I turned thirty-three almost two weeks ago and I’m beginning to notice something as I get older (no, this won’t be a gripe session about unwanted ear hair). I reminisce a lot. And I mean more than I ever have before. I’m sure this is a natural occurrence as we age but I do it especially with my long-time friends.
Recently though, I have been doing it on another level. First, some background. I grew up in a heavily Pentecostal church (with a brief stint in a non-denominational one) and was indoctrinated into the 90s church pop culture. Yes, that’s a real thing. This came with a bevy of things like no wearing hats in the sanctuary, not being allowed to listen to secular music (but we could watch secular movies), attending youth group, Sunday School, and Vacation Bible Schools in the summer, etc. You get the picture. It was a community and culture centered on religious practices of following the Bible.
Now, I am not bashing this. I can honestly say that as I’ve gotten older, I have enormous appreciation for this experience as a kid and teenager. Those long-time friends I mentioned before are ones I met at church. I’m forever grateful for these friendships for many reasons. I also have an appreciation for charity, community, music (church is what got me into playing drums and remains one of my greatest passions in life), and potlucks that I otherwise wouldn’t have.
I am thrust into the pool of reminiscing because my wife and I were recently turned onto a podcast called Good Christian Fun. This podcast explores specific topics in Christian pop culture from music to movies that I grew up very familiar with. So many of these have been like digging through my childhood. Side note: the podcast doesn’t try to push you towards or pull you away from Christianity. It simply explores the things of that time and their influence.
For the last two weeks, as I listen to these podcasts, I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood and how I have been shaped by those church experiences. I’ll be honest, there are good and bad things. I won’t delve deeper into that right now (maybe in the future but no promises) but it does have my wife and I exploring how we will raise our kids. You want to learn from your mistakes and even from your successes and use that when practicing parenthood.
As I reminisce, I get the profound notion that doing so will pave the way towards helping me be a better husband, father, and person in general. I have embarrassing stories up the wazoo that make me cringe to this day because I made decisions based on feelings or misgivings rather than knowledge and wisdom. As a parent, I don’t want to follow that road. Sure, there will be mistakes made along the way but I think I can avoid some by simply considering the past.
Call to Action: Seriously, if you grew up in the church bubble in the late 80s, early 90s (I mean the days of DC Talk, Michael W. Smith, Left Behind, etc.), then you should check out the Good Christian Podcast. You’ll laugh and shake your head many a times as you hear the references.