My Faith: A reluctant churchgoer 'gets the Holy Ghost'
The author (foreground, age 7), his late aunt, Sylvia Blake (left) and other family members outside their Baltimore church.
April 24th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

My Faith: A reluctant churchgoer 'gets the Holy Ghost'

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - I had my first brush with the “Holy Ghost” when I was 9 years old.  I’m still trying to digest what it meant more than 30 years later.

The day began as a typical Sunday. Aunt Sylvia herded me and my brother into her 1972 baby blue Chevy Impala and drove us to church for a service that would often last five hours.

Sunday worship at a black Baptist church wasn’t just long. It was scary. Elderly women who “got the Holy Ghost” during worship would thrash so violently in the pews that their wigs flew off. People shouted, wept and fainted.

This Sunday service started off no differently. But as the frenzy of the worship intensified, an invisible switch seemed to click on. A wave of heat rippled through the congregation as people beside me threw up their arms and shouted.

Suddenly, something seemed to slip inside of me. A tingling raced up my spine. I stood up to clap, scream - I didn’t know what I was about to do.

Is this, I wondered, the Holy Ghost that Aunt Sylvia sang about?

Singing gospel to keep muggers away

Easter Sunday is supposed to be about resurrection. For me, it’s also about remembering. When I see women herding boys in crisp new suits into the pews during Easter service, I sometimes think about the woman and the church that gave me my first lessons about faith.

I also think about an eerie encounter that I kept to myself for years because I knew it would sound so bizarre.

I didn’t join the church. I was drafted. My aunt forced me and my younger brother, Patrick, to go to worship service every Sunday.

We grew up in Baltimore, in an impoverished neighborhood so dangerous that my aunt would sing gospel hymns aloud as she walked us home from the mall at night. She thought church music warded off muggers.

My aunt wasn’t just my protector; she was my anchor. My mother was gone. My father, a rough merchant seaman, spent most of his time carousing overseas. I spent much of my childhood in foster homes with my brother.

Aunt Sylvia gave us a sense of family. She was a short, round woman who wore black wigs and wide, colorful hats with feathers to church. She would watch us on the weekends and buy presents for us when Christmas and our birthdays rolled around.

She never married; never had children. I told my elementary school teachers that she was my mother.

She was my biggest fan. She would collect my report cards, take me to museums and shower me with books that she nabbed from her job as a high school secretary.

I craved her approval even more than her scrumptious coconut cake. Whenever I made her particularly proud, she would give me the same peculiar look. She’d tilt her head to the left, stare at me in silence, and then her dark face would light up with a warm smile.

She was the only adult I knew wouldn’t abandon me.

Shunning church

My aunt’s smile, though, would turn into an icy glare whenever she saw me nodding off in Union Temple Baptist Church.

I thought my church was full of buffoons. I didn’t like the screaming and shouting, and I couldn’t stand the pulpit theatrics.

My childhood pastor, Rev. Churn, would sweat and yell during his sermons while taunting the congregation with lines like, “You don’t know what I’m talking about?”

He was right. I didn’t know what he was talking about; he shouted too much. When I was a kid, I thought that Rev. Churn was literally angry at the congregation because he yelled at them so much.

Once, during a fiery sermon, I thought about standing up and pleading with the congregation: “Just do what he says, and he won’t shout anymore.”

Despite my disdain for church, there was one part of service that I liked: “Testimony time.”

Testimony came at late-night services, as dusk approached and street traffic quieted outside. The services were less heated and more intimate, and during testimony, church members stood up at random to share a struggle and ask for prayer.

People often revealed the most personal details of their lives. But no one seemed to judge. Instead, people in the pews nodded and smiled, or chanted “weeeeell,” to encourage them.

Even as a fidgety kid, I was entranced. I can still remember how people visibly gathered strength when testifying, as if invisible arms from the congregation were encircling them.

Getting the ‘Holy Ghost’

Still, I wasn’t ready for any personal displays of vulnerability when my Holy Ghost moment came at 9.

When I felt that tingling race up my spine, I became afraid. I didn’t want to lose control. So when I involuntarily stood up in the pew during the service, I caught myself. Then I quickly left the church and took a walk in the cold night air until I calmed down.

