Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mixed-bathing … is that okay?

During my growing up years in the 1970s and 80s, I began to notice that my church was different from other ones.  For one thing, we had unique doctrinal views about baptism, weekly communion, and instrumental music.  There wasn’t a lot of wiggle room on those issues.  And for another, we had a long list of activities that we shouldn’t partake in … activities like drinking alcohol, dancing, or swimming with members of the opposite sex (which was sometimes called “mixed bathing”).

I shared this information with a friend who grew up in a Church of Christ in Arizona.  He said, “Yeah, at our church it was all about the same … except for the view about mixed-swimming.  It’s hot in Arizona.”

(Pictured above is my hometown church building, the College Church of Christ in Searcy, Arkansas.  This picture dates to about 1976 or so.)


  1. Imagine the culture shock when I left Searcy for Italy. Wine, dancing, and church camp at the beach suddenly became not just allowed but an expected part of doing work with the church!

  2. I know! I remember going on international campaigns to Italy. As Harding students, we could drink the communion wine, but we weren't allowed to have wine at the meals.

  3. By the time I was six, I assumed everything we didn't do was because we were Christians. In our family, we didn't do candy or much of anything that involved sugar. Imagine my total surprise when I went to first grade at Harding Academy -- a Christian school -- and saw fellow students pulling candy out of their lunch boxes. My six-year-old self was appalled that such blatant disregard for the faith was being carried out in front of me. I honestly believed candy was on the same list as dancing, bathing suits in public, and cigarettes. You know -- the list of things that were scriptural no-nos.

    I think I even talked to Mrs. Blue about it. Come to think of it, that might have been the beginning of my paradigm shift. :-)

  4. The beginning of a paradigm shift in 1st grade ... love it!

    Lisa, your thoughts reminded me of elementary-school conversations about the use of the word "gosh" in 2nd grade and about whether or not we could use a piano to practice "church songs" for 6th grade graduation.