Here is a sneak peek at my latest book—a memoir—called “A Renaissance Redneck In A Mega-Church Pulpit.” It’s a candid but ultimately redemptive look at a life that begins in the poverty of the Appalachians, then chronicles the good, bad and ugly times spent as the arts/music pastor of five churches in some of the most affluent and influential American mega-churches. It culminates with hope for discovering real meaning in the second half of life. If you enjoy the writing of Mark Twain, I think you will love this book.
This book proves once again that truth really is stranger than fiction. You can buy the first two chapters now on Amazon for only .99 cents by clicking HERE.
A brief excerpt from Chapter 2 “My Early Years:“
“One of the more memorable characters ever to attend the Mt. Olive Church of God was Brother Jubal Whitener. He was large-bodied, ungainly, and socially awkward. There was not a tooth in his head and because of that, his speech was impaired. Standing over six-four, he had a shaved head that always had prickly silver hairs sticking out in all directions, and he possessed the largest hands I’d ever seen. They always felt like dried-out leather. So it was unconscionable to me that he greeted the menfolk with the dreaded “wet fish” handshake. The wet fish comes with a limp wrist and a pathetic grip. Nothing is more guaranteed to ruin your reputation with me than a weak handshake. But I digress.
Dressed in his finest Liberty overalls, he would go ’round to the women folk, aiming to greet them with a holy kiss. You could see all the ladies scatter like chickens, filling their arms with a protective cover of screaming children, or suddenly feeling impressed to hurry to the altar for some preliminary praying. I suppose his holy kiss was to the women like the wet fish was to me. His reputation seemed tarnished, irrespective of gender.
About forty minutes into the service (you could almost set your clock to it), just as the singing was really getting emotional, Brother Whitener would spring a couple of feet in the air, deliver a war-whoop, and set off ’round and ’round the church, banging against the pews, upsetting the altar, and making general havoc. Next, he would run the tops of the pews full-speed from the front of the church to the back in a frenzy of ecstasy, with his hands up in the air and his voice speaking in tongues.
He could not speak mountain jargon decently with his lack of teeth and all, and he couldn’t read or write, so his best rendition of unknown tongues and heavenly languages was something like “tippee-toe, tippee-toe,” over and over. Starting out slow and deliberate, it wouldn’t take him long to get the “anointing.” By that time, the tippee-toes were coming so fast, you could see sweat and spit flying all the way across the church.
He would then tear around the church again, spreading chaos and destruction in his path. I have actually seen him throw a few double somersaults, deliver a final mighty shout, and sail through an open window as gum-powered tippee-toes eerily reverberated throughout the church. My brother and I would sit there petrified with astonishment, warily peering over the shelter of our back pew, as various other people lay on the floor writhing in the spirit and flush with anointing.
Somehow I never got to speaking in tongues but it wasn’t for lack of trying. I remember as a very impressionable young boy, the church people praying over me at the altar until the wee hours of the morning, imploring God to give me the utterance.
Later, as a still impressionable but much older man visiting Italy, I implored the Lord to give me Italian tongues, so that I could properly order food and wine. I figured if the Lord could stimulate Brother Whitener to say, “tippee-toe,” he could at least help me say “ge-la-to” without the taint of a southern accent.”