I grew up in a proud United Pentecostal Church family in the Bible Belt. Words and concepts like “holiness,” “shouting,” “anointing,” and “apostolic” were and are important in UPC circles. For those unfamiliar with the jargon, these terms stand for rigid codes of physical dress and behavior, highly physical expressions of worship, a belief that followers could be “in tune” with the Holy Ghost (speaking in tongues is required as “proof” of being filled with the Spirit, which is necessary for salvation), and a literal translation and application of the whole Bible (as interpreted through the book of Acts as a lens). I know some of this sounds tedious to outsiders. I know some of it sounds ridiculous. But it was my sub-culture, my world, from the moment of birth, and to me, the idea that we were right and the rest of the world was wrong—it was a self-evident fact.
ADMIN NOTE: After submitting a story update on Nov 12, 2016 (reflected below), Robin then asked on Nov 13 that her story be taken offline out of concerns that its publication might negatively impact current professional relationships. This page is therefore to remain in DRAFT status until Robin should one day ask for its republication. (Drew)
I came to faith during my youth after a member of a nearby Mennonite church knocked on our door inquiring if anyone wanted to attend bible school. My mother was only too happy to find something to occupy us for the week. I was accepted and welcomed into this community that indoctrinated me in the Christian faith, and it was there I learned its central tenets such as the divinity of Christ, salvation by faith through grace, and the resurrection of the dead.
Several years later my mother sent me to a Lutheran church where I was later confirmed. Again, I felt that same sense of acceptance and belonging. When I had children it was only natural for me to want them to have a similar experience. However, when I separated from their father (we were never married) and came out as a lesbian, the acceptance was retracted with a warning that my ‘lifestyle’ was incongruent with God’s will. I remained outside the Church for the next thirteen years, praying for God to lead me back when the time was right.