Friday, December 6, 2013

Inspired, Amused, or Informed?

My mother woke up in the hospital one night and heard someone screaming. She told me that she thought she was in hell. My sister was afraid she would go to hell because her church membership had lapsed. My father said he believed we were saved "day by day".

Why do I tell you these things? Because they were all church members, and my father taught Sunday school. Church attendance in my family was every week unless you were sick. My elder family members had gone to the church for decades.

Finally I rebelled. What was the point? I got zero from attending, though I was full of questions, hungry to understand the meaning of life and our faith. Any person who would have talked to me could have given me a great lift and a great start in life.

In later years, I learned that most people who go to church have very different motives than I had. I'm not sure I understand, or even know, what they are, but I am sure that learning is not what they are. To me, it was paramount. My family was clueless, and the people around me were clueless, as far as I could see, though they were very nice people.

I did not want ceremony, inspiration, or church "humor". All I knew was that I got nothing from going to church. Once, after I quit going, my parents came home glowing about a "wonderful" sermon against drinking. Did they think that is what I needed to hear? Was God impressed? Years of going to church had taught us nothing, so my family was living in fear and ignorance.

I began to listen to radio preachers and, oddly enough, philosophers and scientists, who helped me to fill the vacuum I had inside. I realize, that for many, soothing, or inspirational services are enough. But they did not satisfy me then and do not now.

So, I am considered cold and unemotional. Yet when I read the mighty words of God, I am not ashamed to cry.

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