Church Kid.

Posted: February 8, 2018 in Uncategorized

I grew up in the buckle of the Bible Belt.
The eighties were a magical time to be a church kid in America (even though we weren’t actually allowed to use the word “magic”).
We watched Gospel Bill and Fire by Nite.
We read “This Present Darkness” and it helped us see the invisible.
We wore “witness Tees” that flagrantly ripped off “secular” t-shirts…Bud Wise Up…God’s gym.
We learned that, although it was fine to steal from “secular” things, we should NEVER actually enjoy “secular” stuff. We could ONLY listen to secular music if we were listening to it backwards to find the hidden messages.
So we listened to songs that told satan to bite the dust.
It was a crazy time.

I grew up going to a small charismatic church in Owasso, Oklahoma (Charismatic is like Pentecostal with better fashion choices).
The building always smelled like mildew.
That little church shaped me.
I wasn’t always happy to be there.
Many Sundays I was dragged by my Mom. I think she knew that church would shape me.
We had a youth group of six kids.
Church happened Sunday morning, Sunday night AND Wednesday night.
We never ever missed it.
Never.
Ever.
I wanted to serve, not for noble reasons, simply because serving is always more interesting than sitting.
There were two main places for an unskilled angsty teenager to serve…
As an overhead projector operator or in kid’s church.
I got to be the overhead projector guy.
It was an important job that carried incredible responsibilities.
The overhead projector projected (hence the name!) the words to worship songs onto a yellowed screen.
The song lyrics were all handwritten with sharpie on sheets of clear plastic. My job was to put the shiny song sheet onto the lighted glass. The big fear is that you would put the words on backwards. My constant temptation was making bunny ears and other shadow animals.
Speaking of worship…
In the seventies, some of our worship songs were pretty violent. For example, consider this blast from the past…
“I will sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously , the Horse and the Rider are thrown into the sea” (sometimes accompanied by hand motions and a loud “splash”).
That sounds like a happy tune, but it’s based on the Red Sea story in Exodus. It’s a song about thousands of people drowning…hallelujah.
We had a lot of military songs about marching and kicking the devil’s butt.
It was a confusing time.

I also helped in kid’s church. We did puppet shows and used flannel grams to tell stories. (Surprisingly, flannel grams didn’t involve flannel shirts, I always thought they should have!)
We served up Goldfish crackers and Dixie cups filled with warm tropical punch Kool-Aid. We sung songs like “Father Abraham”. That kid’s church was my true training ground.
That church shaped me.
In the midst of a lot of cultural clutter I discovered Christ.
It was because of a tiny band of true believers, precious people who accepted me, encouraged me, and laughed at my stupid jokes.
It was just a small church that smelled like mildew. They never reached the masses…
But they did reach me.
It was a comforting time.

I learned so much there at the Foursquare Church.
I learned that every person matters.
Every.
Single.
One.
There wasn’t a crowd to get lost in.
I learned that you can be completely imperfect and still get to experience and communicate a perfect love.
I learned that BIG things can happen in the smallest places.
I learned that God was good and I’m not alone.
I learned that Jesus loves me, this I know.
I learned that sometimes miracles smell like mildew.

 

 

 

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