough.

Give me an old-fashion hymn sing comin’ down in four part harmony any day of the week.

And twice on Sunday.

It’s true, I’ve adapted. But I find renewal when we get back to the hymns of the faith, when we get back to the hymnal.

And maybe when we step back in time to a little country church.










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Chopped Bard




The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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