I began attending church 9 months before I was born. My father was a Southern Baptist minister so I was raised on Fifth Sunday Sings, pear salads (half of a canned pear with a dollop of mayonnaise topped with a sprinkling of cheese, just in case you were wondering) and “It only takes a spark” sing-a-longs. For 17 years I faithfully attended Sunday School, youth summer camps and Vacation Bible Schools. When I was older, I often volunteered at these events.
And I didn’t know a daggum thing. Despite teachers and literature emphasizing the importance of Bible reading and memorization, I honestly can say I didn’t read my Bible voluntarily on my own on any day other than Sunday. I prayed when I faced an emergency, and the best I could say of God was He was a distant being who demanded obedience but offered only uncertainty in return.
I was raised in a Christian home and knew facts about God, had even walked the aisle and been baptized by my own father (twice!), but in every which way I was a baby in the faith. I loved God. I knew Jesus was God’s Son, that Jesus had died for my sins and had been raised on the third day. And I knew I wanted to spend eternity with God. But there was no depth to our relationship. I turned to God when I needed something but that was the extent of our communication. I’m sure He was speaking to me but I wouldn’t have been able to pick out His voice even if He was shouting in my ear in the midst of a silent forest.
Sadly, I remained a baby Christian for many years – right until I left my home for the first time and spent a summer overseas and was forced (literally) to study the Bible and learn about this God I said I loved… (This is part 1 of a 3 part series. Check back soon for the next post)