I was raised in a Christian home. My dad was a minister of the gospel and my parents taught me to live by the Golden Rule.
They taught us to respect others no matter the color of skin or national origin. Dad preached wherever he could find a pulpit and a congregation willing to listen to his sermons. He mostly preached about Jesus and the importance of salvation in a person’s life, sprinkled in with other biblical topics.
I can remember dad preaching in a house next to a railroad track in Berea that was converted into a temporary church. He preached and pastored at various places in Madison County, no matter the denomination and we followed him along the way, whether it was a storefront building or a church with a steeple.
My dad also evangelized and wasn’t afraid to step into a black church to preach a sermon. The first such church I remember him ministering was at Rev. Turpin’s church in downtown Richmond. I was moved as soon as I walked in the door. They knew how to have some church! They could sing through the walls and the amens were loud and vocal. The goosebumps were frequent and that let me know that God was near and not far away.
I know it’s not always about those goosebumps and sometimes the message trumps the method of delivery when it comes to delivering a sermon.
Since that time, I became hooked on the style of the black church. I love to hear black spirituals and there’s nothing like a good ‘ole gospel song sang by the black church choir to lift your spirits. One of my favorite songs, “I Can’t Even Walk” was sung by the late Charles Johnson and The Revivers. When I need to be reminded about Jesus’ love for me, I just listen to that song on YouTube and it ministers to my heart and makes me more aware that we cannot walk through this life without the Lord holding our hands.
That’s what we need in our society more than ever is simply walking with the Lord holding our hands. Even in the uncertain times that we live in, we need Jesus now more than ever before because, “Lord I can’t even walk without you holding my hand. The mountains too high and the valleys too wide. Down on my knees, that’s where I learned to stand. O Lord I can’t even walk without you holding my hand.”
Being a preacher’s kid or PK as they say, was never an easy task. We had some rules under the roof we had to abide by, but we, as a family, never swayed from showing our love for others.
At times, I wondered what it was like to grow up in a “normal home” but I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything in the world.
Dad and mom made sure we loved others as Jesus loved us no matter what. That’s why I choose love over hate any day.
Keith Taylor is publisher of the Berea Citizen.