The Baptist, especially the Southern Baptist, belong in the main to the conservative sector of our society. My roots were there. It has been interesting to me, even at this late stage of life, to realize that many of the old hymns still resonate with me, even when I feel I have moved on and particularly enjoy classical forms. This connection with old-time religion, tent Revivals and camp meetings, hasn’t been something I have readily admitted. “Narrow-mindedness” became an issue for me almost as soon as I left home for college, at a time when my personal rebellion merged with my politics. It’s hard to say which had the greatest influence on me.
In the debates in which I was a part of that followed…debates that didn’t include family members who remained in the Baptist church…I never talked about the church I came from. My silence over the years…whenever I found myself in the middle of debates about such hot topics as abortion, evolution, guns, and even war…shouldn’t be misjudged: I have strong feelings about such issues, passions that would have placed me at odds with my family. Yet I never confronted them openly. I never with passion said much; yet inside passions were there. Now, with the death of my parents, opportunity was lost; the impetus, gone. We never had that conversation. I doubt that it would’ve gone anywhere and would’ve garnered anything but anger. At this point, I’m thankful I cherish the old hymns.