When I went to churches, I only wrote about my experiences there.
I should’ve gone one step further and asked to write their bulletins like Rat in Pearls Before Swine:
That’s where all the real power is…
I remember being force to go sit in church when I was a little kid and listen to boring sermons. 10am-12pm
I didn’t even listen, what kid would? I sat there with a notepad drawing pictures of medieval weapons and coming up with new designs. Yeah, it sounds like a fun way to spend two hours every week but trust me. The novelty wears off pretty fast.
I always dreaded Sundays.
The first time I remember going to church was in fourth grade with a friend (my parents being pretty nonreligious). It was, not boring, just shocking and almost unbelievable to me that people would listen to this stuff.
You had it easy. I was strapped to a pew and my head put in some kind of contraption where I was forced to look straight ahead at the podium with my eyelids pulled open while a smiling church greeter dispensed saline drops.
No wait, I’m thinking of a scene from A Clockwork Orange. My mistake.
At least Clockwork Orange had good music.
I know that i’m the exception here, but for what it’s worth I had great experiences throughout my childhood and teenage years at a great church. Some of my closest friends are ones whom I met there, and I looked forward to Sunday mornings because I felt welcomed and surrounded by people I liked. In my teenage years we went on great trips together, etc. Church was a place of refuge from occasional adolescent stress, and I found genuine comfort and peace in my faith. I believed in the message, but I never felt forced or coerced into anything. I learned to volunteer and help others, which I know one can do outside of a church but nobody that I knew ever did.
The church we attend now is similar – after the service it’s hard to get everyone to leave because everyone is hanging out, talking, drinking coffee, (One reason I could never be a Mormon :)) and the kids are off playing together.
But some churches aren’t so great.
What you may not know is that when Christians move to a new area, they “shop” for a church. Why? because like anything else in life, there are good versions and bad. We don’t just show up at the nearest church and automatically love it. We look for a great pastor, a great environment, and alignment on doctrine.
I didn’t even listen, what kid would? I sat there with a notepad drawing pictures of medieval weapons and coming up with new designs.
I did that too 🙂 We also snuck out of Church on beautiful spring days and walked down to a pond to hang out, but in the end it helped form a deeper attachment between church/faith/ and myself. (By the way, I didn’t necessarily listen in science class, either. But I have a deep interest in science that grew as I got older).
I didn’t see the inside of a church until I was 12 years old, and it was another year or two before I actually went to any kind of religious service. I can’t remember being bored, though. On the contrary, I found it all very fascinating, but of course I wasn’t obligated to go to same service more than once, let alone week after week or year after year.
What really strikes me about religious services is how extremely bizarre they seem to outsiders. The rituals, the prayers, etc. If you’re not raised in that sort of atmosphere, I have a hard time understanding how you could get used to it. No matter how many different kinds of services I’ve attended over the years (Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, etc.) I can’t shake that feeling of utter incredulity. It’s like I’ve dropped in from outer space, LOL.
We lived next door to the catholic church when I was growing up. I think I started as an alter boy when I was 8 yrs’ old.
The church and the priest Father Major was a safe haven from the insanity of my childhood. When my father was in a drunken rampage and even when he was not drunk, I always had a shelter I could go to. The priest was the guy who helped me get my kite out of a tree and who taught me to blow a whistle with grass and my fingers. I have nothing but great memories of being able to escape the terror my home.
None the less the sermons were boring and the teachings crap. But I do think one reason I am alive today is because of Father Major.
Imagine that eh!
At least Clockwork Orange had good music.
The sexual violence was about on par with the bible though.
I think the bible invented ultra-violence, even if they had to wait for Anthony Burgess to come up with the term.
My church experiences were sporadic, but overall also boring. I recall at first feeling confused and out-of-place because my mother re-discovered her faith later, so i never attended Sunday school as young child. I hadn’t read the chapters or even the cliff notes so i had little idea what the pastor was talking about. This lack of ‘proper’ indoctrination however likely made it easier for me to come to my atheist world view around age 14.
Saline Drops? Luxury. We used to be dragged out of bed at 3am, nailed to a pew, where we were flogged while repeating bible passages, as angry mice poured Tabasco in to our eyes. And when we were done, we’d get to dig graves if WE WERE LUCKY.
Right. We were forced to get up at 4:30 AM, a half an hour before we went to bed. Marched naked in freezing rain to the church carrying heavy crosses. Then accused, crucified, and buried (with no resurrection) while the pastor danced and sang halleluiah on our graves.
@Dole & Jeff
And if you try to tell atheist kids today, they don’t believe you.