As time went on, I resisted church even more. After entering high school, I mustered the courage to tell Aunt Sylvia I didn’t want to go anymore.

She was furious. She prayed aloud to Jesus. She tried to spank me. Then she retreated into silence as she drove me to church one last time with tears in her eyes. I never saw her so sad.

Soon, though, my time for tears would come.

In my sophomore year of college, I found my way back to church. A series of remarkable coincidences took place in my life. I made new friends and joined an interracial church full of people my age. And I shared it all with my brother, who quickly followed my example.

I also gained more respect for the black church. I attended college when there was a national debate about making the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a national holiday. The debate prompted me to start reading about King and the civil rights movement.

The more I learned about the movement, the more I realized how crucial the black church was to its success. It gave the movement its spiritual fuel and many of its most courageous activists.

But my intellectual awakening didn’t quell my emotional insecurities. I had inoculated myself so much against organized religion as a kid that I began to think it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t think I was good enough.

One night, it all came to a head. I decided I was going to quit. How, I thought, would I tell people? What would my aunt say? I went to bed in despair.

Then, something strange happened.

I bolted awake, tears streaming down my face. I was on my back, right arm over my closed eyes, but I squinted anyway because I felt as if I were looking directly into the sun.

I felt a presence within that light. I was crying because I had never felt so exposed. This light seemed to bore through me, revealing my most sordid deeds, my inadequacies and my fears. I felt like an insect.

Despite that feeling of shame, I felt something even more powerful: love. It seemed as though this presence, something as immense as the universe, was telling me that I was accepted.

What do you do with such an experience? Was it a dream, a breakdown, youthful foolishness? I don’t know. But that moment changed me. I couldn’t quit. I had encountered something else besides my aunt that wouldn’t abandon me.

One last smile

As I think about that nighttime experience now, it takes on another meaning as well.

If my aunt was my childhood anchor, the black church was her source of strength. How could I reject the institution that nurtured her?

I thought all of the shouting in my childhood church was for show. I didn’t know the history behind the shout: slavery, segregation, people who “got happy” because life was so grim.

Faith, without emotion, is dead - that’s the lesson I absorbed from the black church, and from my aunt.

I never saw my aunt “get happy.”  But I can’t imagine she would have sacrificed so much for me and my brother if she wasn’t driven by a powerful emotion - love.

And I would have given up on my faith if I had not been overwhelmed by the emotion I experienced during my night of tears.

I never shared my nighttime experience with my aunt. It was too embarrassing to share with anyone. Yet she saw me and my brother return to church.

Three years after I graduated from college, though, I had to say goodbye to her.

She was 60, and dying from liver failure. I took a week off to visit her in Baltimore, but I didn’t go to the hospital to see her for several days because I kept making excuses. I didn’t want to accept that I was losing her.

I finally went to the hospital with my brother to see her one sunny afternoon. She was in a hospital bed, her once stout body shrunken, her dark complexion yellowed. She was unconscious.

I didn’t know what to do. I felt guilty for taking so long to see her. So I started to babble. I don’t know if I told her I loved her, or if I even thanked her.  But I do remember this: Though I went there to comfort her, she ended up comforting me, much like she did when I was a boy.

As I looked down at her, trying not cry, she opened her eyes.

She was too weak to talk. But she gave me that peculiar look - the tilt of her head to the left and the long stare - and then she smiled.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Belief • Black issues • Christianity • Easter • Faith • Houses of worship • Lost faith • Opinion

soundoff (1,716 Responses)
  1. Wonder

    Was it the Holy Ghost? I hope so. I had a Holy Ghost experience @ 10 yrs old, not voluntarily. I landed on the floor after praying hands were laid on me @ a religious gathering with a friend & her Christian mother. My family weren't with me. I wonder if it was God claiming me at a young age. My faith in Christ is very strong after almost 50 yrs. despite all the hardships I have been through.I know God loves me and I trust him.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • ZeebleZub

