When I was a child, I understood that being a real Christian meant not doing certain things. Those evil things that I understood to be un-Christian-like were things that would lead you down the highway to hell. Here were a few of those no-no’s…

  • Dancing
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Gambling
  • Cussing
  • Certain types of card games (like poker)

My thought process was if you didn’t dance, dip, drink, cuss or do one of the other unmentionables, you were a good Christian. Oh, and you simply had to go to church. I even remember one day looking at my old dog Samson and thinking, “Sam doesn’t drink, cuss, smoke or dance. He is by far the best Christian I know.” (I didn’t know at the time that Samson, much like the guy who he was named after, was chasing wild women at night time. Another no-no that was later to be added to my list.)

While I still try to refrain from most of the above no-no list, it wasn’t until later in my spiritual maturing process that I came to understand that Christianity wasn’t defined by what we didn’t do, but by what we choose to do. It is when we choose to love, when we choose to serve others and when we choose to have a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ that we are Christians.

Sadly, I still meet many Christians today who still hold to that old “AA” belief about being a Christian. They simply believe that abstinence from the no-no’s and attendance get you into heaven.

So, what did you think were “evil” things when you were a kid?

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Article by Trey Morgan

I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast. Read 1182 articles by
21 Comments Post a Comment
  1. cwinwc says:

    I never bought the “dancing is a sin” argument but it came in hand during Elementary School. When our P.E. Coaches told us that we were going to square dance and this would involve having to hold girl’s hands, my buddies and I were able to say a collective, “Sorry, it’s against my religion.”

    To my chagrin are “religious objector” plea did not hold up under the “board (as in the threat of being paddled for you youngsters out there) of education.”

  2. blogprophet says:

    and even more than about doing, it’s about being…

  3. Evan Williams says:

    i didn’t know it then but i now realize that not having should have been considered a sin… cause i thank God for it daily
    Shame on you Trey for not starting it earlier

  4. Stoogelover says:

    You know “our people” are against having sex in public because someone might think they are dancing? My list is your list except there was a huge deal about boys and girls swimming together. It was called mixed bathing, but I always thought of bathing in a different context. When we moved to Florida and the young adult class had a weekend cookout that including swimming and it was announced in the church bulletin, I was almost shocked! I knew our bulletin was mailed out to family back in Alabama and I’m sure they must have believed we completely abandoned the faith.

  5. preacherman says:

    Wonderful thoughts Trey.

  6. a cowgirl at heart says:

    I loved this post, so I had to add my two cents.

    -Not going to church
    -Not praying every day
    -Not reading my Bible enough
    -Being mean to people
    -Pre-marital sex
    -Drinking in excess
    -Hanging out with the bad kids

    I hate the last one the most because if I truly was trying to be like my Jesus, it would have been my first desire to help and befriend them…

  7. TREY MORGAN says:

    Greg – Yea, I guess mixed bathing should have made my list too. I remember that one. I guess today girls and boys swimming together is not mixed bathing till someone throws a washrag and soap in the pool.


  8. That Girl says:

    Our youth group went to Florida on a “Mission Campaign” (I don’t know what that meant) anyway, you couldn’t take a swimsuit. I couldn’t see getting in the ocean fully clothed. I didn’t ask for permission to go and was happy not to be made to go!

    It seems that every Wednesday night class was on “necking and petting”. It’s a shame that those things are what I remember.

    I guess I should be greatful – those lessons kept me from situations that could’ve gotten me in a lot of trouble.

  9. Joshua Tucker says:

    Excellent post, Trey. I think I’d alter it slightly though that instead of being about what we “choose to do,” it’s rather about “who we are”.

    I try not to sin because it put the God who loves me to death. I’m not trying to earn my way by obeying a list, but I strive to stay away from sin because it’s poison.

    I think for me though, at least for a while, my list was:
    – being baptized
    – not using instrumental music
    – showing up

    I guess I don’t spend a large amount of time focusing on what is “evil” anymore. Instead of thinking about sins, I try to pursue righteousness and being like God. If I’m trying to be like Jesus, I don’t have time to sin. Though, I still do lol.

    Thanks for the post Trey.

  10. Royce Ogle says:

    stoogelover – I know first hand about “mixed bathing”. When I was a grammer school kid and my two cousins came for the weekend mama would fill the large tin tub with heated water and all three of us would bathe in the same water, most of the time all three at the same time. Now that was mixed bathing!

    I used to love dancing and then when I married I suddenly lost interest in it. Wonder why? lol

  11. Anonymous says:

    Back in the early 802. our youth group went river rafting and had to wear jeans (in 100 degree weather) cause wearing shorts would get you on the A-Train to Hell :)


  12. Anonymous says:

    Love this post. I struggle with some of those things….I am no hyprocrite. I try everyday, but I fail. I know what is right, yet I choose other things….but I love God and I know he loves me…all I can do is try. great post.

  13. Cornelius Crew says:

    oddly enough, my list was VERY similiar to yours! Wonder why that is???

