Get thee behind me, Satan! | Opinion | The Press and Standard

by | January 14, 2017 5:00 pm

Last Updated: January 11, 2017 at 2:14 pm

The iconic country singer Tom T. Hall had a huge hit awhile back with “Me and Jesus.” (Yes, “iconic” is overused, and by “awhile” I mean 35 years.)
Check it out on YouTube; it actually sounds like the Avett Brothers at first listen.
The toe-tapping chorus goes like this:

“Me and Jesus, got our own thing goin’
“Me and Jesus, got it all worked out
“Me and Jesus, got our own thing goin’
“We don’t need anybody to tell us what it’s all about.”
Amen to that!

I was thinking about Tom T. Hall and the Avett Brothers in church last week. I was feeling smug about making it to the New Year’s Day service, but that’s not hard when you go to bed at 10:30 p.m. on Dec. 31.
Anyway, Widdle Baby wasn’t there to chide me about daydreaming (he knows that glassy look in my eyes), so my thoughts were wandering at will.
My siblings and I were raised by an uber-conservative Baptist deacon daddy and a free-spirited, dance-all-night Episcopalian mother. They met on a blind date, and Dad would have married her if she’d been a stripper or a snake handler; that’s how hard and fast he fell.
Because neither one would convert, they ended up shuttling all four kids between First Baptist and St. Anne’s Episcopal. We were full, participating members of each church, which is probably why my clan is so relaxed about religion today.
My brother Bubba is Catholic, T-Bob is Presbyterian and sister Moonbeam finds God in nature. I’m an Episcopalian who attends a United Methodist church because Widdle’s been a member for 30 years, and “my” church is 20 miles away.
Speaking of church, in 2014, about 70 percent of Americans said they belonged to a “Christian church,” according to a Pew Research Center study. The results were based on a telephone survey of 35,000 people.
I’m not sure that’s accurate, because 1) Southerners are probably the only people still polite enough to actually participate in a phone survey, and 2) If you’re from Dixie and a stranger asks, “Are you a churchgoer?” you remember Meemaw taking you to Sunday school and sob, “Why yes, yes I am.”
I think worshiping “corporately,” with fellow believers, is important. We’re called to gather in His name. That said, I know some wonderful people who don’t set foot in church. They’re kind, compassionate, moral people who have no use for organized religion. Who am I to tell them they’re doing it wrong? Live and let live, I say. (Unless you’re hiding chocolate from me, and then it’s on, brother.)
Be what you want to be, believe what you want to believe. Some days I ponder reincarnation; will I come back as a chicken or a toad?
The thing my parents always emphasized was prayer. “It should be second nature,” Mom always said. “God wants to know everything about you.”
“Mom, if God is omnipotent, He already knows everything,” I pointed out.
“Shut up and pray,” she replied, which actually isn’t bad advice.
I hang upside down on a conversion table every day, using that time to pray and reflect upon my blessings. I usually finish right before my eyes pop out on stalks. I also pray when running, bathing, driving and doing housework, as in, “Dear Lord, why is this toilet clogged AGAIN?!”
And every time I open the freezer and see that container of Chunky Monkey ice cream, I whisper, “Get thee behind me, Satan!”

(Julie R. Smith, who sometimes slides into the pew half asleep, can be reached at widdleswife@aol.com.)

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