Like I saying about religion…was I? In hindsight I realize that in many ways religion was the focal point of my pre-adult years. Not in any spiritual sense but strictly in terms of my social life. Sunday morning and evening worships services, plus youth meetings. Monthly covered dish lunches. Wednesday service. Rummage sales, ongoing work details to repair what ever needed fixing, painting, etc. My Boy Scout troop also met there.
I think a lot of good was absorbed which helped with my character development but I still turned out to be an atheist. There was no a-ha! moment. My turning away was gradual. I do remember some of its beginnings. One Sunday our youth group orchestrated an evening service in the local town park on the banks of the St. Johns River. We even managed (somehow!) to haul in a piano. A out-of-towner visitor, whose reason for being there is now lost to memory but was probably why we were having this “special” service, called us out when he accused us of just “playing church”, copying what we saw our parents do without any belief or knowledge of why we did it. Going thru the motions.
I remember leaving that day and feeling pretty pissed. But he was right. Why was I doing it? Because it was expected and not for myself it turns out. I understand that now.
The church I attended from birth thru high school locks its sanctuary doors unless a service is held (used to be open 24 hours a day) and shares a pastor with other Methodist congregations in the area on a rotational basis.
The last time I checked there are some churches, (this one in particular 3 blocks from where I grew up) that keeps its doors unlocked. I hope they are still open because on my next trip home I plan to stop by and spend a few moments reflecting on whatever comes to mind.