On this day, the Lord's day, I need to first of all give an honor to God to whom ALL the glory and praises are due. God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things and right now, it seems as if I'm so far behind that I will never die.
I can thank my parents for an infinite amount of things but one of the most important would be the fact that I was raised in a strong Christian household and brought up properly in the church. Sure, I may have strayed from my beliefs from time to time and definitely not acted as I know I should have, but having that strong foundation, I was always able to see the error of my ways and fall back on that solid Christian upbringing.
Norwalk may have been my physical home when I was growing up but my spiritual home was Union Baptist Church in Des Moines, IA where I'm still a member and the pastor is Reverend H.I. Thomas. There was a time when I had moved away to Cedar Rapids after graduation from Iowa State and changed churches due to my location. Even when I eventually moved back to Des Moines, I started attending a different church for a while, thinking I had "outgrown" Union Baptist. In the end, God showed me that Union Baptist is where I was meant to be all along and I returned to my church home. Afterall, it was there that I I made just as many longlasting relationships and connections there as I did all throughout my schooling years.
To this day, I still have fond memories of the gospel songs that The New Creations, Angel Choir and Youth Choir would sing to praise His name every Sunday. In the mid to late 80s, membership was at an all-time high and I would have been willing to bet that The New Creations could have matched up with any gospel choir of its time. At one point, there was even talk of putting out an album but it never came to be. I still think that a reunion of all the members from those years would be an event that would enormous proportions.
And the preaching?! Don't even get me started. It's amazing that every Sunday, there's something in pastor's sermon that makes it feel like he's speaking directly to me and some things (or maybe even just some thing) that I may be going through. After all these years, Pastor Thomas still seems to be able to reach those of all ages.
And while on the subject of church, there's currently a movie out there that I would personally recommend. It's called "The Gospel" and it stars Boris Kodjoe, Donnie McClurkin and host of other famous gospel recording artists. At first, when I saw that BK was in it, I was a little worried since he can be a bit stiff in his roles. He actually did a very respectable job in this flick. It did help that he had a pretty phenomenal supporting cast.
The movie traces the upbringing of a pk (preacher's kid) who turns away from the church and realizes that it's where he should have been all along. At the heart of the church is a power struggle between old traditions and an over zealous youth movement. After being in my share of churches during my lifetime, that part I could especially relate to as I've witnessed a lot of it firsthand. I think a lot of people don't care for this movie because of how it portrays the Black church in a negative light by showing a lot of the behind the scenes activity that goes into the changing of the guard of pastors. However, that is exactly what I like about it. It shows that we may praise God and try our best to uplift His name but in the end, we are all still human and we do make mistakes...even in the church.