Another facet of the Lost Generation
I suspect there is a subconscious resonance for me. When I was a little girl, I too sang in a Presbyterian church children’s choir. I’m sure the service now is much the same and so are the hymns. I think there is something deeply comforting to me to worship God in this same way. It is something beyond rational assent to what is said. Perhaps this is a connection to my Scottish Presbyterian foremothers.
In the children’s sermon today, the pastor told a story about one of his youthful experiences of making cookies in home ec class. I was reminded that there are different recipes for cookies. Some of which we like better than others, but they are all equally valid as cookies. So too there are different recipes for church, some of which we might like better than others, but they are all valid recipes. But often, the cookies that were made by people we loved when we were very young continue to hold a special place in our hearts. Even if we decide we like something else better as adults, there can still be something deeply satisfying about your family’s special recipe. For making cookies or doing church.
Another aspect for me is recognizing the connection between my experience and Martin’s (and other people’s - Aj!) lamentation of “What has happened to the Lost Generation of Quakers?” In fact, I am part of the Lost Generation of Presbyterians. Frankly, I have found deeper, more meaningful connections to God in another faith tradition. They lost me when I was a teenager, and I’m not going back. As a true American, I think it is my right to choose to worship God in the way that suits me, regardless of my family’s traditions.
I wonder, if there had been a better youth pastor in my church, would I have stayed a Presbyterian? If I had gotten better Sunday School lessons? If my family hadn’t moved when I was in fifth grade so my mother started going to the Methodist church since there wasn’t a Presbyterian church in town? If church camp hadn’t conflicted with the County Fair and other secular pleasures? Would I have found Quakers anyway? Is the Presbyterian church suffering a decline in membership because so many young people like me went off and found some other, more compelling faith tradition? Notice that in my mind, I don't really distinguish between the Presbyterian church of my early childhood and the Methodist church of my later youth. I wonder how many adults convert to the Presbyterian church each year? How many adults become convinced by Quakerism? How many people are just lost? Lost to themselves, lost in too much work and material consumption and Sunday baseball games?
Is this a natural re-sorting process? Will my children choose to continue as Quakers or will they decide they’d rather return to the faith of their great-grandparents? What are the determining factors? What foundation will I give my children to choose a challenging and fulfilling faith tradition?
In any case, how mysterious that I have come to all this searching of my soul because my son agreed to sing in this choir with his friend from school when soccer season was over.
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