Monday, February 18, 2008

Formative Moment #6

When I was a lad, our family attended a local United Methodist church. I no longer subscribe to that theology. Most Sundays, one or both of my parents would pack us kids up and take us to Sunday school. I don't believe either of them actually attended the adult Sunday school part, so I don't know what they did until the actual service. Maybe it involved coffee or something.

The Sunday school setup was that there was a preschool class, individual K-6 grade classes, a middle school class for 7-8 grade, and a high school class. Because of historical and geographical eccentricities, my church classmates were not my school classmates. Ours was, as far as I knew, the only family from my school district to attend this church. I think this was a big contributing factor to my nearly lifelong feeling of not quite fitting in with the crowd. (Boo hoo. Cry me a river, you big baby.)

Each school year, there was a different Sunday school instructor. In my sophomore or junior year, the instructor was an older man, maybe in his late 60s/early 70s. I really commend him for having the chutzpah to sit in with teenagers. He was also one of those mild-mannered fellows with a wicked sense of humor that few people could discern.

One day, the lesson was about positive personality attributes. We had an exercise where we split into groups of three or four, and we were to discuss the particular attribute and come up with examples where we had behaved positively and examples where we or others had behaved negatively. I forget what my group was supposed to discuss - probably obedience to our parents or something fairly tame. One group was given the topic of taking initiative. When the instructor called on that group to report on their discussion, they all sort of panicked and looked at each other for several seconds. I thought this was hilarious, and started to laugh. When the rest of the room looked at me in confusion, it got even funnier, and I collapsed on the couch and guffawed. "What's so funny?" the instructor asked me.

"Their topic... ha ha ha ha... was taking... ha ha ha ha... INITIATIVE! Ha ha ha ha ha... And none of them... ha ha ha ha...."

The instructor got it. He broke eye contact with me and grinned. None of the other kids ever quite understood. I think this cemented my reputation for weirdness. Not that there was a dearth of evidence before that.


Shay said...

If they were Methodists, it was coffee.

(btw: I haven't ignored your meme tag. I'm just trying to come up with six bloggers I know well enough to tag. Can I get away with four?)

GDad said...

Four should be fine. I'm not going to trace the meme back to the beginning. That would be weird.

gay CME guy said...

Funny story. I too, was raised united methodist. These days, when pressed, I refere to myself as a recovering christian, secular humanist with Buddhist leanings. Either that or Agnostic.