A few weeks ago, I attended my old church. It’s a traditional black baptist church. I’ve visited it several times before, but this time was different, or perhaps, I was different.
For those of you who haven’t visited me before, I am now in a Reformed Baptist church. I tell of my experience and my reason for moving in Why Sit Here Until We Die?, my very first blog post.
What I’ve learned is that culture goes deep, really deep. What’s that old saying? “You can take a person out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the person.” Anyway, I love black gospel music, and so, as the choir sung His Blood Still Works, I found myself on my feet, hand in the air, rocking, singing with the choir from my seat, I was surprised and happy that I still connected.
It had been a while, because in my new church, which I really love, the music, the feeling is more reserved, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
But, in the black church, it is way different. I got a taste of it when I watched the funeral of Aretha Franklin. We just experience worship with our fullest expression. In my second post, It’s Not Just Black and White, I describe the difference between my background and my new church.
I was telling two sisters from my church of my experience visiting my old church. I told them that “I still have it”. I told them I was on my feet with hand in the air. I told them that I didn’t know whether I still had it; but yes, the gospel music still tugs on my heart especially when I consider God’s rich mercy towards me. This automatically erupts in an outward response of praise to God. For he delivered me from the domain of darkness and transferred me to the kingdom of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ.
Even now, in my new church, I will say Amen in response to something said, or preached throughout the sermon. I’ve been called the “Amen lady”. I sometimes raise my hand, and I sometimes cry. I am naturally an emotional person. I have at times gotten teary on the Happy Birthday song, or when I see children sing during their school programs. That’s how God wired me. And culturally, I grew up in churches filled with emotions, shouts of praise, even dance, or a run. Yes, that’s what I grew up in, and being there a few weeks ago brought it all back, because I was right there praising, raising, singing, waving.
Culture runs deep.
5 thoughts on “Culture Runs Deep”
Please understand that I mean no disrespect towards Presbyterians in what I’m about to say. I grew up in a predominantly white Presbyterian church. The Presbyterians are known as the “frozen chosen” – we stay in our seats and don’t often show outward response. While I am grateful in many ways for that culture and that background, I am glad that I later found a church where more expression was welcomed. When I think of how freely David worshiped God, I know that I want my response to God to be more like David’s. It’s harder for me to be expressive in worship, but I’m not afraid to stand with lifted arms and sometimes with tears rolling down my face as I’m moved by the Spirit. I say worship your way, Barbara!
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I was going to mention David’s dance, but I have another post that I want to address that speaks directly to why we fear outward expression. I believe the bottom line may be pride, but of course, the culture of being dignified. Thank you so much for your gracious response.
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I look forward to your post on David’s dance! 🙂
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It’s hard to be in love with God and not let it show in our emotions, especially when we think about His love and mercies towards us.
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I know, Victor. I believe that some of our brothers and sisters fear going over board, fear appearing non-dignified.