High heels and a dusty old church

I was up at my folks this past weekend, recovering from last week’s lurghie. On the drive back on Sunday morning, I was listening to a bit of Israel Houghton. I admit, I’m a bit of a vocal headcase in the car…keeping eyes firmly on the road (!!), I still like to properly belt out some good tunes….I’ve definitely scared a few people at the traffic lights before.

Buuutttt….as I drove/sung along, I was kinda catapulted back to my childhood and found myself wondering how does an Anglo Saxon girl from Liverpool end up loving mostly only Gospel music?

To be honest, all the other stuff leaves me cold…but when I tune into Israel and similiar artists, it touches a nerve/bit of my soul.

I started thinking back to an old friend of my parents: Pastor Chew. Pastor Chew’s church was in a dilapidated old building in San Francisco and every few weeks, we’d stop by to pay a visit. The service usually started late and finished late and could last anywhere between 4-6 hours. I used to love that old building with its stained pews and green-flowered linoleum – lineolem pock-marked with hundreds of stiletto heels. Pastor Chew told mum that the women used to get so lost in their worship, they’d dance and pound in their heels on the same spot, leaving holes and pockmarks behind.

If ever a building displayed its history and style of worship – that one did. Sometimes dad would be asked to preach and he’d preach up a storm, striding up and down the platform, wiping a handkerchief across his brow, while the congregation kept him going with loud and enthusiastic amens. The worship was loud, exciting, Spirit-filled…and I often wondered how the guy on the drums, just kept going and going and going, without ever getting tired.

Meanwhile, I’d be singing/playing in the aisles with my friends – the only fair-skinned kid in the building. Proving the point (to me at least!) that racism is learned…you’re simply not born that way.  Children don’t see colour differences and stereotypes. They learn them.

But that’s beside the point because those early experiences put a love of Gospel in my soul. Whenever I’m feeling in need of a pick-me-up, Fred, Cece, or Kirk will do it every time. It’s like that music rings more true, more real, than some of the other manufactured brands I could listen to.

Every time I hear that kind of music, it takes me back…reminds me of jumping up and down in church (with a plastic tambourine), in a dusty old, pock-marked church building, a million years ago. I love that this is part of my church history.

And this is what I was singing along to…