MEMORY LN — “When I was a young kid I believed in Jesus Christ and God and all that stuff. I went to a Methodist church every week and loved it. My memories of Sunday morning was great, except the part about waking up early.
Each Sunday I would be forced awake numerous times and told to take a shower and get ready for church. It would start with me sitting down in the shower and falling asleep again. After I got dressed I would eat a cinnamon roll (something I still love on Sunday mornings to this day) and read the color comics while I wait for my family.
Once we got there I would see a friend or two on the way to our seats, our seats were an end section of an upper middle pew. (prime real estate) After one song and ten minutes all the kids would come to the front of the congregation and hear a two minute story and then we were sent off to Sunday School. Here we drew pictures and told historic stories of Jesus doing nice things. After the 10am service concluded everyone would head down to Wesley Hall for punch and coffee (Gross!) Then it was time for everyone to go home or go to confirmation class or some other jesusy activity you had. I always had something to do, whether it was choir practice or playing the bells for another service, I was there.
At night there something for the high school kids called U.M.Y.F. (United Methodist Youth?…what the hell was the F) All this was, was an hour of hanging out with a bunch of kids from yours and surrounding schools. My best friend Shawn was there so it was a complete blast. You have to understand if you don’t buy into God that everyone was there to be nice to each other. There was a common bond in the air and it was nice. I recall weekend sleepaway functions where youthful sexual accomplishments were over come with girls who were so far out of my “cool” league it was ridiculous. That’s how common this bond was. We all believed in the same outcome. Parents let us go because they knew it was supervised by the Lord and we wanted to go because we were young and had nothing else to do.
During my Sophomore year of high school my parents divorced and I moved to another part of the city with my Mom. This is where everyone seems to think is when I “lost” the faith. They are wrong. This is the point in my life that Punk Rock and buddies really became important to me. God never left. From hanging out on skateboards at the mall and meeting other suburban punk rockers I stumbled upon something called Young Life. This is also a Jesus based youth group for kids. So not only am I spending half my Sunday at church but now my Wednesday nights at a youth group. Again, I loved it. My Junior and Senior year of high school went by and each of those summers I went to a Young Life camp in Virginia called Rock Bridge for a week. Senior year one of my good friends volunteered for a month and came back quoting J.C.. He ended up being the first of us to grow out of it.
When you have been told and seen that the sun is yellow your whole life, you believe it is yellow. You look at the sky and see it glaring and say ‘Yep that’s yellow’. One day you learn ‘No, no. The sun is white and the color yellow comes from the different colors of our atmosphere’ At first this is hard to believe because of your habit. Then you rationalize, ‘Yeah, it is white but it’s yellow to me so it’s still counts as yellow’. Then you just start forgetting you only knew of it as yellow and start explaining it to others that it’s white and the cool reason for it. This is how I dropped religion.
After high school I putzed around for a couple years and then went off to college. Still believing but not going to church and never cracking a bible. I prayed each night and did the teaching as in ‘Be A Good Person’. All the different stories that make zero sense like Noah or the Virgin Birth had been forgotten for years. Somewhere around 22 I officially denounced my faith. It seems late in life but it’s hard to stop seeing yellow when it’s right in front of you. If you have ever been brought up in any religion you understand but if you haven’t you never will.
I’m going to have a son (or daughter) in January and I want to bring him up in the same way. I want him to see a happy Sunday morning tradition with love and family surrounding him but I have no idea how to do that. I don’t want to dive too far into my beliefs now because I don’t want to offend anyone but I hate the church at this point, I think religion is the root of all evil. (Yes, I’m holding back) So I can’t take him to my old stomping grounds and I don’t see a community center group being as nice. I have thought of having a large ‘friends with kids’ brunch every week to gather the same kind of thoughts but I just don’t know if there will be the same type of commitment.
I just wish I could take my kids to a church without all the Jesusy stuff.”
— Dave Ralph esq.