Growing up in a small southwestern town with a church on every corner circa 1950s leaves a lot of room for religious confusion. We had our First Baptists, our Calvary Baptists a block away,our Church of Christ, our Church of God, our Seventh Day Adventists, our Methodists, our Presbyterians, and our Mexican Church….Catholics. I’m reasonably sure there were others scattered around that I don’t remember.
I do recall something of a family crisis when my oldest sister went with a friend to a ‘holy roller’ church. Traumatized the hell out of her, and she got baptized all in one fell swoop. I’ve often thought that might have been a piece of what led her to being the goody-two-shoes tattletale teachers pet holier-than-thou hypocrite she was all the remainder of her life I knew her.
But I’ve digressed.
My mother and step-dad were married in 1948 in the Church of Christ. So as a pre-schooler I went to Vacation Bible School there. Then, for reasons I never knew, we changed to the Calvary Baptist Church a while. Then the First Baptist Church. I never felt comfortable in either of those Baptist churches. They’d pass around grape juice and crackers that made my mouth water, but I never got any. I wasn’t baptized.
Then there came a day when I was in the fourth grade when my parents decided they wanted to change again and become Presbyterians. There came a knock on the door and Brother Doyle, preacher for the Baptists asked if he could come in.
“No I don’t want to sit.” The veins were bulging out of his scarlet face. “What’s this about you leaving the church?”
My mom explained quietly, and Brother Doyle began to shout and pace around the living room. Eventually my mom asked him to leave, but he just got louder, waving his arms around. “I WON’T SEE you there! You and your family will burn in HELL!”
I was unsettled watching all this, but my mom got angry and demanded he leave. “I won’t be seeing you there!” He kept shouting.
So my mom picked up the phone and dialed my step-dad at work. Explained it all while Brother Doyle kept stomping around, pointing at me, waving is arms around, veins bulging out all over his face.
Until Charlie, my step-dad arrived and told him to get the hell out.
Presbyterians seemed fairly low-key by comparison. No fire in their bellies. When they baptized people they just sprinkled a little water on their heads quietly. But of course, deep down, I knew those Presbyterians weren’t ever getting into heaven with that sort of wimpy foolishness going on.
So you can see, I had a lot of exposure to religion in my life. But I never got Baptized, and eventually I came to know I was sure as hell not a Christian.
I’d rather spend eternity in hell than in heaven with Brother Doyle and his ilk.
But of course, I don’t happen to believe in hell. Though I count myself a spiritual and to the extent I’m able, a righteous man.
Maybe I’ll write some more about this sometime.
They say going to heaven is just like being in church forever! For some people, that enjoy being in church; sitting on a hard bench, overcrowded, and listening to long boring sermons…heaven could be hell for others?
It would be hell if they didn’t let you have any of that grape juice and crackers. Gracias, Old Jules
When I was finally enlightened by events in my early 50s, I quit believing in all religions. They are all basically just for people control.
Thanks for coming by Barney. You might be right. Whatever they’re for, I don’t care to have them do it to me. Gracias, Old Jules
My church is the great outdoors. It fills me with peace and contentment.
Peace and contentment are a worthy place to be.
YES! Do write more about that sometime. c
I shall. Thanks for the visit. Old Jules
I think that Rev. Doyle has moved to our community at the Baptist Church here. He tells everyone they are going to hell if they don’t go to his church. I’ll take my chances.
I’m thinking the guy got cloned into a thousand identical creatures and they went forth unto all the world to preach the gospel, etc etc. Gracias, Old Juels
I never experienced what you went through and I must admit it would scare the hell out me, no pun intended. People like Doyle tend to create more barriers than they ever build bridges, which is sad. Thank you for sharing.
It was unsettling but I’m grateful it happened so’s to show me what I needed to know about the realities of Christianity.
That is really sad to hear. No one has the right to tell someone they are going to hell. God is the only one who knows a person’s heart.
I consider the entire experience a blessing. It gave me a starting place to begin the process of deciding whether I would become a Christian.
My family belonged to the Methodist Church. The only change was in 1968 when the Evangelical United Bretheren Church merged with the Methodist Church to become the United Methodist Church. Nobody in our little church knew anybody who belonged to the Bretheren Church nor anything about their doctrine.
Dad, mom, and brother were Methodists until their dying days My sis is a non-practicing Methodist. Of course I’m a heathen Buddhist.
That’s interesting, Swabby, I was baptized in the EUB church. I think we migrated to the Methodist Church when my dad took a teaching job at the Methodist Seminary, but I well remember the conversations about the merger.
Mergering religions seems to cause a lot of splintering and off-shoots springing up when people disagree about whether Jesus owned his own clothing or had to clip his own toenails.
It’s good living in a time when we don’t have to be burned at the stake or otherwise persuaded to see the error of our ways for choosing a different spiritual option. Gracias,
THANKS FOR YOUR THOUGHTS JACK. I HOPE THERE IS SALVATION BECAUSE W/O IT OUR FUTURE IS SHORT AND BLEAK. KEEP ON GIVING ME THOUGHTS TO PONDER MY FRIEND.
Likely it’s salvation or something equally compelling. I’ll confess I can’t think who you might be other than anonymous. Old Jules