Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Okay, I'm Methodist

Eternal HELLFIRE!!

I was baptised, confirmed and raised Methodist.  I went to church and bible camp, and youth group.  Because I had to.  It was required by my parents that we be rudely awakened at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning to go to youth group at church.  8AM service.  As a teenager, it was nearly impossible to actually be awake at 8AM, let alone be an active participant in anything.  One particular Sunday, I recall a conversation that occurred in youth group about forgiveness.

First of all, being Methodist was easy peazey lemon squeezy.  Lent? Yeah, you should probably give up something.  There’s no kneeling during service, so you can sleep sitting up during the entire droning service.  Shoot, sometimes we didn’t even SING.  And, best of all, we will be forgiven and absolved of ALL sins at the gates of heaven by Almighty God.

We were speaking about forgiveness in youth group.  Todd and I were snapping each other on the arms with rubber bands.  Mike looked completely stoned from a hard night.  Ann Marie was playing with her hair.  We half listened to our youth pastor as he explained to us that God would forgive us of all our sins, and we must try our best to live by the word of the good book.  Of course I had questions....

“So if I poke my sister in the eye, I’ll be forgiven?”

“No, you shouldn’t poke your sister in the eye, that’s just bad!”

“But if I do, I’ll be forgiven, right?”

“I don’t think you understand how this works...”

“Pastor, you JUST SAID I will be forgiven of ALL my sins by God upon entering the gates of Heaven.  Is God gonna get all picky about which things I’ve done?”

“No, I don’t think so. But when you stand in judgement before God...”

“So he’s gonna get all judgemental on me?!?  What about ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged.’  Kinda hypocritical, isn’t it?”

“Son, only God can pass judgement on any of his children.  He will judge you more harshly if you do bad things.”

“But I’m STILL gonna be forgiven, so I’m feeling pretty good about my choices right about now.”

I wink across the room at Ann Marie- she smiles that little crooked grin right back at me.  Todd is cringing while poking me in the ribs because he thinks Pastor is gonna hit me with a candlestick at this point.  Which, according to him, he’ll be forgiven for.

(heavy sigh) “Son, I don’t know where you came up with this idea, but you’re just flat wrong.”

“Yeah, but I’ll be having fun.  Which apparently isn’t wrong, because I’ll be forgiven for it.”

Ann Marie laughs out loud, followed by a little snort.  She’s been holding it in too long.  Todd leans backward on the rear legs of his chair and falls right on his ass.  Now everyone is laughing.  I stand up and give Todd a hand up.  “Todd, I forgive you for disrupting youth group.”

The Pastor sighs, storms out of the room and right out the side hallway door and lights up a cigarette.

Later that spring I got to second base with Ann Marie at a youth group sleep over.  Ann Marie?  she was the pastor’s daughter.

I’ll see you all soon. In the mean time, I’ll be surfing a wave of fire, listening to the Rolling Stones.  I also have a seat saved at my table for you.  In Hell.


  1. HA! tell us what's REALLY on your mind! i was raised Methodist for a long time, too, and that's all the stuff i wondered but never EVER would have asked. (I waited a good 15 more years I think.)

    and, not that you're interested, but... you're probably forgiven for that post ; )

  2. I used to hide out in the restroom at Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran with my BFF Bonita until Sunday school started. We would then sneak out the back door of the church and walk the neighborhood, smoking cigarettes until time for my folks to arrive for church. See you (on Earth) tomorrow, ET.