Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Looking Back (now with pics)
I'm fascinated by the twists and turns in the generations of my family . . .
My mother's grandfather was a Baptist minister - according to my Mom, a fiery preach-it-brother, tent-meeting Baptist minister.
So this Baptist minister produced my grandmother who was close to our family when I was growing up but died suddenly when I was 14.
She, according to family lore, was a believer and deeply involved in church life for a many years(although not during my lifetime)
She and my grandfather produced 2 daughters - my mother Nancy, and her sister, Aldyth.
And they were brought up in the faith, until . . .
It must have been something truly awful because by the time I was a twinkle in my Dad's eye, everything had changed.
By the time I was an age of understanding, my grandmother never darkened the door of a church, and had collected a group of eccentric women who gathered at her house, listening to tapes by a man called Joel Goldsmith.
This man taught that there was no sin or sickness in the world.
"Sin and sickness is all just an illusion" he said, "a faulty way of perceiving reality"
The women were all utterly taken in.
They clucked about "Dear Joel" like sweet earnest hens, chirping of auras and such like.
I found them alarming, the whole lot of them and used to escape to my grandfather's workshop, chatting to him there as he patiently made wonderful things out of wood.
(My grandfather, to my knowledge, never interfered in his wife's departure from true Christianity. He just carried on faithfully in his chosen path and stands to me, to this day, as a beacon of what it looks like to live as one who follows Christ)
I wondered what made my devout grandmother change so, long after her death, I asked her daughter, my aged aunt Aldyth, what had happened.
She told me it was because the old minister in her Mom's church had been replaced by "a horror of a man" -
So her gradual descent into real deception happened because she was upset by the behaviour of a man.
Changed the course of her whole life and derailed her faith and her family's spiritual future.
My mother had come to faith in Christ as a teen, possibly before her mother had lost her faith or possibly under the influence of her adored father
But later was drawn off the path into her mother's ways.
My Mom was a strong minded woman and to this day, it is weird to me that she allowed herself to be influenced into this circle of oddities.
(I'm glad to say that she did return to her young faith before she died)
My siblings and I grew up in a spiritually aware home - but oh! what a confusing mishmash of ideas!
As children you tend to adopt your parent's views about spiritual matters -
The main idea we picked up was that Christians were lame and that church was a joke.
It took till I was 40 and an almost literal scruff-of-the-neck encounter with the Lord to turn me around
And discover that the very way I had been scoffing at was what I had been looking for all my life.
I suppose I'd like to find some sort of pattern; a 'cause and effect' thing somewhere, to try to make sense of it all.
It remains a mystery . . .