These Are Our Lives: Religion

"When my father felt the call to preach he did not lay aside his carpenter tools. It was years before he gave up his manual labor; by that time he had been given the degree of Doctor of Divinity by Livingston College in recognition of his earnestness and influence. My father said I was born for the ministry. He told me that I had all the attributes of a leader and that it was his wish that I should be a bishop in the church. I couldn't see it his way and I chose the profession of dentistry. But I haven't been happy; I made money, but it hasn't brought me satisfaction or peace of mind. As I grow older I hear the call to preach that I couldn't hear when my father was alive. I smile when I pass the big white church up town with the words carved over its door, 'A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL MY PEOPLE.' I know it doesn't mean MY people." -- Negro dentist

                              

"Law, the Baptist have been carryin' on a real revival," Stella stated. "Rains is sure a strict one. He don't believe in folks goin' to no picture shows atall."

"And I don't neither," Kate spoke decisively," Kate replied promptly. "If eternity should come and you'd be caught on the devil's territory what hope could you have? Do you go to shows?" she questioned me.

"Yes," I admitted. "I don't feel that it's wrong."

Have you ever got down on your knees and asked God if it was wrong?" she wanted to know.

"No, I really haven't," I answered.

"Well, when you do he'll let you know it's wrong."

"Some folks says the Bible speaks against snuff-dippin'," Stella Roberson said as she spat into the tin can close to her chair.

Kate waited a full half minute before she spoke. "Well, I've never heard it were a sin, and the Lord's never told me it was."

"Have you ever asked the Lord if it was wrong?" Stella wanted to know.

"No I ain't," Kate admitted, "but good as I love it I could quit snuff if I knowed it was sinnin's to use it." -- Kate Brumby, retired mill worker, and friend Stella Roberson

"Personally, I don't belong to the church. It's all right for those who want it, I guess. But I'm this way: I know what I think is right and I do it. I don't have to be bribed or bullied to follow my convictions. Then, too, I don't believe in a lot of the things the church teaches. When a man dies, he's dead -- and that's the end of him." -- Marsh Taylor, landlord

"Well sir, it's been a good while since I thought of religion. I used to belong to the Baptist Church but I've always been used to cussing, drinking, and working on Sunday. I know a whole heap of times in the busy season when we done our week's washing, scrubbing, and cleaning on a-Sunday and though nothing of it. I stopped going to church mostly way back when the younguns was little. You see, I didn't have nothing to wear for me nor them. It was a good ways to go and John wouldn't go with me nor keep the younguns for me to go. He never did care for churches nor religion and way atter awhile the hard life took everything outen me 'cept cussing, I reckon." -- Sarah Easton, white farm laborer.


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