I grew up in church. The denomination is really not important. I was there every time the doors were open as far as I can remember. I thank my parents for loving me enough to take me. I have fond memories of Sunday School and children’s church. I remember sitting in “Big Church” watching my parents sing in the choir. The summers were always punctuated by Vacation Bible School.
As I got a little older, I would read my bible and then ask bigger questions. I remember the men, women and pastors in my churches attempt to answer those questions. I guess there were times that I had bigger questions than they had answers for and they would tell me, “that’s just the way it is” or try to change the subject all together. It was at this time, I also remember seeing and hearing things that bothered me.
The choir tour that cost too much money, and I got made fun of because I couldn’t go. Youth camp was far away and also very expensive. Besides the kids who were going weren’t very nice to me anyway. I remember seeing people who I thought were wonderful people at church, treat people outside the walls with such disrespect and disdain.
My fond memories of church as a child begin to dissolve and be replaced with a jaded cynicism. My questions became more pointed. I really wasn’t looking for information anymore, I was looking for the truth. I wanted to see past the “Sunday Best” and reverent fronts into the heart of what these churches really stood for. I kept receiving empty answers and spiritual cliches. The sad part of the story is… I played along. I wore my “Sunday Best” (more of my mom’s influence than mine). I sang the special music. I spoke the language. I managed my sin. I conformed into what a good, church going young man should look like….but I hated it, and when I wasn’t there I was completely different. Until one day, I quit going….