One of my friends from school recently moved back to the area, so Honey, Liz, and I got together with her last weekend for dinner and a movie. Since all but one of us had attended the same Christian school, we spent pretty much the entire night reminiscing and laughing our butts off.
Our Baptist school was small and often dysfunctional. Along with standard subjects like math and English, we were taught that the earth is only 6,000-8,000 years old, rock music is of the devil, and the Easter Bunny is the pagan god of fertility. Seriously.
While the history books in most schools might cover such topics as World War II or the writing of the Declaration of Independence, our history books devoted chapters to the oppression of Protestants by the Roman Catholic Church. Graphic descriptions of torture were included to cement our distrust of the world’s largest denomination.
One of the teachers seemed to dislike the fact that my Pentecostal religion differed from hers, so during class one day she informed us that John the Baptist was the first Christian and therefore the first Christian was Baptist. “And, Brian, that’s the truth whether you believe it or not!” she exclaimed, even though I hadn’t uttered a word of dissent. Even then I knew that he had acquired the moniker simply because he baptized people.
Instead of being taught the core elements of Christianity, like loving and helping others, we were trained to fear those who were different. One of my friends was even denied a letter of recommendation by our principal because the college she was applying to was of a different denomination.
Over the years, as I’ve experienced life, read books, or simply talked to people, I have discovered that things aren’t nearly as black and white as I was made to believe during my school days. It’s hard to fathom how much I’ve changed or how far I’ve come since then, and I know that everything I’ve went through in my life was for a reason – if for nothing more than to give me perspective.
Still, I resent the fact that my parents sacrificed so much financially in order to send my sister and I to a school that provided a so-called Christian eduction. False advertising if you ask me.