      What, exactly, do you trust him to do? And what sort of excuse do you give him when bad things happen? Or do you trust him to do evil things according to his "holy" will?
      If you experience a neurologically-induced religious experience, how is that any different from a mental spasm, a "brain fart", a seizure, or any of the other chemically-induced hallucinations we as a species are subject to?
      No difference. Your "holy ghost" is a brain fart unless you can prove it isn't. And you can't. You can't make any prayer work. You can't prove your "god" exists by any stretch of the imagination.
      Why? Because you are having hallucinations and have been brainwashed to attribute anything "mysterious" as "magical" when it is just your ignorance that is blinding you to the truth.
      When you die, you will end. No one has returned from total death ever.
      If you believe what some ancient con-artist wrote in a bid for personal wealth and influence, then you will also believe other lies.
      Will you lie for your "god"? Kill for your "god"? Then you are not only stupid, you are evil. Religion should be wiped from the face of the Earth.
      And no one can prove your "god" exists. Not Jews, Christians, Muslims, or anyone else. No matter what "god" we're talking about, there is nothing actually there. That's proof of mental schism, not "spiritual" things.
      Don't like what I'm saying? Then pray for proof to shut me up.
      But you can't. My contempt for lies is what you are reading.
      I do not hate what does not exist. How could I? That would be as nuts as what you people are doing.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:35 am |
  2. ElisabethinCA

    So you clicked on this link, to read this article so you could bash the author and tell him that you "know" he is lying? What is wrong with people. You don't want to be judged for your beliefs but you arrogance allows you to judge others? This isn't just about Jesus, God, the church, this was a man who wrote an article about his OWN faith, life, and beliefs..he never once said you were wrong for not believing as he, he never once said your an idiot for not thinking like he does, but you obviously are so arrogant and narcissistic that you just had to show the world that your big tough guys who will demean anybody you can. All while hiding behind a keyboard. I don't care if you believe in Jesus, and I don't care if you don't. Why don't you all try acting like REAL men for a change...not wimpy garbage that hide while calling people names.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • Zee705

      I like a good fictional story in the morning.

      April 24, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  3. TheTruth72

    My Amen comment was to Tony as well.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:35 am |
  4. EuphioTGank

    what a load of brainwashed crap this story is

    April 24, 2011 at 3:31 am |
    • KeithTexas

      What is your religion? Hummers, fat paychecks, big houses, it really doesn't matter you have a religion of some sort all humans do.

      April 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  5. Will 18E

    Well, not to start an argument, just a POV but if you are not Roman Catholic, Eastern or Orthodox, your in one of those made up religions. Thank you Henry the VIII and Martin Luther. But in simplest terms, this story and experience is a total misuse of the purpose of the Holy Sprit.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:31 am |
  6. tjosephteal

    WOW as a coupon mom I loved the Extreme Couponing series it is awesome my five cent for extreme couponing is the place called "Printapons" you will love it

    April 24, 2011 at 3:30 am |
  7. gking407

    If I'm already forgiven, then why am I going to hell? I'm not Christian by the way.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • jebgohome

      Have you received His forgiveness since it was offered to you? When you receive it, it's not a one time thing... You live as a forgiven son... grateful & obedient. When you appropriate forgiveness to yourself & others you are a better son than Lucifer ever was.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:57 am |
    • the truth

      Who would want to spend an eternity with rapist, pedophiles, thieves and murderers that have been forgiven. Its tripe and the people that believe this tripe are fools. Waste your time believing, I will spend mine living.

      April 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
  8. Herp Derp

    Religion is a mental disease for those who can't handle reality...

    April 24, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • Chris

      Funny, im a psych student and we learn that faith actually heals... Check out Stark and Washburn to get actual facts. Much better than random dramatic statements.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:35 am |
    • TruthOarConsequences

      Placebos work too, doesn't mean there is any there there....Believe what you want, doesn't make it true.

      April 24, 2011 at 9:02 am |
  9. Chris

    Wow. I grew up a white southern baptist and all I knew about the black church was they were loud and ran long...today, my Pastor is black. He's also my friend and mentor who helped me get set free from addiction, chemical and spiritual. Interesting, the Holy Ghost is who allowed me the ability to trust my mentor. As well, his mentor sounds a lot like tje authors childhood pastor. Happy Easter all, wherever you are....today, "He is risen."

