I have no idea what that is!
But I know it is coming.
I don't want to share with you my political affiliation. I'm guessing you'll figure it out. But I want this space to be one where we can agree to disagree, and treat each other with respect. So I welcome your comments and questions, and I'll try to get back to you. Not, however, if I perceive that you are attacking me, calling me names, or disrespecting my badass womanhood.
I guess we should talk about the Faith of Our Fathers part of my title.
My mother was raised as a Presbyterian. My Dad's mother was a Christian Scientist, and his father was raised Episcopalian, but swore that once he reached adulthood he would never darken the door of a church again. He was true to his word, except for weddings and funerals.
When he was dying, the chaplain asked my Dad if he was "right with his maker." He said he was - that when he decided Mom was the woman he wanted to spend his life with, he knew that faith and church would be part of his life, too. So my sisters and I were raised as Presbyterians when we were small.
When I was in high school we moved to Pittsburgh. In a precursor to my badass womanhood, I refused to join the Presbyterian church they were attending on the day the rest of my family did. My father said he was sad, but also proud that I had the courage of my convictions. More on that church, later.
After I left for college there was a Mother's Day sermon about how women needed to stay attractive to their husbands and not gain too much weight - something my mother struggled with her entire life. I think my sister even refused to shake the pastor's hand, and they were Methodist from that day forward.
In college and while I was in the Air Force I attended church very sporadically. The first Christmas that I spent away from home I knew I would cry through the Christmas Eve service, so I spent the evening with Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and a bottle of Jack Daniels. (I did make it to work the next morning and learned that once that part is over, it is OK to be away from home).
After I left the Air Force and started work at the ICU in a large Washington DC hospital, I lived in Virginia. My sister occasionally attended a United Methodist Church that was in walking distance of my apartment, so when I went, I went there.
I began to feel like I was relying on my sister for a social life (she is 4 years younger than I am, and very different). I felt like I needed to make some of my own friends, so I started attending church more regularly. There was a singles group there, and we went to brunch on the first Sunday of each month. One time there was this cute guy there - too young and he was enlisted, and I was fresh out of the Air Force and from a somewhat snobby family of professionals. But he was cute. We got acquainted and I began to really like him.
One Sunday the singles group went kite flying at the Washington Monument - a treasured spring activity in the Washington DC area. My new friends and I were there - including this cute guy, on whom I had developed a crush a couple of weeks earlier when we went on a skiing trip. When we returned to the church, there was a Lenten Bible study, and then a singles board meeting. I hadn't planned on attending either, but staying for both gave me an opportunity to surreptitiously spend more time with this cute guy.
Well one thing led to another. We had our first date. His Dad was a Methodist pastor in Pennsylvania. It was 3:00 in the morning and I had long since decided I wasn't going to church that Sunday. But as he left he said he'd see me at church - You're GOING? Of course! So I went, too, and have been in church nearly every Sunday since.
In my efforts to surreptitiously spend more time with this cute guy, whose name is Jay, I also managed to get myself nominated to be the president of the singles board.
We got married in that church with all the singles group in attendance. We moved a little farther away from the city and after Julia was born decided to attend church closer to home. We led "children's church" often - the babysitting service for people who don't want to sit with their kids during worship. We served on various committees. JAY was asked to be a Lay Leader in that church - the Lay Leaders in the Methodist church are sort of the non-ordained leaders of the church.
He didn't take that gig, because there was a small country church that our across-the-street neighbors attended. Their service was a little earlier on Sunday, so if we had something to do on Sunday afternoon sometimes we went there. That was the case one Sunday, and this little church was starting a Sunday School program and would really love it if we would participate. We came again the next week, and there were these two little boys in the Sunday School with Jeff and Julia. In the car on the way home we heard laughing and giggling like we rarely heard, and then the $10,000,000 question, "Can we go there again next Sunday?"
That little church became the biggest influence on my faith, and the faith of Jeff and Julia. Those two little boys, Jay and Dan, are still best friends with Jeff. Their Mom, Janet, became our pastor, and we became close friends with her and her husband.
I volunteered to be on the worship committee, and one time she asked me if I'd like to do the children's message - the one where the kids come up front and the pastor talks directly to them. I agreed with a great deal of trepidation, but guess what? Badass woman that I am, I discovered a gift for doing children's messages! I'm sure I'll share some of my favorites as we go along. I learned that I could take a passage of scripture, or a story, or something that happened, and tie it to God in a way that surprised even me. Janet and I rarely collaborated on her message and mine, but the Holy Spirit was at work and it amazed both of us how often they exactly meshed.
Someone asked me to be the church council chair, which I did for 3 years. Janet moved on to another church and the new pastor, Kim, asked if I would be the Lay Leader. I agreed. I signed up to take a Lay Speaking class, and suddenly found myself in the pulpit on occasion - and more surprisingly found that I love speaking from the pulpit!
Before we moved away, I gave one last sermon about the lessons that I had learned at that church. They were wonderful about allowing me to explore and experience, to doubt and ask questions, as well as to teach.
And I think my next blog entry will be about that last sermon, and the Wiccan prayer circle that inspired. it.
For now, enjoy a picture of my family. Jeff is next to his wife Vianne, then me, then Jay, then Julia. We've added one - Parker was born in April!
Stay healthy and well, and be badass!