“Mrs. B., which group did you belong to in high school?”
My inquisitive students all looked at me waiting for the response. A million thoughts swam through my head. Should I tell them? What should I tell them? Can I make it seem better than it actually was?
“Well,” I began, “the group that I belonged to in high school isn’t one of the ones that you guys listed on the board.” I shouldn’t have said that. Now I really won’t be able to just gloss over the question.
“I belonged to the Bible thumper group.” I confessed.
“What?! Really?! No way!”
There’s not a sure fire way for me to know how many students I traumatized during my years of high school. I didn’t really begin “coming into my own” until I was about 25 years old so high school was much more awkward for me than it needed to be. I never had a knack for making friends (apparently that’s one of the qualities of an extrovert) and I cannot stress enough how immature I was in high school about all things spiritual.
The summer before high school, I began to get really, really involved in my church. I loved it. My church family began to take the place of my parents and I was perfectly okay with that. My youth pastors were always talking to us about the importance of boldness and how we needed to be bold to withstand the pressures of high school. It took me a while but I finally started to practice the boldness that my youth pastors were talking about during my junior year.
I somehow managed to meet a group of Christian kids: the Bible thumpers. I don’t recall exactly how it happened but I think that one of the Bible thumper kids may have seen me sitting by myself and come over to talk to me. I started to attend the Bible Study Club meetings that the kids ran and at these meeting they, too, talked about boldness. During the minutes before school, these kids would stand amongst the student body and preach! Yes, preach! I thought they were so cool. I really wanted to preach, too.
I was cultivating my Bible thumper rep by carrying my Bible EVERYWHERE! I even got a nifty purse thingy to hold the Good Book. Everyday, when I got to class, I would put my Bible in the top left corner of my desk because, you know, if I didn’t carry a Bible around with me AT ALL TIMES, then I wasn’t a “real” Christian… or so I thought. Like, I said, I was immature. If you’ve seen that movie, “Easy A,” I remember being a lot like Marianne minus the boyfriend. I didn’t have any boyfriends during my time as a Bible thumper because I also read that book I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris and I wanted to be like him, too. I definitely believe the things that he talked about and I did “kiss dating goodbye” but… still…
The day finally came that I would preach. I proceeded to yell at all students who were within earshot about how they were going to hell. Their friends would send them to hell. Their choices would send them to hell. Hell, hell, hell, hell… While there was some truth to that, something can be said for tact (never my strong suit).
Ay, ay, ay. It’s so sad to think about the number of people that I traumatized with my “preaching.” I forgot to preach about the one, true God. You know, the One who forgives us when we ask. The One who provides all of our needs. The One who is not pushy so He waits for us to receive Him. The One who says that all sins are the same meaning that any sin(s) will send us to hell (sins like judging and lying- even those “white lies”). Not just specific ones (contrary to popular belief).
There is so much that I should’ve said but didn’t. I don’t really know why. But what I do know is I messed up. Big time. Lord, forgive me.