I recently spent a week in rural Tennessee, in the Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains, and was able to photograph some churches dating back more than a century.

old church buildingOne can’t help but admire the stark functional simplicity of these primitive wooden structures.

primitive church buildingIt took very little effort to imagine a cowering Sunday-morning congregation squirming on hard unforgiving pews listening to their grim future being reigned down upon them by a bearded, fire & brimstone preacher.

primitive church, interiorPrimitive Baptists generally do not play musical instruments as part of their worship service. They believe that all church music should be a cappella because there is no New Testament command to play instruments, only to sing. The presence of an upright piano in this simple interior (below) therefore suggests Methodist.

church interior, with piano

Most visitors wandered through the interiors of these primitive churches in the kind of hushed, respectful manner normally reserved for sacred places.

But ours is a post-humanist age seemingly dominated by the cult of the individual and a topsy-turvy notion of values.

primitive church interior with grafitti

church grafitti

Graffiti?

In a Church?

In a National Park?

Has the sacred been replaced by the mundane?

:) This is a random video from YouTube; I am not the narrator :)