As a young child, I had an awareness of what most people refer to as God. God to me was a Presence, a comfort, and an every day companion. I don’t remember thinking about God. I wasn’t learning about God, in any way I could name as a toddler. God just was, in my world. There was constant communication, less verbal and more internal.
From first to eight grade we left public school early every Wednesday afternoon to attend catechism at the Catholic church. Now we learned about God from the Professionally Religious. Favorite topics of the priest and nuns: humans are born sinful; there are actually 3 versions of God – the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit; Jesus is perfect and we are not; obedience to God pleases Him and by extension we must obey the professionally religious and all adults; Jesus wants to be our best friend, and Jesus pleased God by dying. When we asked questions we received answers, but there was no joy or love communicated to us about the privilege of knowing God, no encouragement of our curiosity, no delight expressed in being in His presence. Prayers were not inspiring. Even as a little kid, I felt like I was asking for water in the desert and the only thing given was sandy dry facts and doctrine.
In eighth grade my best friends and I were caught smoking weed in the ice fishing shanty converted to the girls’ hangout. The mothers said we cannot be friends any more!!! HORROR!!!! A few months later Kim called to say we could hang out IF I went to Arrowhead Bible Camp for a week. YIPPEEEE!!! OF COURSE!!!! ABC was a Protestant version of the Professionally Religious. In circles we learned more about Jesus, and the eternal importance of SALVATION. This was new information to me. Knowing and experiencing God isn’t enough, I have to show my allegiance by ACCEPTING JESUS INTO MY HEART. I did, and I felt changed. This is the first conscious choice I made to deepen my relationship with God not based on behavior, but on relationship. Other choices I made on the path as I added years would NOT please the Professionally Religious. Stay tuned, part 2 tomorrow!