So I'm not sure if I am supposed to discuss my history of faith or lack of faith, or just describe what I remember about church as a child... but here goes...
My earliest memory of church was somewhere in Perth. Mum, Dad, Ferne and I were in a huge congregation in a light filled room, it wasn't dark like most churches I've been to. The room was brigth and inviting, and I remember having a red plastic cup full of sultanas to keep me happy. I must have only be 4 at the time, perhaps younger. I dont remember much except for that red cup and the bright room, but I also remember Mum & Dad walking up to the front for communion to consume the 'body and blood of christ' and I remember the priest coming around and saying to each adult "may the body and blood of christ keep you in eternal life" however I misunderstood. I remember asking mum "why does he want you to have a turtle life?" to which Mum stifled a giggle and tried to explain (unsuccessfully) to me later what he meant.
My next memories of church are when I lived in Kendenup. The Kendenup church was much smaller, it was a tiny little chapel of a thing but the people were lovely. Members would drive from Mt Barker for the services just so that there were enough people to keep the church going. Most of the members were quite old, and for the most part, Ferne and I were the only children that attended. Mostly we were given colouring in sheets that illustrated passages of the bible and sometimes we were asked to give out flowers on rare occasions. I remember 'peace be with you' time when we'd all shake hands, and when we'd go up for the communion and Dad would eat and drink and Ferne and I would be blessed by the priest.
Ferne and I stopped going to church when we were old enough to decide if we wanted to go or not. I still went a couple of times, but at 13, still being given colour-ins seemed borderline unbearable. The people were lovely though and I'll never forget them. I still go to church with Dad on Christmas Eve each year, although last year I missed. I will continue to go to church on Christmas Eve each year I think, it's a tradition I've come to love.
In high school I occasionally attended youth group, which was a great way to learn about God, Jesus and the bible. People there were much more enthusiastic and it seemed less boring - I know it seems rude to say that but I'm trying to keep honest. Had I been able to attend this church I think I'd still be attending today. But who knows.
I went to an easter camp that really opened my eyes. To both the great and the not-so-great sides of faith and religion. It's extremely calming to know (or to think) that there is someone greater than yourself that is always listening and knows you better than you know yourself. However there were incidents that showed a somewhat flawed approach to religion - I should probably mention that the faith I am discussing is chirstianity.. both anglican and baptist sort of mashed in together a bit.
I have always grown believing in a God. Yet I've always grown believing he is a loving God, not the God most claim to be vengeful. The thought of people I love being banished to hell forever because they were not believers both upsets and unnerves me. I flat out don't believe in it, and I guess that's the inception of my conflict with the idea of faith.
This is always an interesting topic, feel free to comment and discuss... religion is always intriguing and controversial.
Do all things beautifully, JP xx