I’ve been thinking about putting my story to paper for a while now…even before I left the faith. It’s not that I’m presumptuous and assume anyone wants to hear it. However, the question does come up a lot. In fact, sometimes it’s the first question I get from folks. The problem is…well…I’ve gotten lazy when it comes to writing. I used to enjoy it, but now I’d rather read or rant on Twitter. But I suppose it’s good for me to clarify my thoughts by writing them down, so let’s do this!
First off, I think I’ll post the “TL;DR” version. I know this is normally done at the end, but I have no idea when I’ll finish this. So if you’re only interested in the 30,000-foot view, this is for you.
I was born Catholic, but became Church of Christ when my parents moved to North Louisiana. After they divorced, I attended a wide range of churches, including Southern Baptist, Methodist, and Non-denominational. I joined the United Pentecostal Church at around 17 years old and stayed there for about 16 years. It was there I became a preacher. I left and went back to another non-denominational church before joining the reformed Baptist church (I know, right?). After about 3 1/2 years, I left and entertained a Deistic worldview for a short time before leaving the faith altogether and becoming an agnostic atheist (or atheist, if you’re not a fan of the combo labels). So there you have it. Now to fill in the blanks.
I don’t recall much about my Catholic upbringing. In fact, I don’t remember much of that era at all. I do remember having an intense fear of and hatred for my nun teachers. Then again, I think that’s a pretty standard feeling for nuns. I remember when we moved to North Louisiana and began attending a Church of Christ. The people were very friendly. It was there I was taught the classic Sunday school songs like “Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho….” I remember playing with the puppets, but I don’t recall ever actually seeing a puppet show. Interesting.
After my parents divorced, my mom took us to a large Baptist church in town. It was there I was first “saved.” I remember the preacher’s name, but have never been able to find anything on him. His name sounded like “Ondee Braum.” He was a product of rape, and had a severe physical handicap. He preached, I was moved, and then I left the auditorium with a bunch of other folks for a room across the hall. I don’t recall what happened there, but I assume we prayed and wrote down our names, etc. Typical conversion stuff in the Southern Baptist church. I told my mom when she picked me up that night about the experience. I recall she didn’t react as I thought she should. I was expecting an ecstatic response. I’m sure she had a lot of adult stuff on her mind at the moment.
I had a lot of friends (well, for an introvert, anyway) in that church. I had some good times there, too. I don’t recall exactly when I left and why, but I did. I know we attended a Methodist church for a short period because my stepdad was a Methodist preacher. Not long after that, I branched out on my own (or with my older brother, rather) and began attending a non-denominational church. It was there I really developed a personal passion for God. It was there I first spoke in tongues. It was there I learned church music didn’t have to suck.
This seems like a good stopping point. Next time, I’ll talk about my stint in the non-denominational church and my conversion into the United Pentecostal Church.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed it.