It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. CS Lewis- 



Hope you’ve put on your Blue Suede Shoes because today we begin our stroll through Memphis.  To get you in the mood, enjoy this rendition of the song that inspired this blog post.



For those of you who don’t fully understand the meaning of the song’s lyrics, here’s a link you may want to check out.  One tidbit you’ll discover is that the “little thing waiting for the king down in the jungle room” is a reference to Elvis’ daughter Lisa Marie.   



The city of Memphis is located in southwestern Tennessee and sits on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River.  Founded in 1819, the city was named after the ancient capital of Egypt which was located on the Nile River.  It’s the largest city in Tennessee with a population of  650,100, according to the 2000 census.


In the 1870s a number of  yellow fever epidemics hit Memphis, with the worst outbreak occurring in 1878.  Tragically, this dreaded disease reduced the city’s population by nearly 75% as many people died or fled Memphis permanently.

It’s understandable why Elvis Presley lived in Memphis because it is also the home of founders and establishers of various American music genres, including Blues, Gospel, Rock n’ Roll, Crunk, and “sharecropper” country music (in contrast to the “rhinestone” country music of Nashville).  During the 1950s, Johnny Cash, B.B. King, and Elvis Presley were all getting their music careers started.  These three musicians are respectively called the "King" of Country, Blues, and Rock n' Roll. 

Interestingly, novelist John Grisham grew up nearby and used Memphis as the setting for many of his books.  Also, playwright Tennessee Williams hails from Memphis.

If you plan to visit this exciting city, May would be an excellent time to go!  “Memphis in May” is a month long series of events that promotes the city's heritage and outreach. Four main events happen every year:  the Beale Street Music Festival, International Week, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, and the Sunset Symphony. The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is the largest pork barbecue cooking contest in the world!

Other attractions that should not be missed are Beale Street, Sun Studio, the Memphis Zoo, and the Peabody Hotel. “The Peabody” is a luxury hotel in Downtown Memphis which is home to the world famous “Peabody Ducks”.  These five ducks live in a penthouse on the hotel rooftop (no joke!) and make daily treks to the hotel’s lobby in a “March of the Ducks” celebration.  No visit to the city would be complete without taking a “gander” at the Peabody Ducks.  These famous ducks were featured in a segment on Animal Planet.  You’ll love this!



If you’d like to learn more about how this “quacky” tradition got started, here’s some background information we found at the hotel’s website:



As always, the primary focus of our “faith watch” blog will be the Christian aspect of Memphis.  We plan to focus specifically on Bellevue Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist mega church that was founded in 1903.  For many years, Dr. Adrian Rogers, a three-time president of the Southern Baptist Convention, served as pastor of this shining star.  Has the church become tarnished since Dr. Rogers’ retirement?  We’ll get into that…  Bellevue "claims" to have a current membership is approximately 27,000.  We’ll be discussing that statistic as well, along with some other highly controversial issues involving the church.  It’s hard to tell how long we’ll be “walking in Memphis” because there’s so much to discuss.  Tomorrow we'll introduce you to Bellevue’s current pastor and his beauty queen. 

Today we leave you with a blast from the past.  Here's Elvis' performing Blue Suede Shoes.  For the younger generation, Elvis was all the rage when he performed this mega hit!   Don’t laugh too hard…



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