The Evolution of Black Baptist Preachers

My intention was to write a comedy. But, it’s my hope that it doesn’t result in a comedy of errors.

Southern Baptist

Anytime you talk religion, folks are quick to label you blasphemous. However, they say imitation IS the highest form of flattery.

Growing up Southern Baptist is serious business. But, from my point of view, it has had many moments of hilarity. The pulpit is filled with high-esteemed ministers, preachers, pastors and evangelists.  If you’ve heard one style of preaching, it’s possible that you’ve heard them all. From deep, breathy exasperated sounds to filibustering rhetoric, there’s a trend in the Southern Baptist world. Not by scholarly research, but due to frequent Sunday visits to many churches in my lifetime, I’ve managed to compile their mannerisms into four trending categories.

The Affectionate One

Ushers are typically the first people you greet when walking into the building. When the Affectionate One is at the helm, find a seat and prepare to meet the entire church “body.” The Affectionate One is a preacher who turns the Sunday service into a party. Much of the sermon is geared to familiarizing oneself with a complete stranger. If you visit a mega church, attendance numbers are generally in the hundreds and thousands. And, meeting a stranger in those churches, is like throwing a stone in a crowd at Disney World. The Affectionate One even insists that you get a little touchy feely with the person next to you.

“Turn to your neighbor and give ’em a high five. Turn to your neighbor and give ’em a hug. Turn to your neighbor and say, I love you.”

Within just one hour, I’ve become more intimate with a random person than I have with my own neighbor, who I’ve lived next door to for the past five years. He and I have a great relationship, but we’re less inclined to bombard each other with unwanted affection.

The Filibuster

This type of preacher pauses after every two to three words and inserts random biblical jargon. It’s like listening [insert word] to a [insert word] skipping record. It’s worse than listening to a character from Clueless; a conversation that never seems to end, accompanied with the incessant use of “um, like, you know” running through the entire monologue of…nothingness.

“And, Moses encountered God…AMEN, at the burning bush…AMEN. You see God…AMEN, can come to us…AMEN…in mysterious forms…AMEN.”

What a crutch! Pause, rewind. Repeat?

The Heavy-Breathing Asthmatic

Unlike his name, this preacher may not be asthmatic. But, his sermon will definitely keep you on your toes and scare you to hold onto your cell phone; just in case, you must dial 9-1-1 for emergency services.  It can take you by surprise, if you’ve never heard the lowly, breathy growl. The Heavy-Breathing Asthmatic is similar to the Filibuster. In lieu of an obstructing phrase, the Asthmatic takes short yet frequent heavy, deep breaths between each fragmented sentence. This preacher tends to sweat profusely and keep a white towel or handkerchief nearby, for a more dramatic effect.

The Singer

Simply put, he’s a singer. Or at least, he thinks he is. This preacher sings an entire concert before the sermon is final. Often times, he recommends a song that the entire church can sing together, which consists of taking a 3:00 song and stretching it to 10 minutes. Following that song, he sings a solo. During the sermon, he sings a song that stirs the crowd into intense gyrations. And, at the end of the sermon, it’s two additional selections. This time, he invites the choir to sing. After all is said and sung, just head to the lobby and purchase his CD.

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