II. A Faith Untried

When I was twelve years old, I took a sudden interest in religion. The exact origins of this interest are not entirely known to me, but it seems to have stemmed somewhat from the death of my grandmother the previous summer.

As I mentioned in the first part, religion was definitely not a part of my life growing up. The only times my family had set foot in a church were to go to funerals and weddings. The only other time was when I was earning my God and Me badge in the Cub Scouts. Since we didn’t have a church, we briefly went to meet with a local Lutheran pastor. I do not really remember much about that experience, but I can only wonder now what kind of conversations between my parents lead up to the selection of that particular church. I can’t imagine that they were pleasant.

You see, both my parents grew up in Minneapolis in somewhat religious families. My father was raised Lutheran and went to several private schools throughout his education, ranging from Baptist to Lutheran to Catholic. My mother was raised in a staunchly Baptist household with very strong anabaptist roots. They were married in my mother’s church, but by the time I came along, church was not a regular part of their lives.

So, growing up I had no encounter with religion except for earning my Cub Scout badge and the occasional worship service at camp. But when I was twelve I caught a whiff of the Holy Spirit. I became very interested in God. My parents bought me a new NIV translation to replace the dusty old King James Version that I had. This new Bible was awesome as it was geared towards teens and had daily devotionals for each day of the year. I read it a lot, but it went in one ear and out the other. We still didn’t go to church, and the Bible isn’t self-interpretive, so I didn’t understand much, if any, of it. But I was excited about it, and I wanted, at that time, to become a pastor, and talked about it a lot. And if I could objectively change something about the past, I wish my parents would have taken that desire and nourished it by taking the family to church. However, God brought good from this lack of action, because I was left on a path that would more easily bring me home to the Catholic Church.

Throughout the remainder of my teen years, my interest in God would wax and wane, waning more and more as I entered and completed high school. The last main bump in interest was towards the end of my junior year and beginning of senior year. I saved up some money and bought a newer, better Bible that seemed more relevant to me as a mature young man (hahahahahahaha). I suppose that at that time I was 18 and had a car and I could have taken control of my own destiny and gone to church on my own each week, but I did not, and this last surge of interest waned rather quickly as I focused on finishing high school, applying for college, and moving on with my life.