One God



Part 1

Well, there are lots of reasons for one God, after all most of us were raised to worship just one. From my earliest age on this earth, I was churched every Sunday. Sunday School was followed by the church service, and every summer there was vacation Bible School. Then, sometime in the summer there was the Methodist Church Camp and retreat, Camp Loucon, where for a week, boys and girls from different Christian Churches could learn camping skills and interact with one another, under a different kind of supervision, unlike that of parents.  

Of course, life was different back then, less complicated and things like pot, meth, heroin and cocaine were only found in gangster movies, not in our neighborhoods. Children looked forward to church, except maybe for the preacher, droning on for what seemed like hours, and sometimes was.

No, I was not raised in Mayberry, North Carolina, just the streets of the South-end of Louisville, near Iroquois Park. I still drive through the area when I’m near, but not as often. It has lost its identity.

As a teen, growing up, the police knew our names. Not because we broke laws or were arrested, but rather because they would park near where we had gathered, walk over and introduce themselves. They told us to call and ask for them if we ever needed help. Sometimes they would ask if we knew anything about a crime in the area, and if we did, we would tell them what we heard or knew. Car Numbers 304, 306 and 308 were most often in the Southern Parkway, Taylor Boulevard and Third Street areas that we frequented. We liked the officers, and they liked us. I don’t think these police officers had any lessons in Community Policing; however, they could give lessons about that today, and so could Chief Haag’s policemen and Sheriff Wimpee’s Deputies.

I suppose my first acquaintance with the police was a big Irishman named Mr. Beck. He walked a beat called the 4th and Central situated around Churchill Downs.

Then, there were police telephones the officers had keys to, were in a box attached to telephone poles. About twenty blocks in each direction was a beat, and the officer walked it every day more than once. He traded with the stores, knew the people, and became a friend. I waited for Mr. Beck to come by my grandmother’s steps so I could touch his revolver. He lived next door to Mamaw’s house and always would stop, smile and call me “Sonny.” One day Mr. Beck did not stop by. He had been shot stopping a robbery in progress. Luckily the robber of a local grocery store was shot and maybe killed by the officer the next beat over. He heard Mr. Beck blow his whistle; all police had to carry a whistle for emergencies. Mr. Beck eventually recovered and went back on the force but was wounded dangerously close to his heart. Why do I mention all of this? Because, we would see these police and firemen, sitting shoulder to shoulder with the people they protect in church every Sunday. Now, we can add to those occupations, EMS workers, school bus drivers and others that simply have jobs now that were nonexistent then. Sitting shoulder to shoulder every Sunday with those they serve. Why do we, and they, go to church? Let’s see.

Speaking anthropologically, religions do two things; firstly, they provide a set of rules or codes so we may coexist and live peacefully with our neighbors, in example, the ten commandments. Secondly, they provide a means to an afterlife by worshipping God and following those rules set forth to live by. Now we all know religions do more than that. They also ease the pain and suffering of those who have lost loved ones, help the poor and sick, and bring more people into the fold of the church so as to spread the word. In this way, those who hunger are fed, and that hunger may well be spiritual, those suffering a loss are consoled and the lives of the poor are eased as those ill are cared for and if God’s wills, cured. (See Part 2, next week where we will find out why there are so many choices available and one man’s opinion as to why.)

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