Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Randomly numbered Thing About Me #31

With thanks and apologies to Marigoldie, whose reward for inspiring me is out and out theft of intellectual property.

31. My earliest experience with religion was a one room Baptist church heated in winter by a wood burning stove. It was the only church for miles around our country neighborhood, so my mother, fearing that I’d grow up heathenish, sent me to Sunday School there. We sang hymns like Onward Christian soldiers and
The B-i-b-l-e, Yes That’s the Book for Me. The minister used to say that Jesus was with us in the room, but no matter how I squinted my eyes, I couldn’t see him.

I remember most of the bible stories I was taught. And can still clearly recall my Sunday School teacher turning the pages in a book of blank, colored, felt squares. Red is for the blood of Jesus. White is for Goodness. Black is for our sin.

I liked Sunday School. It was something different to do. One Sunday, my mother forgot (that’s how I saw it) to send me. I was about four and didn’t keep track of what day of the week it was. I was wandering the neighborhood and noticed that Sunday School was in progress. As usual, I was dressed in battered overalls and the sensible lace up shoes my mother forced me into so my feet would grow up perfectly. It didn’t occur to me to worry that I wasn’t in a little dress with my hair brush-bashed into temporary neatness. Sunday School was on and I went.

I remember my mother’s horror of what the neighbors must think – her child showing up in old play clothes with uncombed hair.

Later my parents went to meetings with other people and sat on stacking chairs while they fund-raised for a United Church. I taught Sunday School there and sang in the choir. The United Church didn’t have such good picnics and there was less potato salad involved in social gatherings.

Although the story of Jesus was inspiring, I always related more to Greek myths which I consumed with great appetite at about age 10 or 11. The Gods were just as cranky and unpredictable (how about that pillar of salt thing, for cranky, folks?) but they weren’t…well…quite as good. Quite as impossible to live up to. And they had more fun.

It was then I became Greek.

Just kidding.

6 comments:

Lucas said...

You had me going for a minute there on that Greek thing. Lj -- then I scrolled down another line.

Hey, how bout that election, eh?

LJ said...

Hmm. Well. Could be that Greek isn't a bad alternative to Harper. We'll see.
I'm a big NDP supporter myself - and they did better this time. The important straw to grasp in the face of the terrifying Mr. Harper is that it's a minority government - which means, hopefully, he can't do anything too fundamentalist without support. And he's not going to get support for that crap from the NDP or Liberals. What the Bloc will do? Don't know.
Me - sometimes I want to give up and resign from the human race entirely. Or throw thunderbolts from Olympus when the monkeys below piss me off.
Greece, anyone?

Marigoldie said...

Love it, love it, keep it coming--and now you have inspired ME to write about an old country church I used to attend occasionally with my junior high boyfriend.

Can't get over the image of you in your overalls and uncombed hair. I wish you had some old photos you could post.

LJ said...

I'll unearth the box and see if I can find a photo. Thanks, M.! This is fun, huh?

Teri said...

Wow. I find it disturbing that in some churches the Blood of Christ and Black Sin are topics for discussion with small children. (shudder)

I went to Catholic school on and off growing up. I remember being nine years old (5th grade maybe?) and being told, in fluffy, euphemistic terms, of course, that masturbation is a sin, which must be confessed if I were to receive forgiveness. Would you believe I confessed it?

I ask you: What's more natural than a pre-teen exploring her body and what's more unnatural (and unholy!) than a pre-teen girl sitting in a confessional telling an aging priest about it! (shudder again)

I also loved mythology when I was a youngster! Took 4 years of Latin in high school and Edith Hamilton was in my bookbag always.

Melinda said...

How much do i LOVE that you referenced "The B-I-B-L-E, That's The Book For Me"? Did you also sing "I am a C, I am a C-H, I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N"? (What is it with the crazy Christians and their spelling, anyway?) I keep my Unitarian-raised husband entertained on car trips with my extensive repertoire of Sunday School songs...
Great blog!