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When the Klan came to our revival

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When the Klan came to our revival

Melanie was — depending on who you talked to — sharing the love of Christ or trying to cause trouble.

Forty-five years later I like to think it was both. Nixon was president, gas was 36 cents a gallon, and everything in my hometown was separate and unequal.

My father was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in West Point, Miss. The good people at Calvary encouraged me to fear anyone who did not look like us. We understood that there are Bible verses about God’s love for all people, but we ignored them. We sang “red and yellow, black and white” without realizing that was offensive. The sign out front said “Everyone is welcome.” We knew how to read the sign.

For our youth revival in the church gym we invited an evangelist who knew how to get middle schoolers to walk the aisle. The preacher would explain to the ones who had not been baptized that they could be hit by a bus on the way home and burn in hell forever. The ones who had strayed into sin must promise to never commit that sin again — not even if she is a cheerleader. The ones who had not strayed into sin because no cheerleader would ever invite them to do so needed to give in to God’s call to ministry. Anyone who was not 100 percent certain of their eternal resting place should walk the aisle because what could it hurt? We lined up Miss Mississippi and a quarterback from Mississippi State to speak, because this was big-time worship.

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Melanie was — depending on who you talked to — sharing the love of Christ or trying to cause trouble. Forty-five years later I like to think it was both. Nixon was president, gas was 36 cents a gallon, and everything in my hometown was separate and unequal.

My father was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in West Point, Miss. The good people at Calvary encouraged me to fear anyone who did not look like us. We understood that there are Bible verses about God’s love for all people, but we ignored them. We sang “red and yellow, black and white” without realizing that was offensive. The sign out front said “Everyone is welcome.” We knew how to read the sign.

For our youth revival in the church gym we invited an evangelist who knew how to get middle schoolers to walk the aisle. The preacher would explain to the ones who had not been baptized that they could be hit by a bus on the way home and burn in hell forever. The ones who had strayed into sin must promise to never commit that sin again — not even if she is a cheerleader. The ones who had not strayed into sin because no cheerleader would ever invite them to do so needed to give in to God’s call to ministry. Anyone who was not 100 percent certain of their eternal resting place should walk the aisle because what could it hurt? We lined up Miss Mississippi and a quarterback from Mississippi State to speak, because this was big-time worship.

- See more at: https://baptistnews.com/opinion/columns/item/30264-when-the-klan-came-to-our-revival#sthash.NTHyCexq.dpuf

Melanie was — depending on who you talked to — sharing the love of Christ or trying to cause trouble. Forty-five years later I like to think it was both. Nixon was president, gas was 36 cents a gallon, and everything in my hometown was separate and unequal.

My father was the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in West Point, Miss. The good people at Calvary encouraged me to fear anyone who did not look like us. We understood that there are Bible verses about God’s love for all people, but we ignored them. We sang “red and yellow, black and white” without realizing that was offensive. The sign out front said “Everyone is welcome.” We knew how to read the sign.

For our youth revival in the church gym we invited an evangelist who knew how to get middle schoolers to walk the aisle. The preacher would explain to the ones who had not been baptized that they could be hit by a bus on the way home and burn in hell forever. The ones who had strayed into sin must promise to never commit that sin again — not even if she is a cheerleader. The ones who had not strayed into sin because no cheerleader would ever invite them to do so needed to give in to God’s call to ministry. Anyone who was not 100 percent certain of their eternal resting place should walk the aisle because what could it hurt? We lined up Miss Mississippi and a quarterback from Mississippi State to speak, because this was big-time worship.

- See more at: https://baptistnews.com/opinion/columns/item/30264-when-the-klan-came-to-our-revival#sthash.NTHyCexq.dpuf
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