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I grew up in a small Manitoban church community. A bunch of good Evangelical Mennonite folk were we. This particular hamlet basically consisted of a church and a school (a church school, in fact), with the church averaging about 300 weekly attendees (someone correct me if that’s wrong) and upwards of 100 students enrolled in the school. The community was largely family-based. Nearly everyone was either my cousin or my second cousin or my third cousin (in which case they could be considered a suitable marriage partner). Now I should clarify that we were not just a bunch of crazy hill-billies with 6 toes on our ankles. We drove normal cars and shopped at normal grocery stores and wore normal clothes. We watched TV and used the internet (most of us anyway). We interacted with the town folk and had a jolly good time. Just a normal little community of god-fearing folk, trying to live our lives in a good, appropriate and, most significantly, biblical manner. And, by most standards, the community flourished. Marriages lasted, teens stayed away from drugs/alcohol, there were no unwanted pregnancies, kids didn’t drop out of high school. Of course there were some exceptions to these norms and not everything was wonderful and happy, but things generally had a good flow to them. I remember as a child being so very proud of my community and my school.
My family consisted of myself, 3 older sisters, a little brother and my parents. We lived in a delightful house conveniently located a few minutes away from the church and school. My siblings and I all attended the church school right on through Grade 12 (well by next June that will be true) and attended church weekly with our parents.
Needless to say, Christianity was a give-in for me right from the start. It made all the sense. Everyone around me, everyone I knew, believed it. Everything was filtered through it. As a very young child I was only vaguely aware of the fact that there were people who didn’t believe it. Now this very early childhood belief, I would say, is very much separate from my belief during my mid to late teens, which I will get to later (so don’t be leavin’ yet!).
This post is only intended to include the boring early childhood version of my beliefs and I will therefore not drag it out too long. I will just say that from the ages of 0 to about 16 Christianity was little more to me than just the “normal thing we did.” It had almost no personal application in my life. I didn’t think about it all that much in one direction or the other.
But this all changed in the fall of 2006.