Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Little More Background

It's easy to wonder how something like this went on for as long as it did. What isn't easy for me is thinking about how close I came to letting it continue. I was such a typical kid. Especially in the Bible Belt. Middle class, with a dad that traveled too much and a mom that taught school. I grew up in church, taught from an early age to regard ministers with the utmost respect, adoration, and awe. I wasn't a loner, nor was I one of the "cool kids". I was smart (one of the main reasons I was never one of the "cool kids"), musically gifted, and spiritually devout. I was one of those kids that adults loved and kids loved to make fun of. Although, I don't really think of my childhood as one of ridicule and abuse by my peers. Overall, I was a happy kid and have generally fond memories of growing up.

At the age of 8 I started piano lessons, and in doing so found one of the only things I'd ever truly excel at. The one thing that allowed me to stand out (in a good way, finally). And, of course, one of the many things he would eventually steal from me.

Growing up at the largest church in a small southern suburb, my family was at church every time the doors opened. I participated in children's choir, not because I enjoyed it, but because it was a gateway to something bigger and better. Youth Choir. But not just any youth choir. One of the largest, most talented, and well disciplined youth choirs in the South. I couldn't wait. A place where musical ability was fostered, encouraged, and celebrated. A place where I would finally be in my element. And even better, the chance to work with one of the most respected ministers and choir directors in the Southern Baptist community.

Anyone who didn't grow up in the Bible Belt will never understand the pedestal even below average ministers are placed on. The "good" ones? Forget about it. These aren't just men who made religion a job. These are men anointed by the very right hand of God. Men whose every action, every word is approved and ordained by the big man himself. Questioning these men out loud is complete and utter blasphemy. Thinking it in your head reason enough to pray for forgiveness.


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