thread: 2005-08-05 : Going Home

On 2005-08-05, Matt Snyder wrote:

Sure thing, Vincent. That wasn't me last year. And, I'm fine with talking about it.

Here's the deal, though. I just typed three fucking pages of material explaining my background. I surprised myself at how complicated it was, because I thought it utterly simple, normal, Midwestern boredom. I just changed my own mind about that.

I can't even finish the thing, because it keeps growing. So, here's what I want to do. I'm gonna give you the shortened version, and then we must pow-wow with Clinton at the con, yes? I want to do that.

I'm a member of the First United Methodist Church, but I have not attended service in over 10 years (I'm 30, by the way). I have been at the church for a handful of ceremonies (funerals and weddings), Christmas or Easter service. Probably all told about 5-6 times since 1995 or so at my old church.

I had attended damn near every Sunday from age 3-4 to age 17. Then, when I sensed Mom would not enforce her attendance policy on me anymore, I stopped.

When I went to college, I took several religion courses (state university, almost purely academic, secular courses with a lively Jewish rabbi teacher). I have a reasonable grasp of the Bible (certainly better than my wife, who's mainly casual Catholic upbringing sometimes amazes me in its contrast). I have spent a considerable amount of time pondering—almost always alone—serious religious and spiritual questions. That lead me, somewhat reluctantly at first, to a pretty unshakable atheism. I do not find myself longing for the church, feeling empty, or hoping I'm wrong. I am, frankly, quite comfortable about it all. Indeed, hopeful, if that can be said. (It can. I just said it.)

Here's the "fun" curve ball. My relatives on my dad's side are Seventh Day Adventist. My relation with them has been confusing and strange (never hostile or nasty, however). It greatly shaped my view of religion, and it has everything to do with gaming. My cousin introduced my brother (and hence, me) to D&D in the late 70s, but his parents halted his hobby for religious reasons.

Now, my immediate family is a mixed bag, typical of Midwesterners. My sister became Catholic when she married, and is an active laymember. My older brother and his wife attend Lutheran church, apparently more "for the kids" than anything else. Mom, who dragged us to church every Sunday doesn't go anymore, but remains religious. I think she does not like how impersonal the church has become, especially with a disastrously uncharismatic pastor now in place.

But, my other sister is a really devoted Methodist. And, my brother in law is currently in Methodist seminary. In fact, they just moved away from the whole family so they can be together while he attends seminary. Now THAT makes for a strange issue lately. They have never pressed the church upon me, but they probably know how little I want to do with it.

I have much more to say, of course. I'll say more here if able and if people have questions. But, I hope we can talk at the con, too.


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