“Trespassers Will Be Baptized” is the creative and whimsical title of a new book written by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock Trende, known more affectionately by us at Central Baptist Church as Emy, daughter of Greg and Sharon Hancock.
Emy’s book is a memoir of her experiences growing up throughout Kentucky as a Baptist pastor’s daughter. One reviewer comments, “This is as close as you can get to Southern church life without eating your weight in Velveeta.” Another says, “Poetic and passionate writing combined with honest and unvarnished storytelling make this story of one girl’s struggle to understand life in the stained-glass house a must read.”
I don’t know if the Hancocks got to read the galleys before the book was released. If so, I’m guessing they laughed in some places and in other places swallowed hard.
The Bible is like that. Our sacred scriptures are principally narratives. They have some theology and doctrine thrown in, but mostly they are interwoven into the greater fabric of plot, place, time and persons. They emerge out of the living experiences of real people struggling with their world and often, with their God.
This is where faith is most real. Our spiritual selves do not merely exist in a system of theological abstraction, but in the touchy-feely community where we find ourselves full of blessings and bruises. We humans are frail and we are fantastic, capable of greatness and disappointment, wonder and utter stupidity. And throughout the ups and downs, there is grace–steady, consistent, and life-changing.
On a more somber note, Bazz Childress has a coworker whose 8-year-old son, Garrett McMakin, has optic-nerve hypoplasia. Along with others, they are seeking donations to fund innovative treatments for his condition. To learn more about Garrett’s needs and to offer a contribution, please click here.
These inter-weavings remind us of the importance of our children and their experience within our families–families of birth and blood and members of the larger family of Almighty God.
Just remember: today you are creating a memory, and someday, someone might be brave enough to write it all down.
Mark Johnson is senior minister at Central Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky.
Mark Johnson is senior pastor of Central Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.