I explain an asterisk from Hoosier by birth, Boilermaker by choice.
I was baptized in a Lutheran Church in Cedar Lake. Just down the tracks from our trailer.
I do remember going a few other times as a kid. Each time I remember feeling:
out of place
and not having any clue what to sing, when to sit or stand, let alone what to say.
I always enjoyed looking around at the artwork, the statues, the stained glass, and of course the people. I always did my best to listen to whomever was speaking. Mostly white guys. But, there were a few ladies. I tried to hear the words. I tried to understand the message. Be good to one another and raise your children well is kinda what I got from it all.
My brother and I did attend a Vacation Bible School or three during our breaks from school. I also remember attending a few Sunday Schools. I remember one VBS in particular that showed me despite my mom’s best effort she would not be able to help much with the homework. We had an assignment to memorize some type of phrase from the good book.
The Lord is my shepard,
I shall not wantPsalm 23:1
Whatever I was suppose to memorize it either wasn’t that particular verse, I needed more of it, or I was way off because my teacher kept starring at me and asked me a few questions. I had no idea what to say or how to answer. Then, unluckily for my brother he went next and was met with the same response. But it didn’t seem to bother him as much. Funny, my older brother and I share the same parents, are only 1 year, 1 month, and 1 week a part but we can be totally opposite and similar all in the same same.
I was, and am, a pretty emotional person. I feel empathy. I love all the feelings but my least favorite is feeling unprepared. I guess that is why that memory is so vivid. I felt like a total dumb ass. Another vivid religious memory of mine is based on smell.
There were a few times I went with my brother to a random Sunday School. It was a weird set of circumstance. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s churches used to canvas neighborhoods in search of attendees. At least in Cedar Lake Indiana they did. If the parents weren’t interested they would solicit the kids. If the parents agreed they would pick you up in a bus.
The bus smelled like,
“bee oh”, rubber, and cookies
I remember the smell of that old bus. It was a mixture of “B.O.” cookies and that rubber smell all older buses had back then. This was probably like 1989. The bus was old then. The smell only went away when we were in motion and the windows were down. I may have gone for a month. But, between the smell of the bus, the bus driver, and not knowing what to do I stopped going. My brother gladly kept attending for a few more weeks.
After that when the old guy from the bus with only nubs for fingers came rapping at our rental door I never answered. I hid. I was terrified of him. He looked just like Kane from Poltergeist. To his credit that man from the church was as nice as could be. I asked him about his fingers that first day and he told me he lost them while working on his families sheep farm.
My respects to Julian Beck’s family but he scared me to death. Still does actually. I think it’s the physical appearance, the wardrobe, and his devout faith that scared me.
There were a few other times I went to a Sunday mass here and there as a teenager. It was the price of sleeping over at a friends house. I have prayed, sat, stood, knelt, sat, stood, and lip sang at a few churches of many different faiths. Mostly Roman Catholic ones like Holy Name, St. Mary’s, St. Maria Goretti, St. Thomas Aquinas, Seton, St. Mike’s. A few Baptist pew’s and one Orthodox. I have even been to a Tabernacle. That was probably the most fun.
My wife and I got married* in a park by our friend who got ordained online.
I have never affiliated myself with any one religion. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Conversely, I applaud anyone who is, has been, or will be a devout follower of any religion. Truth be told I have been trying to work up the nerve to check out the Methodist Church we send our daughters to for preschool. I consider myself a person of faith. But, if I had to chose a religion to follow I probably would go with a Rastafarian or a Zen Buddhist like Phil Jackson.
In case you really care,