Old Time Religion

by Elias Blum

My mind repudiates ‘old time religion’. Its theological content is shallow and brittle, its approach to the bible narrowly fundamentalist, its stance on social and political issues is extremely conservative. There’s probably not one amongst them that understands and accepts evolution, or thinks gays deserve equal civil rights.

My mind repudiates it, but my heart still – at some deep uncharted level – loves it. At its best, an old fashioned country-fried shout-n-holler ‘blood and hellfire’ Baptist meeting can be deeply moving.

It is folk-religion, not priest-religion or state-religion. There’s no formality, ceremony or hierarchy. It is raw, intense, direct, unpretentious, heart-on-sleave, honest-to-God, speak-when-the-spirit-moves-thee sort of religion.

Come on forward. Lay it all down on the altar. Weep it out. Cry it out.

I left this stuff a long time ago.

But it has never quite left me.