Original MySpace post on February 21, 2008
Sorry so late, about 3 months.
Ah, yes, where to begin .. .
When I was growing up, on Sundays my mom used to take me to Sunday School. For the most part, I hated it. I was a shy kid, and didn’t have too many friends in my Sunday School classes. Hardly any , if none, of the kids in my Sunday School classes attended the elementary schools I went to. So I just didn’t enjoy the Church thing because I was an outsider. I would go and participate in the activities, and somewhat learned the Bible stories, but even at a young age the idea of “love one another” didn’t come across as too important, especially when you didn’t feel the love from your classmates.
Looking back, my feelings now, and my perspective, is that I don’t feel ill will toward any of them. Many of them have grown up to be fine, Godly Christian men and women, many of whom are my friends now. When we’re teenagers, we can all be punks. We lived in a hormonal, peer-pressured jungle. It’s a battleground for the mind when one is a teen, and sometimes, God’s Kingdom loses out on that round. (All the more importance for an engaged children’s and youth ministry, in my opinion.)
I digress. At the age of 11, my Sunday School teacher at the time, an older gentleman, of whose name at the moment eludes me, gathered all of us boys together, and asked a very important question. “How many of you boys want to go to Heaven?” ……. Well, duh, we all raised our hand. I knew there was a Heaven, and I knew there was a Hell, and I definitely didn’t want to be roasting in eternity after I died. Our teacher then proceeded to tell us a very child friendly version of the Cross. When he wrapped it up he then said something along the lines of, “Now, bow your heads and repeat after me. Say this prayer, and mean it in your hearts.” He then proceeded to lead us in a sinners prayer, something like this:
‘Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, I believe that you died on the cross for my sins, please come into my heart and forgive my sins…Amen.”
I really didn’t understand the significance of what was happening to me at the moment. And no explanation of repentance was given. But, I do know that at that time I understood that Heaven was all about Jesus and the Cross. I knew that Jesus’ death was very important, and central to getting our butts into heaven.
A few years passes, and I still disliked going to Sunday School. Mom took me to “Big” church a few times, and I thought that was kinda cool, but long and drawn out, and the preacher was boring. My understanding of the things of God were getting clearer, but I just didn’t understand some of the stuff of the Bible. It just seemed so upside down.
My freshman year in high school was one of those fork in the road moments for me. I had a Sunday school teacher who seemed to give a darn about me, I remember he invited me to a few Sunday School events. I thought he was cool because of that, and I remember him to this day. (Thanks, Lee Terrell.) But for the most part I still didn’t fit in. So, one Sunday I begged mom to not take me to Church. And she gave in. And the next Sunday, and the next, and the next. Soon, church was a thing of the past. Mom stopped going altogether, too. And I feel guilty about that to this day.
I do remember one guy, named Michael Howell, who tried to get me back to Sunday School. He made an effort to invite me back, told me that I was missed. That has forever made a mark on me. He was the only one, other than Mr. Terrell, who stepped to the plate and noticed that someone was missing. I’ll always have an immense amount of respect for him because of that. We never became close friends or anything like that, probably never spoke another word after that for 4 years. But the memory remains.
Next Post, The College Years