    April 24, 2011 at 3:26 am |
  10. thunder

    John Blake – I had an experience of actually seeing an angel after a long walk in the woods with my dog. I had become quite depressed at that time and as I walked I decided a "good-life" must not be for me. Up until that time (I was 46 years), I believed that things would always get better. This time I really felt that I just needed to accept that my life was to be a struggle with no reward. Since I choose to believe in God, I decided the God must have chosen this type of life for me. After that, I saw the angel. She consisted totally of bright light rays and said only one thing, "You chose." It was so profound that I couldn't even tell anyone for two years and then I only mentioned it two people. I'm 56 now and seeing the angel affected me deeply.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:25 am |
  11. Deb

    Very beautiful and moving story! Thank you for sharing that. I had a similar experience.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:23 am |
  12. Mark

    To paraphrase a wiser man than me: While someone may have some sort of William Jamesian apprehension of the divine, there is no supernatural dimension to existence. The metaphysical claims of religion are false.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • KeithTexas

      There are many wiser men that you

      April 24, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
  13. elizabeth

    Thankyou for posting this very inspirational story. People should always respect anyone's spiritual journey. Very honest indeed!

    April 24, 2011 at 3:20 am |
  14. It's All Good

    It's o.k., Reality...No problem. That's if you're right. You just die (and you will like everyone else) and it's all done. However, if by chance, and just in case all you say aren't simply signs of the Last Days and you're wrong, guess what? Before, during, or after Armageddon that place called Hell is awaiting you with open arms. Better think about it all some more and don't be completely locked in. Especially since you've been told. No heed? No excuses.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • The Quiet Man

      You go by the screen name It's All Good, but speak contrary to that for, if you REALLY believed it was "all good" -or even knew what that meant- you wouldn't be worried about coaxing people to buy into your beliefs.

      I know it's all good, no matter what I do or what you do. The reality of what is at play in the universe is so vast, your beliefs -or mine- are utterly inconsequential. Learn about Love.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:06 am |
    • PleasantlyYours

      You present only two alternatives, but there are more you aren't presenting.

      If Islam is correct, and you aren't Muslim, then your insurance plan doesn't work. You go to hell. What happens if Hinduism is correct? Or Voudoun? Shinto? Greek Polytheism? There are more than two options at stake to consider with the situation you present.

      April 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • STBV

      Excactly. Check out this site. http://www.jamesbouvier.com

      April 25, 2011 at 8:48 am |
  15. Gabriel


    When you say God-Man are you referring to the person who was born on Dec. 25th, of a virgin woman, son of God, who died and was resurrected in 3 days, who symbolically fed his followers bread and wine to represent his flesh and blood, AND performed miracles? If so, are you talking about Mithra, Dionysus, or Osiris? You have to be specific.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:18 am |
    • Michael

      All of those were prophecies of Christ you fool.

      Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses and many Prophecies, while at the same time allowing for Civilization to progress into something less BARBARIC.

      It was because the ROMANS hi-jacked Christianity and used it for WORLD DOMINATION that it became an abomination...which gave birth to the Protestants...but the Founding Fathers created an enviroment where Christianity would never be "hi-jacked" again.

      Christ is the only King any "True" Christian would submit to. As a result, you have the American Revolution.

      We are a Christian Nation in our Origins. All the Founders had a profound respect for the American Christian.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • Donodron

      Unless Mithra, Dionysius, and Osirus had there human actions predicted 1,000 years in advance and unless their stated purpose was to die in order to save their enemies then they aren't comparable to Jesus.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:34 am |
    • atheitarian

      Ahhh, I love it when people actually read their historical mythology. Recycled stories of half-gods, kind of takes the magic out of easter doesn't it? Maybe somebody can explain to me where the bunny rabbits, eggs and candy came from on this most "christian" of holidays?

      April 24, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • KeithTexas

      Michael – I am sorry but you are very wrong. You are an evangelical Christian who believes Jesus was the physical manifestation of God on earth. The founding fathers were Deist who believed the Christ was the Son of God and they also didn’t believe in the Trinity. They believed in a God that didn't interfere in the affairs of humankind. The closest thing to Deism today would probably be the Universalist Church.

