Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," strenuously promoting the big, broad, flexible outlook when it comes to choosing a religion! I'm your host, Anne Johnson, the gal blessed with a unique name.
Yesterday I began to recount my experiences at the Assembly of God where I grew up. (Why? Because Sarah Palin belongs to that denomination, and I think you oughta know about it.)
Today we'll continue the sermon.
I guess I was between second and third grade the summer I attended Bible School at the Assembly of God. I went to the B.S. because my best friend's family was a member of the church, and she wanted me to go.
When Bible School ended, I thought I'd seen the last of the Freak Out for Jesus crowd. I was wrong.
One afternoon a knock came upon my family's door. I opened the door, and much to my surprise, there stood the two Bible School teachers from the Assembly of God, wearing their benign church lady faces and toting well-thumbed Bibles.
My mom was in the depressive phase of her bipolar disorder at that time, so she was lying on the couch, more or less detached from the here and now. But she sort of perked up when I introduced her to the Bible School ladies. And of course they showered Mom with kindness and solicitude. (Probably tried to smell Mom's breath for telltale signs of alcohol, which there weren't. Shock treatments yes, booze no.)
The reason for this visit from the nice ladies at the Assembly of God was that they wanted to follow up with me and be sure I was on the right track with my salvation.
Mom told the ladies that we went to the Methodist church.
The ladies hemmed and hawed. Methodism was fine, just fine, but ... well ... in these times (the mid-1960s) ... could a Methodist church provide the solid rock foundation of a Bible-centered congregation like the Assembly of God?
Cutting to the chase, the ladies said they would like to see me join the Assembly of God. They had already spoken to my best friend's family about bringing me every Sunday.
The ladies asked my mom to pray with them about it.
I watched in fascination as these two Assembly of God ladies bent over my mother and launched into a fervent prayer. Mom attended church every Sunday of her life, but only for the social outlet. And when she was in a manic episode, she would flirt with the men. Prayer was not part of her repertoire, no matter what phase of bipolar she happened to be in at the time.
But this prayer worked. Without asking my view on the matter, Mom said the Assembly of God would indeed be a more substantive immersion into Christian morality than our mamby-pamby Methodist church, at a time when there were so many bad influences cropping up everywhere.
The deal was sealed with another prayer.
The ladies hugged me, and off they went. Mom fell back into her daze. And I was just a kid. I figured one church was about like another, from Sunday to Sunday.
I was wrong.