April 14, 2016
History in brief of my Christian affiliations. 345 words
Age five, I fashioned a shrine in my room complete with altar and place to kneel. I had modeled a picture from our encyclopedia of a child kneeling in prayer. I used the shrine only once. In constructing it, complete with Bible story characters, I had used toy soldiers. I next employed them in an attack against my brother’s toy knights. I didn’t own a Bible until my grandma gave me an old one, so for my shrine I just used a suitable book and drew a cross on the wall with chalk. I got in trouble.
I had mixed feelings about a Bible grandma gave me. It had no maps of Montana in the back, but it had a photograph of a dead person from a real Egyptian mummy and another of the Rosetta stone. Of course, I showed my friends.
Mother sent me to Sunday school. We boys wore white shirts, so we colored each other with crayons. I was starting to get the drift of our Protestant traditions when, for some reason or other, we moved from Missoula to Dillon.
In high school in Dillon, a good way toward intimacy with girls was through attending MYF (Methodist Youth Fellowship). “Toward intimacy” was as close as I got.
In Missoula for college in 1967, the University Congregational Church had fixed up a sort of “downstairs coffee house,” which also promised a path toward intimacy with girls. I did not succeed with girls then, but we students were glad to get out of the cold weather. The Congregational Church did not lay a heavy religious trip on us.
Then came years of military service and marriage. A church wedding.
Thus, marriage and religion were closely related for us. Our new family was on a budget and church was almost free. After attending a variety of churches, we found that the Congregational Church didn’t require us to blindly follow a doctrine, so we joined them. That was about 40 years ago.