Before delving too deeply into the subject at hand, it might serve to provide a bit of background and information about myself. First, I am a practicing Christian of the Baptist variety. However, I have been known to darken the door of quite a few churches that did not have the word Baptist in the sign out front. I find being Christian should be enough but given the history of Protestants, we do like to differentiate ourselves from those others who worship the same God, same Lord, and Saviour Jesus Christ and follow the same Bible. However, I digress.
As a child, my introduction to death was through the myriad of funerals that my grandmother dragged me and my brother to throughout childhood. Not to mention, the many family funerals that occurred here and there as happens in one’s youth. This early exposure to the rituals of bidding farewell to loved ones had a peculiar effect on me in that it stirred thoughts not usually occurring in someone as young as 7 years old. What was life really all about? Did I really believe I or the ones who actually knew the deceased would see this person again? Do we get to see our funeral after we die? Is God really, really real? Also, I came to the realization that these people who I am seeing laid out in a coffin never knew me not to mention the family as they were mourning. This was the first and as far as I was concerned, the last time I would see them. What a shame to not to have at least met them once while they were alive and vertical. People do look smaller in a coffin it seems.
In High School, I did surrender to preach and did, in fact, preach in my home church (one of the Fundamental Baptist persuasion). These sermons were quickly conceived and really were quite dreadful. I mean they were terrible and did not result in mass conversions or persuasion of any sort. It was good practice though for speaking in front of a collection of people who were polite enough to not walk out during these boring discourses. I must make amends to these folks for boring them and wasting a perfectly good Wednesday night service for I was not to be trusted for a Sunday service lest the uninitiated be exposed to my ill attempts attending the flock as it were.
After high school, I made my way to Bible College and there I embarked on a 3-semester journey avoiding and just generally making a nuisance of myself. I decided now was the time to rebel and rebel I did in grand fashion. The grades were okay I guess but it was life in the dorms with 3 of the most interesting characters you would imagine. One was from Fort Worth, Texas and he was the one I most admired. He suffered through my questions and ill attempts at being reasonably social but he did graduate and go on to work in a church in the Northwest, Washington state I believe to what I imagine was a magnificent ministry. The other 2 were well, not exactly of the same mindset. You see, when I went to this illustrious institution I imagined everyone was there for a singular purpose and driven to serve. What I didn’t realize was that most were definitely not virgins or of the persuasion to be in church every time the doors were open. In fact, many times it seemed like an extension of high school with all of the usual perversions, one-upmanship, and competition for the attention of the women as before. There was a core of men who were as determined as I hoped I was but they were far too intense for my liking. One proclaimed loudly on a brisk Friday afternoon, “We are going street preaching and will be arrested!”. As though this was the pentacle of achievement in our chosen field. I embrace the concept of preaching but being arrested did not appeal to me at all.
As I entered the third semester of my tenure, I started having random thoughts of future pursuits and came upon the idea that I should be in the mental health field for some reason. I believe now I was being led astray and do regret not finishing my degree there if for no other reason to avoid the all too often question from my family of when are you going to graduate? This motivation alone should have given me pause to leave. However, I meandered in a Southern Baptist University until I finally graduated with a bachelors degree in Computer Science. I did find my way through many other majors before settling in on computers.
Ever since I have been in and out and back in church. I do enjoy church now and attend most every Sunday, mostly alone. My wife in her previous life had been a preachers wife and feels she has heard it all. Perhaps she has but I still feel I have more to learn now than ever.