      What you believe is fine with me but telling others that our Founders were the kind of Christian you are is just not true. Your type of Christianity is relatively new in the history of Christianity.

      April 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Jesus

      Michael, I condemn YOU to Hades for being so lacking in intelligence.

      April 25, 2011 at 8:54 am |
  16. Ferdinand of Aragon

    For those rebuking this story, if you think science can answer everything, where are the corners of the universe? The contributors with negative remarks are most likely Muslims and fornicators!

    April 24, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • Barnacle Bill

      Science will eventually answer everything. Four corners of the universe? Idiot. The universe doesn't have corners.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:21 am |
    • wwnd

      Learn your history before you insult people. Get an education. Look up "Islamic Golden Age" – they were more tolerant of us Christians then we ever have been of them. I mean, we can't even admit the fact that Jesus was an Arab. Want to curse me? Don't believe me? Well how could he have been born and raised in the Middle East and not be Arab. Please don't make us Christians look ignorant of our own history and faith.
      Science and religion are completely compatible, so please take some science courses before you spout ignorance (I'm a physics major at the University of Notre Dame).

      April 24, 2011 at 3:28 am |
    • Donodron

      Jews and Arabs are not the same race, and Jesus was a Jew, but I agree the insult is unnecessary

      April 24, 2011 at 3:38 am |
    • TheQuietMan

      @wwnd I think science and a belief in a GOD *may* be compatible. God and RELIGION is a matter altogether, and more problems begin to arise.


      April 24, 2011 at 4:33 am |
    • TheQuietMan

      correction to the above...

      @wwnd I think science and a belief in a GOD *may* be compatible. Science and RELIGION is a different matter altogether, and more problems begin to arise.


      April 24, 2011 at 4:37 am |
  17. Unknown

    I'm not really religious, but I've been to a ton a churches, why has it not happened to me?

    April 24, 2011 at 3:14 am |
    • Truth

      You don't have brain damage to the left and right posterior parietal regions of your brain. That's why.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • TheTruth72

      You actually just answered your own question. Because you do not believe. Read the Bible. Believe it is the truth. Repent of your sins. Ask Jesus to come into your life and build a relationship up with Him through prayer. Then ask for these gifts that appear in Acts.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Dimarso

      It happens when you least expect it. It happened to me when I was about eleven during my first communion. I didn't belong to the Catholic church but was kind of forced by my mother to attend. I was quite happy going to my corner church, which was an Assemblies of God church. Nonetheless, I prayed to the God I was introduced by my corner church there in the Catholic church during my first communion and He responded with a powerful force that knocked me out (fainted). It was real, and I will never forget it, however the experience scared me so that I cried. I just didn't understand it at the time , only until many years later. Keep God personal in your heart- He hears you. 🙂

      April 24, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • trixen

      @TheTruth72 Why would you tell someone who doesn't believe to repent of their sins? Doesn't that suggestion somehow contradict your previous statement? If I don't believe something to be a sin, how could I repent of it? Speaking of which, I often hear folks like yourself state the Bible is truth when all you're really saying is that you have faith that the Bible is truth but have no objective evidence to prove it. Instead of saying, "The Bible is truth," you should say, "I have faith the Bible is truth." The former sounds like you're trying to convert someone to your beliefs, which is rude, obnoxious and condescending. The latter is merely a personal statement about oneself. I assume you meant the latter.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:40 am |
    • TheQuietMan

      @thetruth72 Even among other believers this "phenomenon" will not happen. It is an entirely learned behavior. If you spent time around people who behaved in this manner, you could be expected to mimic their behavior. (And to gain a sense of belonging, you might well do just that.) But take a deeply religious person from another culture and they will not exhibit the same behavior because... Anyone care to guess? That's right, 'cause they will not have learned how to do it. And if you have to learn to exhibit the mannerisms, how genuine could it be?

      What is the theory now? Does God want a different worship style from the many varied religions? What say you, thetruth72? Is YOUR method the one true worship? Is your god the one true god, with every other notion being false?

