Thanks for that excellent post, B-Man.Scar,
I too was born in 1962 and raised in the Appalachian mountains. I too went to churches similar to what you described. Though it was uh uh not hah. If uh, uh you know, uh uh what I mean, uh, uh can I get an amen? The word of God say's uh, uh, what ever they want to talk about that day, uh, uh and strt pacing back and forth uh, uh, working themselves and others, into a frenzy. getting louder and louder uh, uh, followed by a controlled quietly spoken comment. Then working through the process again filled with timed uh, uhs. And yes I have set in on the prayer sessions with everyone praying out loud. With the preacher praying the longest. Though I must say he had a hard time out praying me :) Even as a child I cared about everybody. And I prayed for everybody and everything. We gathered around the piano and sang old songs and had a great time doing so. I attended Baptist, Southern Baptist, Methodist, church of Christ, Church of God, Pentecostal, you name it I attended them most likely. I conluded differently than you though. I concluded that they were wrong. Not because I decided so, but because I studied intently the Bible and the Bible they taught from said they were wrong. I don't judge if they were saved or not. But I judged what thy taught from what they taught from. And I found that God was at those services but not so much in the preacher with his choreographed uh, uh's as it was in the farmer that came in and gave testimony about his personal experiences and his love of God and how God worked in his life. It was real and unscripted. And it was in the mothers that had spent the night in prayer alone with her sick child and how God had given her peace even though her child was near death. And how God had seen them through this difficult time. And when a family in the community had some difficult task and everybody would pitch in and help them with no pay or reward. And I saw God in when the people would take up a special collection and help a family that was in need that didn't attend church or even believe. I saw God in the caring for one another.
And yeah the Easter Bunny was bull. But Christ death on the cross for our sins and rising again and ascending to the Father, not to send us to hell if we don't this or that, but making a way from the hell that we were already bound for. That was real to me. And Santa Clause was a bunch of bull distraction from God giving his son for us who are dead in our sins (separated from the father) so that we might live (be reunited with the Father).
I guess each will see what we choose to see in any given situation. I understand your conclusions. But come to a different one from similar experiences. I found your post to be the best I have read from you. Thanks for sharing your experience.
It is nice to read what others have experienced.
The most vivid "Christmas memory" I have is of my sister giving me the book "Man and Beast" she got from England. I still have it on my bookshelf. I was 10 at the time.
I was blind for most of my life from 6 to 12 so books were 'magical' to me. Whenever I could see, I would read. at about eight years old I began reading the dictionary.
Sometimes I think my disabilities were nature/God's way of humiliating me. Yet, despite all adversity (satan) I accomplished much more in my life than most 'normal' people.