Living in the Bible Belt

I live in the middle of the Bible Belt. This is where I was born and raised and this is all I know. We have churches on every corner. And when I say "churches on every corner" I don't mean that as some lofty exaggerated term. I mean where my moms house is in Birmingham, there's 4 churches right next to each other at one intersection -- and down the road at the next turn, theres another church -- and up the road theres two more.

When you go to the movie theater, you sit through church ads that are mixed in with the others. While watching TV, you see commercials for churches like coca cola. Everyone here has some experience with Christianity -- period. If you don't go to church -- well, you just haven't found the right one! Go check your mail -- there's church flyers in there, I promise (though I find that this is more so in Birmingham than in Huntsville).

I wanted to post this because I realize that some of you aren't from a place like this. Some of you would find this strange. I like it -- I find it comforting in some odd way. I like that on Sunday morning all the church parking lots are filled and no ones at the grocery store.

This post was inspired by two things. The first is that I just saw an ad for a Baptist church during the Martha Stewart show (Shes about to show us how to get garlic smell off your hands -- you know I have that problem A LOT). The only reason this stood out to me was that they were talking about meeting people and they said that THEIR church was the place to be. Yeah, I don't like that. I think the ads that stand out and actually make you want to look into it are the ones that just talk about god (or family is a big topic). They never mention the name of the church or where its located -- it's just an add encouraging you to seek out more information -- then at the end, in a non-flashy way you see that this commercial was paid for by _______ church.

The second reason this is on my mind is the recent church-burning spree. You might not have heard about it if you're not in Alabama, but here it's obviously all over the news. A group has been running around burning churches all over the state. Nine in all, I believe (in just over a week). They were caught yesterday. It was a group of three well-off educated young men. How sickening. They did it for the "thrill." Ok. Why burn churches? Why not burn a gas station or something? The sad thing is that after burning 9 churches, they only face a charge worthy of 45 years in jail (5 years for each church). I think that's just horribly pathetic. Who burns a church?


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