I’ve always been an agnostic, even back when I didn’t know what that was. In Trailblazers (a Sallies youth group), every year they’d give us a small questionnaire, and one of the questions was ‘Do you think God exists?’ I always answered ‘Not sure’ – I never really had the feeling that there is an almighty being who cares and watches over us. Sure, I’d identify as Christian, but only because that’s really the only label I knew.
Perhaps that’s part of the test – belief in the face of no evidence - in which case I’ve most certainly failed. Ah, well.
To be honest, I never really cared about the religion side of church. The fun was in all the things you get to do there. There was artwork. There were stories. There were little diagrams that you had to cut up and paste together to form a chart. There were mosaics. There were people – all kinds of wonderful people.
And there was singing.
Oh, the singing! Apart from the occasional camps, the singing was the best part of the whole thing. It didn’t matter whether or not I actually believed that salvation was coming from Zion’s Hill, or that I should stand on the rock of God’s word – I was having fun singing to upbeat songs, and as a kid, that’s all that mattered. I don’t know if that makes me the worst church-goer in the world or something, but it is what it is.
One time, on a camping trip with our youth group, I completely lost my voice from all the singing I was doing. On the last day I still sung along, though – in a hoarse whisper – such as was my love of singing.
In fact, I still love singing - even if I don’t sound all that good – and probably as a direct result of my time at church. And even though I don’t believe, even now I wouldn’t change a single second of it.