Posted July 1st, 2012 at 12:41 AM by mary
When I lived at home, my parents insisted on taking me to a church that my sister and I both strongly disliked. There was no youth group. There was one class for all the kids, combined. Mom taught it, and it was just basic Bible stories. There was no real doctrine taught, and no challenge at all for me, the oldest in the class (of 3-5 kids). But Mom thought the church was like the one she was raised in. One with THE Truth... as she knew it.
I wanted more than that. I wanted to go to a church where there were others my age, where I could learn, where there were activities and where others wanted to go, not just went because it was the thing to do on Sunday morning. Even my parents disliked going. Many Sundays we went to Sunday School and then went home rather than going to service. Dad skipped even Sunday School more times than I can count... and one Sunday while I was sick I discovered he preferred Tarzan to church. Or maybe he just thought his sick little girl would prefer that to cartoons.
When I got my license I was excited. I thought I might go somewhere else. Mom told me I would not be driving, that we would go to church as a family. To the church she chose. When I moved away to college, at the end of the day she handed me a phone book and told me they weren't leaving until I chose a church to attend on Sunday. There was no discussion about trying out a few churches. Nothing about the possibility of going to chapel at the college. Just, "Here's the phone book. We aren't leaving til you choose a church." And something about so many college kids quitting church entirely.
I had no intention of quitting, but I did want a better option than what I'd had growing up. A friend had told me about a visit to her grandmother's Pentecostal church... and when I opened the phone book that day and saw that there was a Pentecostal church in town, I knew where I wanted to go.
Mom flipped. Suddenly I was informed that I needed to try several churches. It was clear they didn't like my choice, but it was the end of the day and they had to go.
I visited one other church in town. None of the others appeared to be options for me at the time. And though I liked the other church, Pentecostal had my full attention from the first day I visited. There were others near my age. People wanted to be at church. They actually opened their Bibles at church. They could quote scripture rather than (as at my former church) taping the most familiar like the Lord's prayer to the pulpit. There was an excitement there. So that's where I chose to go.
My parents strongly disliked my decision. They came to visit. Dad brought me a copy of a book about why tongues was wrong. Mom argued. She told me she thought I had damned my soul by being rebaptized (a misinterpretation of "crucify the son of God afresh"). Dad tried to force me to wear pants to go to church when I was home...