The way of one Primitive Baptist preacher

Mentioned in a recent video that my ex-in-laws were Primitive Baptists, so let me elaborate a bit so people have a better idea of what I’m getting at here. My ex-father-in-law was a preacher (as well as owning his own bricklaying company and before that being a chicken farmer when his kids were young) and he came up in a Primitive Baptist family who all lived near one another in the same county, not too far off from where my own lived (my ex-in-laws lived for many years right directly next door to one of my Grandma’s sisters, coincidentally, years before I met my ex). I mentioned that my ex-father-in-law was a harsh man who took his position as the male leader of the family too far and wound up being very abusive to all of his kids and his wife, finally resulting in his wife divorcing him after approximately 24 years of marriage (when my ex was about 14, which is what freed him up to attend public school beginning in the 9th grade, the kids having all been home-schooled while the parents were together, with only one exception who paid for his own attendance at a local private school for his last couple of years).

My ex-father-in-law for many years now has been running a column in their local newspaper where he preaches his brand of fire and brimstone. I’ve noticed a little while back that he now also has a website with his sermons uploaded. I recall reading more than a few columns of his that were outright vitriolic against homosexuals (he completely and utterly detests and condemns them and states it loud and proud any chance he gets), but he’s a very judgmental man who takes issue with damn-near everything. When it comes to females, he and his family firmly believe women should never wear pants or shorts and must always wear skirts of long length. The mother is expected to only be a caretaker of the home and kids and vegetable garden, forbidden to work outside of it. Children must be home-schooled (as mentioned above) since they consider the rest of society to be filled with dangerous sinners, and religious education occurred every single day and ALL DAY on Sundays.

[And for the record, I’m not even opposed to home-schooling. Just didn’t care for how all they did it, though all 5 kids received educations superior to the rest of us attending the public or private local schools. Even though their mother only had a high school diploma, she did a good job there — I give her that. My ex-husband came up with familiarity with classic literature and understood human anatomy well enough that he was granted admittance into a rural medical scholarship program as a teen. Out of 5 kids, 4 attended college and I believe 3 completed their bachelor’s degrees. Though they obviously did grow up in a very insular environment, surrounded by relatives and cousins, except where they participated in local sports.]

When I speak of this man being abusive to his family, I am referring to excessive control and psychological mistreatment and bouts of violence. For example, choking out one of his sons out as a teenager. Another example that was mentioned in the divorce papers (which I read while dating my ex) was continuing to whip his adult daughters with belts when they’d return home for visits while attending college. My ex was particularly traumatized by events that he witnessed, he being the youngest of the kids, such as his father mistreating his mother and almost running her over with a vehicle on one occasion. We’re not talking mild or vague abuse here, and all of his kids (last I knew) and his ex-wife turned their backs on him and moved away (and all were seriously impacted as adults when I met them, having since abandoned the denomination they grew up with). By the time I met my ex-husband (when I was 17 and he was a senior in high school), he had converted to atheism/agnosticism and never again returned to Christianity (though he remained extremely knowledgeable of the bible and could quote scripture and explain verses in a way I found fascinating and illuminating).

To give a small taste of who my ex-father-in-law was, I’ll transcribe a portion of one of his columns that was printed in the local newspaper in 2013:

Some of you are so ignorant as to suppose that because you have not bowed to a statue of a heathen “deity” that you are not an idolater. But go read Colossians 3:5 and you will see that covetousness is idolatry. If you have something or someone that you love more than God, you are an idolater. Some of you have made money your god. Some of you have made pleasure your god. Some of you have made your base lusts your god. Some of you have made your children your god. Some of you have your religion your god. Ultimately, a lost man worships himself. You are not saved, because you have never turned from your idols to serve the living and true God.

Now God’s word is clear. “Idolaters… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8). Dear reader, unless you turn this moment from your idols, and turn to God, you will spend eternity where the fire is not quenched, and the worm never dies. Sinner, turn or burn!

The man pretty much considers damn-near anything and everything a sin too. VERY hard for anyone (outside of his parents and certain relatives perhaps) to escape his condemnation. Very insular thinking. And he preaches to a congregation mostly made up of his own extended family these days (or at least last I knew).

In his view, divorce is completely unacceptable, even when exposed to cruel and unrelenting abuse. I noticed when I checked Wikipedia’s page on Primitive Baptists it didn’t go into much detail, and I assume that the extremes can and do differ depending on particular groups’ and individuals’ interpretations of scripture and whatever else, as is the case all across all denominations of Christianity. So this man represents only one small clan in rural Mississippi that I came to be exposed to.

But I offer this information just to help flesh out the points I’m aiming to make, one of which is that there are patriarchal setups still alive and well. They do exist and have for a long, long time. If you asked my ex-father-in-law if he considers himself a patriarch, he will unequivocally say “yes.” To him and his people, it is the proper order, because they deem men as closest to God, then women, then children. That is how they structure their own community and lives, and it’s what they preach as right and proper for all others as well. So this is not simply a myth fabricated by feminists, even as feminists have tended to blow it all out of proportion. For the record.