  14. Fillmycup says:

    Wow, this post hits home. I had the whole list as well + no shorts.

    I find that as a member of the CofC today, this is the biggest obstacle we face. Drawing lines based on thou shalt not, hell, and fear not love. Because I was so immersed in thou shalt not and feared God’s wrath, I never understood God’s grace or love until I was in my 30’s. Personally, I think many raised as I was, still don’t know it and their relationship with God is suffering.

  15. Kyle Parker says:

    There’s an old song someone made up that we used to sing in youth group. (From the musical “My Fair Lady”) “We could have danced all night, but we were church of Christ, so we went and parked instead…”

    Today in youth group, I try to take the approach of teaching students to make good moral decisions. As an older, wiser youth minister friend of mine once said “some people can go to the prom and be Jesus, some can’t and shouldn’t.”

  16. Preston Belt, Beautiful Downtown Lockney, Texas says:

    This is a hoot!!! One more item for the list, if you’re not Church Of Christ you are going to hell. I can remember my granddad Belt telling me that about my mom’s folks. I was probably about 6 when he told me that. Because they were Baptist, they were going to hell. You can imagine how that settled into my mind. Oh yeah! One more for the list, If you get a divorce, there is no way you can get to heaven!!! See you Sunday!

  17. Brie says:

    Hmmm. I pretty much had this list when I was younger. But an interesting addition to the list…

    My Pappy (who I love a lot) used to be uber, uber, uber conservative (he’s downgraded to one uber since then) and he thinks that celebrating Christmas is wrong. On account of the fact that we don’t know when Jesus was born, and that Christmas was smacked down in lieu of Saturnalia, he protests the celebration of Christmas. My mom and her siblings never got to do Christmas growing up- if someone gave them a present, they had to give it back and explain why Christmas was wrong. Until she and Dad got married, she had never had a Christmas tree. Pappy still doesn’t do Christmas. He comes to the family gathering, stays for the meal, leaves for presents. Although he did talk about Christmas in his Christmas sermon this year, which is progress in a big way.

    Things weren’t quite that extreme for me (we got a tree!), but I distinctly remember having to go to my kindergarten teacher and telling her that I could be in the Christmas Program but couldn’t sing any songs about Jesus. I was the little girl standing there looking like I had lockjaw during “Away in a Manger” and “Silent Night.”

    They’ve loosened up since then, but the irony of thinking that it was more Christian to NOT sing about Jesus that TO sing about Jesus is not lost on me.

  18. Jeanne M. says:

    I don’t know what planet I grew up in, because I wasn’t given these items to “avoid.” My father was a deacon, then an elder as I grew up in the church of Christ. I swam at a public swimming pool, and at Galveston beach. I danced at my senior prom, but like cwinwc, I tried using that excuse to get out of square dancing in elementary school, because I just didn’t want to do it. We “celebrated” Christmas, and even had a tree in the church building and sang carols. We played cards in our family and with friends, although not gambling. I still would rather keep my money, instead of throwing it away. I sadly learned to smoke and to curse as a teen (but not around my parents), but quit when I decided these were not habits I wanted my children, when I had them, to learn from me.

    So, although I was not given a list, as I grew spiritually, I could see that some of these things just weren’t what I wanted to spend my time doing. I didn’t want Jesus to come back and find me doing them. He wants me busy loving and teaching others about Him. Doesn’t mean I don’t have fun, just that I choose what I feel is best for me – at 76 years.

    So please let’s not make any blanket statements about what the “church of Christ” teaches, or does. Each congregation, in any area of the world, makes its own decisions as to what we believe the truth to be – from the scriptures – and shouldn’t think we have the right, or the obligation to make those decisions for any other congregation, unless the scriptures firmly and plainly tell us otherwise. Sorry this is so long, but I am disturbed, and disappointed, that so many of the younger people in the church – from what I read in blogs – are so down on the church.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I love Jeannie’s comment and also grew up in a CofC church. However, my CofC church and those of all my siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, (currently thinking of about 13 congregations) had a long list that I think most posts have covered. I carry many scars of the worldly judgement I received. It wasn’t until I was a mother and seasoned adult, I found out what it means to be part of a CofC that is truely independent and its own congregation. These posts have actually helped me see that it wasn’t the “judgement scars” I received were NOT the fault of my parents or relatives, but a sign of the times and the culture back then. Thank the Lord it is changing for our childrens sake!

  20. TREY MORGAN says:

    Thank you all for your comments. It’s nice to work through some of these things together.

  21. Brittany says:

    I’ve never understood the “no dancing” thing. I mean, how can anyone listen to music with a beat and not dance? Maybe someone can explain this to me.

About Me

Trey Morgan Here are my thoughts about marriage, family, raising children, humor, faith and the life God intended for us all. I am a Christian husband and father, who moonlights as the minister for the church of Christ in Childress, Texas. My wife Lea and I have been married for 25 years. We are doing our best to raise our 4 boys, who are all growing up way too fast.

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