The Faith Meme

This quiz was a Facebook thing thing I got from Jaquandor (again!)

1. Who gave you your first Bible?

It was so long ago that I have no idea. Best guess, though, would be my paternal grandmother, who was also my Sunday school teacher. Or perhaps it came from the church itself. No doubt, it was a King James Version. Currently, I own the Revised Standard Version, the New Revised Standard Version, Good News, The Way and Good News. I also have New Testament only: Jerusalem Bible and New International Version, and probably others. Additionally, I have handbooks, a concordance, essays and hymnals – quite a few hymnals, actually.

I also have The Book of Mormon, which I tried to read but found boring, as well as a Treasury of Kahlil Gibran. I’ve had others, but they’ve disappeared over the years; I don’t recall specifically selling them or giving them away.

2. When and where did you receive your first Communion?

No idea, but it was as a child; I “grew up in the church”, as people were wont to say.

3. What was the first prayer you were taught?

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

When I learned this as a young child, it didn’t bother me, but by the time I was eight or so, it started to really freak me out, actually.

4. What was the first church you attended?

Trinity African Methodist Episcopal Zion (A.M.E. Zion) on Sherman Avenue (or Street) off Carroll Street in Binghamton, NY. The church moved to the corner of Oak and Lydia Streets when I was about seven, just two short blocks from my home.

5. What was the first Bible passage/story that became meaningful to you?

There were so many Bible stories I was taught. I suppose Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace from the Book of Daniel; it may have been their names.

6. What was the first miracle you experienced?

I suppose it was when I started speaking in tongues. I think I’ve told that story in this blog somewhere, though for the life of me, I cannot find it presently.

7. Where and when were you baptized?

Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church, Binghamton, NY, August 1953, which I know only because I’ve seen the photo.

Bonus: Is there a story of faith you would like to share that doesn’t fit into one of these categories? If so, share it.

I had a “saved” experience when I was nine years old. Oddly, it wasn’t at church, but at a Bible study that was maybe a half a block from my church. It almost certainly had to do with a Billy Graham crusade.
Subsequently, I started to go to Friday Night Bible Group, usually with my sister Leslie, for years at the home of Pat and Art Gritman. She was the secretary to Neville Smith, the principal of my elementary/junior high school, Daniel S. Dickinson in Binghamton. She was about 16 years younger than Art; I remember specifically that when she was 48, he was 64.
When I was in high school, I would go to my church in the morning, then walk with my friend Bob Swingle to the Primitive Methodist Church in Johnson City in the evening, not an insubstantial trek on foot. From Bible club and from PM, I could quote chunks of Scripture by heart.
But it was also during high school when doubts about my faith emerged. The notion that, e.g., most people in India, good practicing Hindus, were going to go to hell because they didn’t know Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior became problematic to me, and I drifted away from the church in my twenties, merely dabbling in everything from Baha’ism (the faith of an ex) to Catholicism (often my Christmas and Easter place of choice) to Unitarianism to the Unification Church. It wasn’t until the early 1980s when, through music, I found my way back into church, and that was/is a theologically evolving process.

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