Sundays In The South


All my life I’ve been surrounded by church. If you live in any sized city or town in the south, you know that their is a church on every corner. Oh, lawd, such preaching that goes on in those churches! So many lives changed, so many souls won, so many revivals. My mother was from an old fashioned “foot washing” baptist family and my father from the Methodist church. It was a house divided…… The result: No one went anywhere on Sunday…. Enter, the church bus. Church bus ministry in the 1970’s allowed my sister and I to attend church when my parents would not take us. So we went… We were taken in to the little church and treated just like one of “the family”.

And so it began, an adventure that has taken up much of my life. Church, fellowship, preaching, evangelism, teaching…. I have served in just about every position in the church you could have from Preacher to Deacon and let me tell you its been a wild ride! God has taken me places I never thought I would go. From Russia to Africa and all over the southern United States. God hears me when I say, I judge no man. That’s God’s business. It’s my role to strive to live out a Godly life before a watching world. I find that I fail in that endeavor on many days….I never stop trying. Despite the enormous struggles that have been my lot the past 3 years, I have never given up hope. I deal with things as they come, always looking for the bright side and by the grace of God, growing beautiful roses. It is a respite in a stormy world.

More often than not, the Christian community is so caught up in what we are against, that we forget to share what we are for. At our worst, we shoot our wounded, at our best we share by our lives, the amazing HOPE we all have found in Christ. Faith, Hope & Love. What a concept.

We also forget to laugh at ourselves. A friend of mine sent me a link to a video. It is a hilarious parody of a women’s retreat with an amazing speaker “Sister Myotis”. The “Voices of the South” theatre in Memphis, TN sponsored this theatrical event and I got a much needed laugh out of it. I truly believe that their is a little “Sister Myotis” in most of us……. I am hoping to post a Sundays in the South post each week, going forward.

Blessings to all who read this…….

About Chris VanCleave - America's Favorite Rose Gardener

Christopher R. VanCleave – America’s Favorite Rose Gardener Nicknamed "The Redneck Rosarian”, Chris VanCleave is passionate about gardening and growing roses. He is an active member of the Birmingham chapter of the American Rose Society, serving two terms as President. In 2007, he created the Rose Chat Podcast which has reached over a half a million listeners with news and information on growing on growing the world’s most beloved flower, the rose. He was a contributor to the 2015 Southern Living Gardening Book, has appeared on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television show and was featured in the June 2015 issue of Southern Living Magazine. Locally, Chris serves as Chairman of the Helena Alabama Beautification Board where he has spearheaded efforts to create a sustainable landscape in one of the top one hundred places to live in the United States. His writing is seen at and on his popular website;, where he chronicles his gardening adventures and explores an intrinsic mix of life, faith and gardening. An agent of change with over 20 years’ experience in process innovation, Mr. VanCleave is leading the charge to reinvigorate horticultural societies and helping them to reach their full potential in the social media age.
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8 Responses to Sundays In The South

  1. grouchy says:

    >"God hears me when I say, I judge no man."I wish you were my next door neighbor! You are special, Chris.


  2. >I will be looking forward to your Sundays in the South. I was raised in church too and grew so dissatisfied with finger pointing and the cruelty towards people that I finally went to find my own way to God and his peace. It is so hard to win people when you are clubbing them on the head. It is was also sad to watch the washing of their brothers feet when they were beating them down the day before or after. I better stop now Chris. LOL!


  3. Susan Hemann says:

    >Thank you for your comment on my blog! I look forward to reading yours on Sundays! When I was growing up I had to attend the Roman Catholic mass and the Orthodox Catholic mass. It was a lot for a child. We had to go to confession in both churches. I had to think up things to confess, and I could then go to the other church and say I lied. lol


  4. >We may have similar views on what it means to be a Christian. The various Christian faith communities seem to focus so much on our differences rather than the large middle ground of what we have in common.


  5. Jeff Branch says:

    >"the Christian community is so caught up in what we are against, that we forget to share what we are for."So, true. There is a blog I watch which often bashes other Christians. Someone once commented that if such energy was actually directed towards helping non-believers, then God just might be pleased.It is my feeling that we get caught up in so many unimportant matters that we forget the basic call of Jesus Christ, spread the Gospel and God's love for us.


  6. greggo says:

    >“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.We as believers must be salt and light in this darkness we live in. The Lords light is shining in you Chris, be strong. Thanks for the post.


  7. >Chris that video was hysterical. I spit out my coffee, and speaking as a Democrat, I'll have to substantiate Sister Myotis' allegations with a little surveying the next time I get together with some fellow bleeding hearts. Warm regards, Tom


  8. Deborah Aldridge says:

    My mother was Episcopalian and my father was Southern Baptist. We alternated churches, and I was one confused child when it came to religion. Finally, my mother won out and all of us including my father got confirmed in the Episcopal church. I never found much comfort in religion, though. I tried, honestly I did. I’ve been in every kind of christian church there is, but when it came right down to it, the only thing that made sense to me was nature, so I became a Pantheist. It soothes me to believe that nature is in charge, and that everything happens according to a natural plan. It’s a peace I never got from church. I think probably being a BaptiPalian for so many years is what did it. The two were so different that I just couldn’t see how they could both be Christian churches. I searched for Jesus for a long time, but I just kept coming back to nature, so here I am, and here I’ll stay. I’m happy for those who find peace in religion, and I still go to church with a friend on occasion, but my God lives in the heavens and my church is under the trees.


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