And I may have actually written about this man on here before, but ah well. Felt like adding a bit more. He appears to have mellowed out a good bit in recent years, so that’s positive at least.

Super early Sunday morning tunes in January 2014

A few songs I appreciate and consider timeless:

That was Ram Jam with their song “Black Betty.”

Here’s Ten Years After with “I’d Love to Change the World”:

Powerfully impacting. Deeply adore that song. The chorus struck as so resigned but true…

Next up is Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream”:

Love that song. Forever and always.

Another one I appreciate is Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight”:

That one’s heavy, and remains relevant. Some nights that’s just how you have to look at it.

Here’s Bill Withers performing “Ain’t No Sunshine”:

That one has always touched me…

Next up is “Take Me to the River” by the Talking Heads:

That’s another favorite I never tire of. Soul music, through and through. Love that video accompanying it too!

Tom Petty is the man:

That was his hit “Won’t Back Down.” Saw him in concert back in 2005 and was in complete awe. The man produced so many good songs — his creativity is timeless.

Another undeniably timeless song, George Harrison performing “Here Comes the Sun”:

That beautiful one I need to listen to pretty regularly. Just necessary.

Another gorgeous tune from the Beatles, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”:

That one cuts at my core. But I don’t know what to do. What is an effective response at this point besides treating people fairly as you can and loving those closest to you in the best way you’re able? Life is fucking hard on many levels, no doubt. We take our breaks where able. Even in America where we have the privilege of living like sloths while watching the wheels turn ’round. It’s tough figuring out what effective action is and where improvements can be made.

Here’s one I might’ve posted before, but it runs through my mind frequently:

[The live performance, in Colorado I believe, was removed from Youtube due to some stupid copyright violation, so I’ve updated the post with the recorded version. straight_face ] That was the Avett Brothers performing their song “Shame.” Feels terribly relevant to me at least. Runs through my mind at random intervals. Maybe it resonates with we who’ve really been in the wrong and recognize it for what it is and are trying to make changes. For the record, I never claimed to belong among the ‘good guys’. Doesn’t always wind up shaking out the way we once intended, then we wake up one day and really have to examine ourselves in the mirror and see what toll bullshit has had on us and how we’ve paid it forward unconsciously or subconsciously to those we love who never deserved to be hurt by our recklessness.

But it can be awfully hard taking a big bite of that humble pie.

A good song to also hold close is “Love Invincible” by Michael Franti & Spearhead:

Passed that one on to my companion’s son. With any luck it will embed in his psyche as well. Such a beautiful song.

Another beauty that I never seem to get enough of is George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”:

Another song I personally consider timeless is “Gold Dust Woman” by Fleetwood Mac:

…Shadow of a woman

oooh, black widow,

…shadow, she’s a dragon…

I dig it on a visceral level.

Another important song for me is David Allan Coe’s “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)”:

It poses a question I have to ask myself periodically so as to check my behavior and priorities. Because if I truly feel so deeply my actions need to coordinate and further my heart’s objectives. But some lessons are learned through trial and error — such is human folly. That’s the way life goes — figured out over time. Nobody understands much starting out and we step in however many potholes along our journeys. We make mistakes that hopefully we learn from eventually, once better priorities settle into sharper focus.

Men like to take note of the benefits afforded women, but with it can come a lot of baggage. Such is modern life. Everything’s in flux, including each and every one of us inside. It cannot be helped, though this makes the learning curve that much steeper. Men suffer their share as well, and it divvies up as it does for individuals.

A song still very much relevant, Jonathan Edwards’ “Sunshine (Go Away Today)”:

One of my favorite songs of all time since I was little bitty, Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”:

A lot of truth in that little diddy. Probably seems goofy to say, but I suppose it depends on how one reads between the lines. And some games we’re better at playing than others.

Here’s “Don’t Mean Nothing” by Richard Marx:

That one runs through my mind randomly and regularly. Got embedded.

One of the top timeless songs, “Amazing Grace” here performed by the Blind Boys of Alabama:

Their album version is even more beautiful.

Another timeless classic, Roy Orbison and K.D. Lang’s duet of “Crying”:

Don’t know what to think of that video though. ha

An amazing performance by K.D. Lang of her version of “Hallelujah”:

Love that song by pretty much anyone who’s ever sang it. For the record though, it deserves to be stated that out of the lesbians who could be classified as “masculine” or “butch,” K.D. Lang ranks high among those I’ve been attracted to.

Moving on to more timeless treasures, Pink Floyd’s “Learning to Fly”:

Into the distance, a ribbon of black
Stretched to the point of no turning back
A flight of fancy on a windswept field
Standing alone my senses reeled
Fatal attraction is holding me fast,
How can I escape this irresistible grasp?

Can’t keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted Just an earth-bound misfit, I

Ice is forming on the tips of my wings
Unheeded warnings, I thought I thought of everything
No navigator to find my way home
Unladened, empty and turned to stone

The soul intention is learning to fly
Condition grounded but determined to try
God keep my eyes from the circling skies
Tongue-tied and twisted just an earth-bound misfit, I…

 

Another timeless wonder, Pink Floyd’s “Brain Damage/Eclipse”:

One last song for the morning, “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash: