Sunday, January 21, 2001

We got a solid 3.5 inches of snow last night. Pretty, isn’t it?

[The view from a window]

We decided to stay home this morning, instead of attending The Falls Church. Which, honestly, has me sort of annoyed. Three inches is a fair amount of snow for this area — and we’re on a gravel road with deep ditches on either side, so we can’t take snow too lightly — but I think we could have made it in. Heck, our Pathfinder has four-wheel drive.

Part of my frustration lies in the Christian Classics class that I’m taking. We’re reading the writings of all sorts of amazing people: A.W. Tozer, Martin Luther, St. Augustine, J.B. Philips, and many others. It’s been fascinating to see how these people approach faith.

This week, the class was reading a very difficult passage written by Phoebe Palmer, a 19th-century activist. I and my family had read it to each other last week, and were pretty thoroughly confused. It sounded like she was saying that she wanted to feel like she was a Christian, like God had to give her some emotional sign that she was going to heaven.

(And I was frustrated then, because I was having a difficult time with her relatively archaic prose, and before college I read a whole lot of classical literature and would have been able to read this Palmer writing in a snap if I’d only kept up with my reading.)

But I re-read the passage last night, and everything fell into place; I was pretty sure I’d figured out what she really meant. And now…I won’t get an opportunity to discuss it in class and find out if I was right, and I won’t know what everyone else thought.

But then, when my parents suggested that we stay home, I was secretly relieved. I didn’t really want to go to the trouble of going to church. Why? Is it because I’ve gone to so many churches that didn’t feed me, and I’ve been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to not want to go to church?

Now that I’m writing about it, I think that a lot of it has to do with my parents. My Mom hasn’t been gung-ho about church attendance for many years, and my Dad was really burned by several churches starting, oh, seven years ago. So I’ve spent quite a few years listening to them talk about how they’re “really not looking forward to church this week.”

And I don’t mind that aspect of their personalities; I totally understand. That’s just how my Mom approaches things, and I completely appreciate my Dad’s attitude about it; if I’d been treated similarly, I would have said the same things. It’s just that that’s been a part of my environment for so long, and though I don’t really agree with it, it’s become part of me whether I like it or not.

Which, now that I think about it, is a frightening statement. That something as simple as watching two other people react to an aspect of your life can so completely affect your own opinion.

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