Cleaning my room today, I came across an old diary of mine.
In case anyone doubts my story – that I grew up an earnest, honest, and devoted lover of Jesus – I thought I’d share some diary excerpts. These excerpts, unfortunately, were not written during my later years of a more “mature” faith, but I think they reveal a bit about what it’s like to grow up an evangelical Christian.
Pardon the grammar and spelling; I’ve left it as it is.
Here’s me at age 9:
I had a 2 person church at home with mom today because I’m sick. I’ve mainly been thinking about things about God and stories in the bible. I really kind of feel sick, mainly a headache but a little stomach problems. I’ve notice how special a time is with your mom worshipping together.
A bit later:
Today at school we had someone do a show on lazers for us. He showed us how he liked to use lazers as an example of God.
I think it was a pretty good day, mainly because it’s a Saturday and there’s no school. God is trying to tell me that I don’t need a Super Nintendo. Alot of things happened today that made me come to that conclusion.
About how I would perform some group-choreographed Christian songs on Canadian cable TV:
I think God might use me and the many others for the Kings Kids performance to minister to the millions and millions of people that watch the show.
Shortly after this I didn’t journal for several years. I picked it up again at age 13. Obviously, I had hit puberty:
I hate school, but I’m trying to trust God to bring me through it and to give me a better attitude about life.
A bit later, doom and gloom continues:
I am weak in all areas of my life. Spiritual: I cannot hear God’s voice. Emotion: I break out in tears easily…
Now, jump to age 17:
I recently attended the One Thing conference in Kansas City, MO. I have determined to do a number of things; among them, to pursue a deep relationship with my savior, and sexual purity.
The next day, I decided I’d use the journal for something different:
Instead, I will use this journal to write about something much more interesting, spiritually edifying, and helpful; I will record prayers for my future wife, whom I believe God has already chosen for me, wherever she might be. So… here is the first:
Lord, I pray today that when she is feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or angry, that you would let her feel you wrap your arms around her in a tight embrace, and let her have you whisper in her ear, “I love you, my child.” Warm her heart. Let her understand that you delight in her; your own special creation, made perfectly the way you intended. Oh, and give her a hug from me, too…
A later prayer was a bit more honest:
Lord, this is a selfish prayer, but a humble request to you nonetheless. Please, please, please, I beg you: let her be hot, horny, and clean.
A few months later I stopped writing down prayers and wrote down thoughts instead:
My dad just yelled at me for listening to Tool, because they say “Fuck” alot. He said it was offensive. I don’t know what his problem is. I’ve chosen not to be offended by it. For his own reasons, I guess he has chosen to be offended by “fuck” but not “screw” or “copulate” or even “shag.”
I stopped journaling again a bit later.
I had started to forget what it was like to have an invisible friend, but these journal entries reminded me. I’d been trained to look for God’s activity everywhere. Everything was God: a feeling of happiness, a nice coincidence, a sunny sky, a feeling of guilt. As such, it was impossible to deny him.
I’d like to finish with something that used to be a big deal in the evangelical community when I was growing up: Does Christian heavy metal take people away from God? Here is Christian metal band Stryper debating a reverand who says their “flashy” and “rhythmic” shows distract people from the Holy Spirit:
Luckily, the evangelical Christian community has moved beyond such silliness. Now, it’s hung up on gays.