Thursday, September 17, 2009

We Take it on Faith

My parents were Anglican and I had been baptized into that religion at the age of 5 or 6. Now I was 12, so confirmation classes began.

It's mostly hazy to me now. I remember learning that the colour of the minister's vestments was connected to certain religious occasions. About the meaning of the host and the wine in relation to communion with the Lord. About the trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Oh there was lots of dogma - and I had lots of questions.

We started at the beginning - the creation of the earth and then Adam & Eve. I enquired immediately about the origin's of Cain's wife. "Well, we don't take it literally", I was told, "we take it on faith"....

Well, then what about Darwin's theory of evolution? "Well, there are arguments for it, of course, but we believe that God created the universe - we take it on Faith"...

Then there was Noah and the Flood, the parting of the Red Sea, the selling of children into slavery and prostitution, the killing of all first born children...and the ever constant answer - we take it on FAITH.

So eventually the Reverand and I came to an impasse. I'd ask a question - we'd take it on FAITH - then we'd move on to the next lesson. I was 12 years old and not stupid. I had a logical mind and very good comprehension and retention. I had never confused fantasy with reality - I knew the difference, and most of what I was hearing here could only be classified as fantasy. While I believed in God and his Son, Jesus, this was just too much. I could see how the 10 commandments were beneficial (and probably necessary) to the survival of civilized man, but I figured that the chances they had been delivered to Moses from the Hand of God were pretty slim. After a while I was told not to disrupt the class any more, just listen and let the others learn. I understood that particular instruction very well and did what I was told. We learned our lessons, took our test and passed into the realm of confirmed Anglicans.

The ceremony was serious and full of all the dogma and circumstance one might expect. All the newly confirmed girls and boys (we took our classes separately) marched together down the aisle one Sunday morning into the presence of the Canon. I remember thinking what a big ring he wore as he placed a hand on each of our heads and said something I don't remember and probably didn't understand. I figured it must be a blessing, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was actually thinking about what he was going to have for lunch as he mumbled the same words over each of us. Today was the big day and for the first time in our lives, we all received the body and blood of Christ in the form of the host and what I think was probably grape juice (if it was real wine it sure was watered down). I took my communion, stayed for the rest of the service, and never set foot in an Anglican church again - at least not for a Sunday service. My parents had wanted me confirmed and I was. That was the only reason I suffered through the entire winter of lessons.

My mother and father never knew why I refused to attend church services after that and I never told them. If they wanted to believe in all the hocus pocus, that was ok with me, but I was having none of it, and at 13 years old, they let me make that decision for myself.

I'm very grateful to them for that.


  1. I had no idea you were actually confirmed! You learn something new every day I guess

  2. Now you know one of the reasons I didn't make you go to church!

  3. All of this makes me think of my own path, which has ended differently from yours. It makes me courious about what my children will say to me years from now. :)

  4. Hi Anita, I think we're all curious about what our children will say. Hopefully, they'll simply understand that we're just people, doing the best we can with what we have and know. Thanks for stopping by!