Monday, February 8, 2010

I Blame the Baptists

My family is not particularly religious, although I do have an uncle who is a Southern Baptist minister. By the time I came along my mother was already pretty disillusioned with church, but she enrolled me in a Baptist school and sent me to my uncle's church. This is important, because I don't know if the Baptist church caused me to be the anxiety riddled woman I am today, or if it just gave me a LOT of really convenient things to pin my anxiety to (I know, it should be 'to which to pin my anxiety' or somesuch, but I'm from the South. We end our sentences in prepositions while we're fixin' to feed the livestock, or whatever).

When I was 5 I was introduced to the whole 'ask Jesus to save you so you don't go to hell' concept. So I asked Jesus to save me. Ten times a day, because I had a little tic where I had to say things or do things a certain number of times. Generally the magic number was three, but I was pretty terrified about that going to hell thing, so it seemed like ten was better.

When I was 10, anytime I came home and no one else was there I would become terrified that the "Rapture" had happened (if you don't know about the "Rapture," that's a whole other post) and I had somehow messed up and was the only one that was left behind. With the Antichrist. Who was somehow related to Disney and Proctor and Gamble.

I had an obsessive fear about my mother sitting on a tack at work. I think this came from that song they made us sing that had a line about how if the devil didn't like it, he could sit on a tack. I forget what "it" was. Oh, wait, it was the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Reading this, you can tell I was REALLY joyful, right?

I was afraid the dog would end up poking an eye out, which I can't make the Baptists' fault, but I would really, really like it to be their fault. Someone get on that for me, would you?

I was worried that the people I loved were going to hell. I was pretty determined to keep that from happening, except whoops, that's pretty arrogant isn't it, and then I would be worried that I was going to hell. Also, just in the interest of full disclosure, this fear prompted me to pass out tracts with my church in front of the horse racing track in my hometown when I was 12. The same horse racing track my mom took me to once a year to watch the horses. The same horse racing track that I loved...looking back on it, I'm probably going to hell for the sheer hypocrisy of that. Or maybe just for passing out poorly edited tracts to unsuspecting tourists. Dear God.

Wow. Maybe I really am the Baptist church's fault after all.


  1. I went to a "conference" once with my youth group. The speaker demonstrated backward masking lyrics on all kinds of evil rock albums.

    Even then I didn't buy it.

    Did the tracts have cartoons on them?

  2. when you stand back from some of these things, we all just look nuts. have you ever seen a movie called, "Saved"? It's pretty funny - at least the first half hour is. I was raised Episcopalian and Presbyterian, totally confused by the hypocrisy - but we weren't big on the proselytizing.

  3. Vic: You know, my church school was bad enough. Then a friend took me to HER church. They "spoke in tongues" and "prophesied" and danced around like they were having seizures. The only thing they didn't do was snake handling. My own denomination didn't look quite as bad after that.

    Margo: I loved "Saved" because so much of it was so freaking familiar. I knew some people who were almost exactly like Mandy Moore's character in that movie. Also, the public school I graduated from didn't have nearly as high a percentage of teenage mothers as that private school did. I find that interesting.