Friday, May 30, 2003
Well, it's my turn (this is Part 1 - click for Part 2 - Part 3)
One of the yahoogroups I'm a part of is "faithstory" - where each person shares his/her story of life as we've come to experience it. It's a private group, allowing for closed participation, so I won't give the link. But I did want to post "my story" here as well as there. While I've shared some stuff here, it's been mostly the day-to-day journaling style of most bloggers. But, hey - my story is meaningful, too, and I'm looking forward to the exercise. Feel free to interact in the comments, ask questions, etc. Over on the email list, we'll be doing the same thing.
Where do I begin? In a surface kind of way, my life was pretty typical southern-baptist-youth-groupie until college. We moved alot as a family before finally settling down in the home my folks still live in. That was fifth grade, and I finally had a place to meet people I could grow up with. We got involved at Trinity Baptist Church, and when I finally got to go into the youth group (my brother is the youth pastor there now), I found friends and a good group/relationship mentality for me. I got saved in Jan '82 - at the Smoky Shadows Lodge in Pigeon Forge, TN, during the winter retreat. We were watching Corri Ten Boom's THE HIDING PLACE, and it struck me that while I was "good," I didn't have the kind of faith in anything that would stand up to such persecution.
I started high school in the fall of '82. Our district then split kids up funny from the middle schools, and because of zoning only about 5% of my middle school went to Airport High. But that was okay - I met new friends, and of course there were the folks from our youth group. It was great - where else would freshmen like me be welcome eating with seniors? They looked out for us, helped us grow, etc. First time I was able to see an aspect of mentoring and friendship played out. They'll never know how much that meant - Heidi, Mike and others. We started a lunchtime Bible study on campus that year, which was nuts. Most of the legislation allowing such things wasn't really out there yet. But we went ahead anyway, with fifteen kids the first week, then twenty-five, then thirty, then maybe forty. But when we were finally called to the principal's office, and he sat in on one of our meetings, the numbers dwindled back to ten or so kids and never wavered much. But that was okay in our minds: persecution has a way of weeding out pretenders, right?
We kept it going a while longer, but I don't have any memories of that meeting getting off the ground past maybe our sophomore year. Most of high school is a blur - I was in a good crowd, having fun, writing in a journal for the first time, learning to drive, etc. I tell folks that I was probably more moral than my folks - I got into very little trouble, and while they were fairly strict compared to other parents, they also gave me alot of leeway to hang with friends. I think it was because it was so centered around church, they trusted them and their parents, and they trusted me to an extent. I don't regret that at all, and I hope I was trustworthy and not just pulling the poll over their eyes.
Looking back, I got into a fairly solid path of religion. No drugs, no drinking, no sex, very little dating (started dating J my senior year of high school, until my soph. year at USC, and then met my future-wife my junior year of college). I wasn't as goody-two-shoes as all that - usual lust problems of teen masculinity and hormones gave me fits - but I was able to avoid most of the typical peer-related pitfalls I saw going on around me. I don't think I was naive, either, though I'm probably able to hold folks today in a higher regard since I don't know the specifics of what was going on. But the path I was on definitely led towards leadership (one girl I dated called me "bossy" - some nerv, huh?), and that played out in college and beyond.
More tomorrow morning.