Lest ye think I have always been a heathen, I thought I would fill you in on my spiritual background.
I was raised in a church-going family. We were members of the Evangelical United Brethren (E.U.B.) church in Coffeyville, Ks. Mostly what I remember is having to dress in uncomfortable clothes and sit in uncomfortable seats for what seemed an eternity. The fact that they talked a lot about eternity and just how long that was didn't really help much.
The only pleasant memories I have are getting to see my aunt, uncle and cousins; the fact that the church was right across the street from the Bunny Bread bakery (the aroma was heavenly), and making cool shit during Vacation Bible School.
We moved from Coffeyville, Ks. to Mulvane, Ks. when I was about 7. I remember that Mulvane was so small we had to drive to Derby, Ks to go to church. Don't remember which church it was.
When I was 8 we moved to Excelsior Springs, MO. The only church I remember attending there was the Methodist church which, interestingly, merged with the E.U.B. to become the United Methodist Church in 1968.
We went every Sunday. My mom sang in the choir. I remember going with her to choir practice on Wednesdays and playing in the basement with the other choir brats while they practiced upstairs. The leader of the choir was also my music teacher at school.
I remember going through catechism classes and having to memorize a bunch of stuff before getting baptized and becoming a member of the church. At least I think that's what it was all about. At one point I was offered a chance to be an acolyte. I turned that shit down over and over again until they finally got the message. I had NO desire to put on robes and light any fucking candles. Just showing up, sitting still and keeping my mouth shut took everything I had to give...I didn't have anything left over for the "show binnis" part.
I don't remember ever getting anything positive or comforting out of church or feeling comfortable there. It was never anything more than a pain in the ass obligation that I had to do because my parents said so. The clothes were uncomfortable, the seats were uncomfortable, the music sucked and I felt like every single adult there was watching me, evaluating me, judging me and trying to find some flaw.
Then one Sunday, I was sick. Too sick to go to church. I was old enough that I was allowed to stay home alone while everyone else went.
HELL YEAH!! I remember that Sunday morning well! Had the whole fucking house to myself! Mom, Dad, little sister and both little brothers GONE! I was probably 12 and it was the first peace and quiet I had experienced in my entire life! Read the newspaper (I was quite precocious), watched Meet The Press, had a little breakfast (I started feeling better very quickly). And God never did strike me dead for lying about being sick or missing church. Talk about a Holy Experience.
That was the beginning of my slide to Hell. Learning that I could wear comfortable clothes, sit in a comfortable chair, enjoy some peace and quiet while catching up on the world around me instead of posing for the neighbors and pretending to be something I wasn't.