Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Am Dancing My Way Out of The Baptist Church

In doing my genealogy research, I am exploring various Church minutes from Baptist Churches in the Amite county area of Mississippi. Several KEY Great (s) grandfathers ( and by implication Great Grandmothers) were not only the first American settlers in Mississippi after it was acquired from Spain, they also played a pivotal role in literally establishing the Baptist Church in Mississippi and also laying the foundations for the Baptist faith Community in neighboring Louisiana.

It is interesting looking at these Church minutes and seeing the various practices regarding Church discipline. There is actually a lot to commend to this and in fact have of course a basis in both Scripture and Tradition. In many ways this is very Catholic. Except instead of going to a Priest privately to confess your sin (who represents the Church) you go in front of the Church committee.

It also played a pivotal role in in the "Frontier" where one did not ( or really could not ) go to Law enforcement for every grievance against your neighbor. The Church stepped in to do that. In essence besides it's spiritual role the Church maintained social order .

However perhaps by 1882 times were starting to change a tad and the degree to which this was happening was getting a tad too much for some folks.

From the March 12, 1882 meeting of the Ebenezer Baptist Church:

March 12, 1882: The Ebenezer Baptist Church of Christ met in
conference. The privilege of the Church was extended. The
Minutes of last conference read and adopted. The building
committee was continued. The Resolutions on drinking
intoxicating liquors was postponed until next meeting. The Clerk
reported that Bro. Lewis Neyland had sent a statement to the
Church through him, that he and his wife had been dancing for
the purpose of being excluded from the Church; that there
existed some hard feelings between him and some of the members,
which caused him to pursue this course. On motion the Brothers
request was granted by excluding him and his wife from the
fellowship of the Church. Bro. Albert Caston was reported for
dancing, and Bro. H. S. Duck and wife for having dancing in
their house. On motion the Clerk was instructed to notify
Brothers Caston, Duck and Sister Duck to appear at our next
conference to answer to the above charges. Collection for
Foreign mission, $7.00. Conference adj. Eld. T. Lansdell, Mod.,f
R. D. J. Smith, Clerk.

Well that is pretty interesting and one sort of sees this dynamic a few times quite a few times in these minutes. The minutes are pretty interesting just to reach from start to finish.

No comments: