One day, when I was 16, I found myself in English class discussing the book 1984 with two friends of mine, Dave and Dawn. I’d known Dave since I was 12, and we had been good friends for some time. Dawn, I had just met in this particular English class. We got along really well, and we ended up smoking pot at lunch on a pretty regular basis.
The discussion boiled down to the issue of God. I said that someone would have to be an idiot to actually believe in God. Dave seemed to agree. Dawn protested vehemently, which surprised me! I think that at the time I thought that anyone who was cool must, by default, be an atheist.
“Shut up! I believe in God!” She said.
“Okay, sure thing! That’s completely normal!” I chuckled. I thought she must be joking.
But she wasn’t. “No, I’m serious!” I was mildly aghast. “How…is that possible, though?” I inquired. “Dude, you can come to church with me and my foster family,” she offered, “we go every Sunday, and we can totally just come pick you up. My foster mom does that kind of stuff all the time.”
I was intrigued, and I never did anything on Sundays anyway, so I told her where I lived.
Their church was very different from anything I’d ever experienced before. As a child, I’d attended a Catholic church, and there had been a lot of very formulaic standing up and sitting down, along with a hefty dose of somewhat monotonous liturgical recitation. Dawn’s church, on the other hand, was composed of a small, non-denominational group, and they had electric guitars, and people would lay down on the floor and speak in tongues. I thought it was nuts.
One time they had a guest speaker who just waved her arms and shrieked in tongues and everybody fell down like dominoes. I mean it was completely insane. I was the kind of kid who would try anything once, though, so one time, after the service, I went up to the front and asked the pastors to lead me in a prayer for salvation, like I’d heard them offer to do so many times at the close of each Sunday morning gathering. I’m not going to get into what that all entails here and now. If you’re curious, then you can Google it, I guess. Just understand that Google is…Google.
After that, I began considering myself a Christian. I know that different people have different ideas about what it means to actually be a Christian, but I’ve never really been one to give too much credence to what other people think about anything, so that’s really neither here nor there. To me, it simply meant that I believed that Jesus was telling the truth, and that somehow, through ways and means that I totally didn’t understand, God had reached out to me and extended the offer of his assistance navigating the treacherous waters of this broken, twisted world, and that I had chosen to take him up on it.
I guess that’s enough for Article I. I am trying to put together a systematic explanation for how I ended up being capable of being convinced that a narcissistic heavy metal drummer-turned-fundamentalist-preacher was the ultimate embodiment of God’s voice to the United States of America, so bear that in mind. I was not a mentally healthy person by any stretch of the imagination.