Stories, Convictions and Opinions about Living in the Bible Belt
Hello there, and welcome. This is a blog about the Bible Belt, but not just about the Bible Belt. You are welcome whether you are from small town Mississippi or if you reside on the other side of this good green earth.
I think it is safe to say that while the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted.
My name is Brandon Clements, and I started this site because of a hare-brained thought: “If I had an audience with every human being that lives in this great swath of the South news pundits have labeled the Bible Belt, what would I say?”
I started the site because the answer was: a lot.
I grew up in the rolling hills of Upstate South Carolina. A little country town of about 6,000 with three stop lights was the place that shaped the way I viewed the world. My family was sprawled out over forty-something acres of pastures and farmland, but, at least when I was born, not your stereotypical southern religious folk. They were what I like to call “country partiers”–my dad has long told the story that he and my mom drank an entire case of Bud Light on the way to Myrtle Beach for their honeymoon.
No one in my family went to church, but when I was about six years old, my mom and my grandmother decided that I needed to be raised in church. So they started taking me to a little country church in our hometown. I still remember watching the cartoon depictions of Jesus’ life, walking an aisle, and getting baptized.
Fastforward twenty-something years and here I am, a pastor at a church plant in Columbia, SC. A far cry from the small town I was raised in, but still drowning in red and awash with church steeples.
I’ve often dreamt of moving away, of getting out of the Southeast where I’ve spent most of the days of my life. But I almost feel an invisible thread holding me here, and even in the midst of all my disdains and frustrations that thread births and sustains an endearing love for these often confused and Christ-haunted people. Because they are my people, and we are all confounded and confused by Christ. His name is everywhere, but His truth is often camouflaged under layers of asinine baggage.
I am full of youthful angst and dissenting opinions from the religious elite of the South, but I am also full of a mysterious affection for this place in this time.
This will be a place where I tell stories and voice convictions and state opinions, and I’ll invite some trusted friends to do the same. It will not be a place where we all agree, and I’m certain that even those who post will disagree on some things.
Depending on where you’re coming from, it may be a place that makes you angry or confused. That’s okay. Stick around. Keep reading. Keep thinking. Keep commenting. Your voice is wanted here. (Unless you’re just mean, in which case we’ll ask you to leave.)
My goal here is not to mock or bemoan or be another twenty-something know-it-all, but to tell good stories and speak needed truths and ask good questions, so that hopefully by God’s grace the Bible Belt will become less haunted by Christ and more centered on Him.
We’re going to talk about a lot of things. Things like:
- The Church (what it is and what it is not)
- The gospel (what it is and what it is not)
- Church leadership
- Cultural engagement
- Christian radio
- Why men hate going to church
- Church signs
- Religious confusion
So stick around, it’ll be fun (or at least interesting). I will post new updates on Wednesday mornings, but because you’re super busy and will likely forget to check back, you can subscribe to new posts via email below.