One thing, among many, that is different now I’ve given up big city living in Raleigh for the sake of low-budget living in Wendell is the frequency with which I run into people I know on a quick run to the grocery store. In fact, I can scarcely think of such a trip without running into at least one person I know. Couple that with my after work unwinding ritual involving a single cold beer, well, that’s a potential combination for “witness” combustion.
In fact, one of the big no-nos in the religion of the South is buying alcohol, especially in a place where you can be seen buying alcohol. Which reminds me of a joke: What’s the difference between a Baptist and a Presbyterian? A Presbyterian will say hey to you in the liquor store.
Joking aside, there is a serious reality underlying the brown-bagging / teetotaling disposition toward Christian practice in the religion of the South, and it all falls under the umbrella of “Preserving One’s Witness.” Scarcely have many bothered to define what this “witness” is, though it’s preservation could mean the salvation (or not) of one’s very soul.