It is a controversy that has been brewing now for almost ten years at Piney Hills Baptist Church in Memphis. At various times during the year the subject comes up, and each time the division between the factions within the church only grows deeper. The whole issue surrounds the pronunciation of the word "naked."
On one side of the issue is the church's pastor, Paul Billingsley.
"The word is pronounced 'nay-ked' just like it's spelled" said Billingsley. "I have no idea why these people want to make such a big deal over how I say it."
But on the other side of the issue is the church's associate pastor, Jeff Cummings.
"I know that it's spelled 'n-a-k-e-d' but you say it like 'nekkid'" said Cummings. "That's just the way to say it. To say 'nay-ked' sounds so 'hoity-toity' and smarty."
While these two factions are the predominant ones within the church there exists another smaller group that insists on a totally different pronunciation.
"Look, 'b-a-k-e-d' is pronounced 'baked'" said deacon Arthur Gillian. "No one goes around saying 'bay-ked' so why should 'n-a-k-e-d' be 'nay-ked?' We should just say 'naked' just like in 'baked' or 'waked.'"
The issue was heightened this past Sunday when Cummings preached from Genesis chapter 3 and quoted God as asking Eve "who told you that you were nekkid?" which clearly caused stirring amongst the members of the congregation.
"I knew he was going to do that" said Billingsley. "I think he chose to preach on that passage just to bring up the issue."
The church has requested that a board of overseers made up of pastors from surrounding area churches intervene before the issue causes more division in the church. But many fear that hard feelings have already grown too deep for there to be a real reconciliation.
"I'm willing to talk" said Cummings." But I'm firm about my convictions. I'm not going to change the way I talk for anyone. I hope we can find a solution to this problem."