I have no idea where to begin. Guess that means I’ll start at the beginning.
My Not-So-Great Childhood Experience with Christianity
I was born and raised Lutheran. I lived most of my childhood in Ohio. Keeping the tradition of our faith, my mother enrolled my sister and I in a youth group in a small Lutheran church. Many of my adult friends speak highly of their church experiences when they were kids. They had happy experiences and developed lifelong friendships from the time they spent at their churches. I had an entirely different experience. I wish I could sing praises but the truth is the congregation at that church was intolerant, unforgiving, and at times cruel.
I experienced bullying at the hands of other children in my youth group and confirmation classes. The first youth group leader was a college kid in his early twenties. During his reign, I became seriously ill (not because of his leadership) and had to be hospitalized. After that I was on bedrest for several weeks. Even when I went back to school, my mother kept me home in the evenings because she didn’t want to overwhelm me. It was during my time of healing that this college kid, who led the youth group, told my mother that she was obviously being overprotective, that I couldn’t possibly have been as sick as I actually was, and that if she didn’t bring me back soon, he was going to have me kicked out of the youth group.
If you’re new to my website consider this a fair warning. I don’t often drop the f-bomb when I blog….
…but when I do, I usually use the above clip from Bridesmaids.
My mother took this kid’s threat to the pastor who assured her that no such action would be taken against me. I think that year was this kid’s last year serving as the youth group leader. And how I wish I could say they replaced him with someone who was kind.
The youth group leader who replaced him was worse. Every night after youth group, all the kids and teachers held hands (that’s not why she was worse). A prayer was said and after that we had the option of saying a prayer for someone. A little girl – nine years old – said a prayer for her friend’s dog who was being euthanized that evening. After she finished, the youth group leader cleared her throat and with a cold, ruthless voice, looked at her and said, “Next time pray for something that has a soul.”
After that it was almost ten years before I realized that my issue was never with church or God. It was with that specific congregation. Even after I realized this, it took the birth of my firstborn – and a very strong desire to have him baptized and raised as a Christian – before I actually went back to church.
Working My Way Back to God
The next church I attended was in Maryland. That was the church that made me feel safe to worship. The pastor had an amazing sense of humor. He’d frequently crash the Mom’s Bible study I attended, drink wine with us and answer any questions we had. He was kind, friendly, and approachable. The rest of the congregation was also all of those things. It’s because of the way they welcomed us that I will always think of that church as my home church.
I didn’t attend church every day. Or even every week. I did participate in Bible studies, and while I enjoyed them, at first they all felt alien to me. People in the group knew scripture, could recite verses off the top of their heads. I felt left out and totally lost. But also, I had a strong, burning desire to know what they knew. To be that person who could recite scripture.
What I want, desperately, is to take my Bible and when I’m reading a story – or hearing my kids tell me a story they learned from Sunday school – immediately recognize it. I want to be able to say, “Oh yeah! That’s the one where the snake tricked her into eating an apple and now as a result, all women suffer from monthly menstrual cramps and painful child birth.”
At the end of the study, we were all challenged to call of action. How were we going to share God, his scripture, and his love? I chose a blog. This blog.
I intended to start this blog last August but then August turned into September. And then my husband go hit by a dump truck. And then I got pneumonia and then pleurisy. And then I cut myself on one of my husband’s tools in the garage and needed stitches. And now we’re here. January.
The real truth is, I was afraid to write this blog series. I was afraid of being judged by others. Of being told I have no business writing a series like this. Of being accused of casting judgment on others. And the worst part is, no one I know would every accuse me of any of these things. I’m afraid of the reaction I’ll get from total strangers.
To get over that nonsense, I’ve developed some rules:
- I’m not judging anyone.
- I’m not trying to convert anyone.
- This series is about me and the adventures I have as I navigate my way through the Bible.
- This series is for anyone who wants to know the Bible and God but feels awkward in Bible studies or at church. You’re not alone. I’m right there with you.
- Also, this series is for anyone of any faith. Everyone is invited!
- The name of this entire website is Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm.
- I’m known for having an innappropriate sense of humor.
- I teach sailors how to cuss.
- I guarantee you I will apply my twisted sense of humor and colorful vocabulary to future blog posts within this series.
- I’m not making fun of the Bible or its lessons. I take this very seriously.
- This is my website. If anything I write offends you, don’t read it.
Now that we have that nasty business out of the way. Here’s what you can expect from future blogs in this series.
Last August I picked this book for a Bible study.
Five months later, I finally opened the book. It’s my goal to blog my way through every book in the Bible by January of next year. At least once a week, I’m going to write about the things I’m learning as I go along. And that’s pretty much it.
Next week, I’ll talk about the things I learned while reading the book of Genesis.
Thanks for shopping Snark, Sass, & Sarcasm! I’ll see you next time.
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