Saturday, April 26, 2008

My first religious experiences

Mine is not a story of someone raised in an extremely religious family, like so many others I've been reading. I'm not a pastor's son. I was never a missionary. I can count the number of times I attended church as a child on my fingers and toes. But my parents were believers and so they taught me their beliefs.

I was baptized in an Episcopal church before I was 2. I remember attending a really quaint Episcopal church, but I only remember snippets. This was around the time our dog died and this is the first time I can remember questioning the concept of Heaven. My brother and parents told me he had gone to Heaven and that Heaven was up in the sky. I remember looking out the car window and looking up at the clouds and thinking "Why don't they fall down?" Shortly after this one of my grandfathers died. He, too, went to Heaven. But not before they put his body out where people could look at it. This freaked me out and still does to this day.

Fast forward a few years and I got to attend the kind of church my mom went to as a child...Pentecostal! It scared the piss out of me! When they laid hands on my mom and she fell backward I thought they hurt her and started to cry. I think this was at night and I fell asleep at some point only to be awoken by the words "AND THE DEVIL!" screamed by the pastor. It gave the churchgoers a little comic relief to see me jump.

But other than seeing snippets of the 700 Club at my grandparent's, that was about the extent of my church attendance as a young child. I would be 12 before I went back...

2 comments:

Trobairitz said...

I was scared of the church when I was little. It was often very dark inside and I thought incense smelled funny. I remember looking at the left part of the iconostasis, where there was an icon of a smiling young, androgynous looking Saint George with a slain dragon at his feet. I wasn't sure if it was a boy or a girl, but it looked like it was smiling at me, and it always made me feel better and less scared. Later on I developed a certain liking for the dark atmosphere, candles, stained glass, even the ominous chanting. But alas, I was never terribly fond of the dogma and close-mindedness...

DMacaoidhSelim said...

I'm not gonna lie: that "AND THE DEVIL!" part made me laugh so hard that tears poured down my face. I'm ex-evangelical & an atheist, so I totally understand. They do love to yell about that out of nowhere. Now I'll be cracking up the rest of the night with my husband giving me weird looks (he's Muslim & doesn't get the humor in stories like this).