Years ago I read a short story by Chaim Potok. I can’t even remember the name of it.
It was a story about a teenage boy who was the child of very religious parents.
Potok describes the daily in and out of the family’s life, and the constant microscopic examination of his life as a teenager to make sure he didn’t sin or disobey or fall out of line.
I think I remember the boy being a drummer and just wanting to live and enjoy life. But the constant monitoring of his life was such a wet blanket over everything that he could scarcely even breathe.
The story impacted me so much because that’s how I felt growing up. Not just from family but from my church and pastors.
I left home when I was 18 to go to college and I started tasting freedom. A Pentecostal Bible college so it was a limited freedom.
Then I had this weird memory flash just yesterday of when I went on a mission trip to the Bronx, NY, when I was at that college. In one high-rise apartment a black teenage boy “got saved” and he wanted to get baptized. I asked where their bathtub was and was going to fill it to baptize him when the other team members took me aside and said I had no authority to baptize him and we needed to get him in touch with a pastor.
Something broke in me then. To be honest, it was a kind of “Fuck authority!” spirit that was stoked in me that day.
I don’t know what I’m getting at here. But it’s something to do with the joy of liberating ourselves from the constant religious monitoring of our lives.
I mean… people are examining and judging and gauging us all the time.
But we no longer assign it any power over us.
We are free.