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Summer revivals
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I've never fully understood why somebody designated the hottest days of summer as the time to get folks spiritually revived.

My theory has always been that it's easier to sell the idea of avoiding hell when it's about as hot as hell outside.

Revivals were a big deal when I was growing up. The church would print up posters with "Revival" in big bold letters across the top. The poster would have picture of the revival preacher dressed in a real nice suit. Most times, he was holding a Bible about the size of the Atlanta phone book. There were photos of him pointing his hand toward the camera, as if to say, "You better get yourself down to the big revival, or else."

An equally important part of the revival was the music leader. The guy who organizes all the singing is usually a guy who is bursting with enthusiasm. If he has a toothy smile and a big head of gospel singer hair, that's even better.

We had a music director one year who wore alligator shoes. Nobody in our church, man or woman, owned a pair of alligator shoes. The attention was diverted from the man waving his arms directing the singing. Everybody wanted to get a look at his alligator loafers. He would have been better off to have sat in one of the big chairs on the platform and directed the singing with his feet.

Good music guys tend to do a little styling with songs. Sometimes they bring along their wife, who happens to be a dandy piano player. They get the crowd all revved up by singing old favorites with a new twists. It's quite a show.

One year we had a guy who was a warbler. He could whistle with a trill added to it. He took off his horn-rimmed glasses, walked up to the pulpit and whistled, "His Eye is on the Sparrow." There wasn't a dry eye in the house, when he got through.

One of the big deals of the week was if your family was selected to host the revival preacher for supper.

Brother Melvin Wise was the revival preacher who came to our house. Momma got out the good china and silver and we had Sunday dinner on a weeknight. I had to wear a tie, a clip-on.

Brother Melvin was sharp dresser and had sort of wirey hair. He's still around and preaching, at last report.

My boyhood research reveals that there are two kinds of revival preachers. The first is a guy who heard the call of the Lord at an early age and was practically preaching by the time he quit wearing knee britches. This is a guy who has studied the Bible and has honed his great preaching skills.

The other is a guy who took a bad turn and went down and wallowed in the muck and mire of sin and degradation. This guy has a compelling story, a "been there, done that" approach. You might have been down the same road he has travelled. If you haven't, by the time he gets through telling you about it, you don't want to go there.

Like a lot of folks, I probably could use a little spiritual boost, but I'm going to wait until it gets a little cooler, like next February. Until then, I'll be here just as I am