Speaking in LA is always a treat; not Los Angeles but Lower Alabama. I was at an event filled with fun-loving men and women. The conversation shifted to the local news, “Y’all hear about that little-ole country church that burned yesterday?” “Thank the Lord, that church has been abandoned for years.” “Yes,” responded one of the ladies. “They say a bunch of chaps burned that church. But we know that is not true.” “Yep,” chimed in another voice. “It’s because of that outhouse behind the church……you know it is haunted.”
I snapped to attention since I love a good Southern story. The conversation continued, “That is what they say,” commented another. “That church is gone…burned down. But that outhouse is still intact. It’s like an evil spirit living in that outhouse jumped inside that church and ruined it.”
To say the least, the story was entertaining but I thought the last statement was profound… “It’s like an evil spirit living in that outhouse jumped inside that church and ruined it.” How many of our houses built to worship have been ruined by one person or a group of people with ungodly motives? Sadly, this type of disaster happens every day.
On the Island where I grew up, John’s Island, many of the local homes and churches are painted bright blue. Why is that? Terri Sapienza, Washington Post explains this cultural trend:
That can be credited to the Gullah/Geechee culture, a mix of African tribes that made up a large part of the slave population once found in the Carolina Low Country (from Georgetown, S.C., through the Georgia Sea Islands), says Leigh Handal, a director at the Historic Charleston Foundation.
These people brought many customs and myths with them to the United States, including the superstition that the color blue warded off evil spirits (“haints,” or haunts). The Gullah people would paint the woodwork around their windows and doorways to ward off the haints, Handal says. The practice spilled over onto porch ceilings, and the color came to be known as “haint blue.”
So what are the “haints” that can ruin a fellowship of believers?
Proverbs 6:16-19; There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
Maybe sometime between Epiphany Sunday and Christmas we should add a new event to the Christian calendar: “Haint Sunday”