Saturday, May 16, 2009

They're Baptist, so I have to be too!

When the Old Man married my mother, I was maybe 5 years old. He adopted me, so technically (legally) he's my father, I guess. That's another post.

With him I inherited a large contingent of assorted conservative Southern Baptists in the form of a pair of step-grandparents (whom I dubbed "New Granny" and "New Grampa"), an uncle, his wife, and their litter of kids, all with "T" names (Terry, Tammy, Tracy, Tristi & Troy), all living on the same road.

I enjoyed going over there; Troy and I were about the same age, and we hit it off like little kids do.

But one thing I didn't like was Church Day. This was a day when the entire brood formed up and marched to the station wagon for several hours of preacher-talk. There was no discussion of me not going--such a thing was unthinkable, resistance was futile, I would be assimilated.

So I sat on the pew or knelt or stood, wondering how these people could take such things seriously. I was given a $5.00 bill for the collection plate. This was one of those little hellfire joints where the list of people going to hell went like this (from worst to least):

Non-Southern Baptists.
Non-SBC-Southern Baptists.
SBC's who went to the wrong SBC church (this one was the right one, see).
People sitting on the wrong side of the building.
People sitting on the wrong pew.
People not of the family.
People not in the car.

You know the type--everyone but our little group, but I was going to hell anyway because my parents were Episcopalians. They really didn't like it when I went into the Boy Scouts in 1980 or so.

I went to their Sunday School and sat there wondering where this "Israel" was, and why it was so important, and not believing a word of it: it was obviously made-up stuff.

If a 6-year old can figure that out...

Gramps died of a heart attack in the mid-'70s. Mrs. Gramps died of Alzheimer's in 1999. Uncle and Aunt divorced in the late '80s (I thought that was a sin?). The Five Tees are well on their way to repopulating the county themselves and ignore me when I go to family reunions. I wonder how many of them still go to that church....


  1. That's a wierd thing, isn't it, when you realize the adults all believe these fairy tales are true?

    I was about 5 myself when I worked it out. Up 'til then, I thought church was a sort of day care, somewhere Mom took us to give Dad time alone. We'd listen to some stuff that wasn't as interesting as the bedtime stories my dad made up, and they had these dry crackers, and every now and then there was real wine which I thought was grape juice that had gone sour, but if you sat through it all, there was a great playground that we got to spend 20 or 30 minutes in.

    When I realized the adults were taking this all seriously, I was confused for a little while, then shrugged it off, figuring it'd either make sense at some point or it wouldn't (I was half philosohper, half fatalist in those days).

    I often have trouble accepting people really believe some of the stupid things they say they do, which seems to be the only downside to never having been religious. -- LR

  2. I vaguely remember an argument with some of the cousins after church one day; I considered it a waste of time, they were adamant that I was going to burn.

    I bet they still believe that. Their father seems to be the most level-headed of all of that little cluster of people. I think he was going to church mostly because of his mother.