My religious life began in a Southern Baptist Church in Erwin, TN, a small town of five-thousand or so. My family left this church and began attending a Presbyterian Church when I was twelve years old when my brother and I came home after church to inform my parents that all Catholics were bound for hell.
I became very involved in spiritual activity during the time of the “Jesus Movement.” From there I went to Asbury College in Wilmore, KY and acquired a degree in Religion and then went on to Asbury Theological Seminary. I decided not to follow the typical course into pastoral ministry and opted for a specialized curriculum in historical theology. My focus was on Eastern Orthodox history and theology.
I was a “cradle” Catholic. My mother was divorced and not allowed to go to Mass, but she sent all seven of her children to Mass on Sunday and to Catholic schools. I never understood that but I think going to Mass was the trade off for being allowed to attend Catholic schools which my mother thought were superior to the public schools. Sometime around 3rd grade I was apparently telling relatives that I was going to be a nun.This is what I did the summer I graduated from my Catholic, all-girls high school.
DISCLAIMER: Drew has served as President of The Clergy Project.
In many ways, my story is as stereotypical American evangelical as it gets. Complete with altar calls, Bible camps, and purity rallies. Or at least it starts off that way.
I was raised in a small Baptist church in small-town Central Minnesota. Prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” when I was just three years old. Somehow spontaneously finding ourselves in the bathroom, I prayed that prayer with my mother, kneeling over the bathtub’s edge and repeating her words as my own, confessing my preschool-age sins while asking Jesus to come into my life and grant me the forgiveness I was told I had so desperately needed. From there it was a childhood of Sunday schools and AWANA programs, of youth groups and Bible studies.
I went from agnostic to believer to atheist. After my first 2 years of college and marriage I became a “born again” Christian in the Church of Christ. Eventually I became an elder in the church, & after 5 years in retail management after college, I earned an M.Div. at Fuller Theological Seminary, and served 5 churches as a pastor. One of those churches included a street ministry in Venice CA in the 70’s.
I am one of the lucky ones and am able to be honest about my beliefs in the congregation I serve, a congregation of The United Church of Canada. I have served West Hill, www.westhill.net, for fifteen years. About three years into my ministry there, I was awakened to the reality that many of my congregants had not assimilated the progressive “metaphorical” understandings of Christianity that I had been exposed to throughout my