Started reading this book last Thursday and just have not been able to put it down. Matthew Paul Turner ( http://www.matthewpaulturner.com) is a writer, blogger, thinker, follower of Christ. The book i simply his story of growing up in a fundamentalist church in the 80’s. As I read I just could not stop laughing. The book is an honest on open look at life in his church growing up. I have not connected with a book like this since Blue Like Jazz, and I fully recommend it for all of you out there trying to get over your churched upbringing.
I am so thankful that my parents were Christ followers but the with my church experience it was difficult to connect church and the teachings of Jesus. It was almost like we believed we could never be like Jesus because He was perfect so we need all these rules and this institution to keep us all on track. The amazing thing is that I became a follower of Jesus at a young age but even then I wondered why church had to be so boring and non- Jesus like. Jesus was amazing, the churches in our town really were not.
I think I connected with the book because it is my story. So many of the stories in the book were situations I lived out and experienced. The difference for me was that my Dad as the pastor. I was able to see God change my Dad’s view of FAITH as He changed me personally. By the time I was in college I began to see the possibility of church. I felt called to the movement of church not the institution. Now I serve at a church where we are striving to recreate church as a movement and not an institution. We are striving to create a place where we can remove distractions and allow people to gather, commit to community, and serve each other each week. We hope to create a space where people can be honest about their broken lives and the pastors do not have to pretend to be spiritual superheroes that have it all together. We are just a group of people trying to think, live, parent, work, and serve like Jesus Christ. So I thought today I would just make a list of some of the funny things I learned in my days of being a kid and teen in church. Yes these are funny but sad at the same time, this is what I had to GET OVER…
- Revelation movies about the rapture are VERY SCARY! I had many nightmares!
- You should always dress up for church because God expects that we give our best. We need to look, PROPER, at church. (in middle school my parents started to let us wear Air Jordans to church, I told my Sunday School teachers when they complained that my shoes cost more than their whole outfit!)
- Southern Gospel is God’s kind of music.
- Rock and Roll is devil music. (this one ticked me off then BAD, I remember hiding my tapes of ACDC and early rap music, NWA, go Easy E)
- Only sinners go see movies rated other than G.
- It is ok to call out from the “pulpit” people who smoke, gamble, drink alcohol,lie, steal, are homosexual, or have had any moral failure.
- If you are not a Christian then you are “stupid”.
- Christians are Republicans.
- When you are at camp you have to wear pants to the worship service at night because that is what God wants and the best way to be respectful and NO GIRLS can ever go swimming with a 2 piece bathing suit.
- Handing our tracks and carrying your Bible to school or work are the best way to tell people about Jesus. If they do not accept Christ, then oh well, they are going to Hell and they deserve it.
- You cannot be friends with people who are not Christians because they will WRECK your life and THEY ARE DANGEROUS.
- The goal for kids it to get them saved so they will not burn in Hell. After salvation we can make them good “church” people.
- You always have to go to church 3 times a week on Sunday morning, night and Wed night!
- Revivals that last 7 days are awesome. The longer it goes the better it is!
So there are some of the wild things I heard and picked up at church growing up. I am just glad my kids will have a different experience! What are some of your crazy “growing up at church” memories?