      I have seen a glimpse of the immensity of Love. Learn about Love.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • Dimarso

      Quiet Man I disagree....To my knowledge Catholic church members don't go around laying hands on people or have people in their pews thrash about. God is a personal God and He will manifest His Awesomeness whenever invoked by the sincere prayers of His believers. God is moved by our faith in His power to intervene in our lives.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:03 am |
    • TheQuietMan

      @Dimarso I'm not quite sure where you see our disagreement. You seem to be echoing what I said, to a degree. Worship style is a learned behavior, precisely why some Catholics don't fall down and and roll around on the floor (although I have seen seen varying behaviors among Catholics, too).

      I think our disagreement comes in the 2nd half of your response, but... I have no stake in reconciling our understanding of the world. I know that one day you and I will feed worms. And people will still be debating it all. Learn about Love.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:19 am |
    • Edward

      The holyghost is a sprit that dwell in your soul. Its your concense mind, its that inner feeling u get when your doing somthing bad, that wat ever act it is it shouldnt be done or that feeling u get when your doing good deeds that give u joy. Think about your favorite song, the one that makes you so happy that it makes you want to scream, the song you wish ever body could uderstand. Your childs first word, Your first love, or that movie that almost made u cry. Its the same feeling you get about god giving his only begotten son jesus chirst to die for your sins. Some people just cant hold all that joy in and have to exspress it in a different way like screaming,crying,jumping,dancing,singing or praying. Im pretty sure youve exsprienced it u just do it in a different mannor. Its a joyful feeling for rejoicing.

      April 24, 2011 at 4:21 am |
    • Jacob


      Jesus Christ is real, he loves you, he died for you ..resin from death for you...and he sent holy ghost to comfort you..guide you and protect you..

      Jesus is your saviour, just believe this ...you don't have to do anything more...religion always tells you to do things for slavation..but the fact is that you have to believe only .

      Jesus christ bless you


      April 24, 2011 at 5:34 am |
    • TheTruth72

      @trixen....I did not ask an unbeliever to repent of sins. Because they would not understand. I mentioned that you must first become a believer. Yes, it does take faith to believe that the Bible is truth, but that faith is proven to be more and more true over time (only someone who believes would understand this).

      @TheQuietMan....There are many people, even some I know, that have had this encounter with the Holy Spirit. I have met someone who was on drugs. (This next part, I know people are going to rip on because I mention drugs. Just get past that thought.) They suddenly become sober and felt the extreme love of God and was shown the purpose for their life. They became clean instantly, never went back and are preaching the Bible to teens in a youth center. I've heard many stories like that. Did you know that in China, the Holy Spirit tells believers where to meet that night, then 10 minutes before the police arrives to arrest and persecute them, the Holy Spirit tells them to leave. There are many instances of things like this happening and even to people who don't believe, God has filled them with the Holy Spirit so they may believe. God has His reasons for who He chooses, but it's quite amazing when you hear these testimonies and how unreal they sound, but you see the fruits of it.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  18. Sameer M

    I have encountered some of the same things. Check out the book of acts and read about the day of pentacost. So many people don't have faith today. I cant explain these things just like I cant really explain why electricity shoots from the sky and how there are such precise laws like gravity. God is Good.

    April 24, 2011 at 3:11 am |
    • TheTruth72

      Some people say that these gifts aren't for today and were only around back in Jesus' day. NOT TRUE! They are all around today. If you ask, the Father will give.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:21 am |
  19. Carlos

    Great read. How can people mock someones reality? We all experience the truth differently. Funny this seemed like a movie.. Oh yeah Antwone Fisher

    April 24, 2011 at 3:10 am |
  20. whitetidelinedesigns

    This was a lovely, generous story. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I don't buy the Christian stories even much as metaphor and possibly thin archeological source. But tomorrow I will be thinking of your Aunt Sarah and that poignant, powerful & all-meaning smile to a boy who had so few to call kin.
    Thank you so much for this memory & the description & explanation of the noisy, wild sounds & writhing of these churches. They make so much more sense now, given history, and it is a great blessing they were there as a gathering place for strength & synergy. All the best to you! You are a lovely writer and I credit CNN for including this piece on the eve of Easter Sunday. All the best, Julie

    April 24, 2011 at 3:10 am |
    • whitetidelinedesigns

      Sorry – typo above. It was Aunt Silvia, not Sarah.

      April 24, 2011 at 3:14 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.