In my high school, the Bible Beaters were hardly the nerdiest kids in class. We weren’t the most popular, either, but there were so many of us that I never felt shunned for my beliefs. I had wonderful friends, and several serious boyfriends, and we were all as socially active as the next group.
Our high school was medium-sized, and our town was small enough that a lot of us knew one another from elementary school through graduation, so this could have helped or hurt as people naturally fractured into social cliches. Even if there was some judgment on both sides, I remained classroom friends with many who chose to do something riskier on the weekends.
It never appealed to me to go out drinking by the lake, or even to engage in normal boundary-testing teenage behavior. I made decent grades, spent my Friday nights in a drill team uniform, and attended church events with multiple denominations around town. Wednesday nights were big for the Bible Beater scene, and I made the rounds between the very active youth group on one side of the town, the less inclusive group where one of my best friends attended, and my own Community church that hosted smaller but meaningful outings.
Toting a well-worn, rose-colored study Bible, I made it through high school almost entirely unscathed. I was a fixture at the yearly flag pole prayer meeting, and I had a phase where I painstakingly wrote out a verse of the day on little slips of paper that I would pass out among my friends. I debated heaven and hell on the cheerleading bus, and my senior music solo was a popular number about holy relationships.
I chose the large in-state university not after a lot of thoughtful prayer, but because I was only mildly interested in school, therefore too lazy to fill out any other applications, and also because I got a scholarship. I had a couple of other friends headed there, as well as my sweetheart, and it felt like a very natural transition.
From my years observing the college-age counselors at the summer camp I still attended, I knew that there was a large Jesus-loving contingent at my chosen school. I pledged a sorority that openly sang Christian songs during Rush, and upon arrival I was invited to all manner of Bible studies. This probably made me feel fortunate at the time, but my youthful arrogance also led me to believe that my faith was unshakable.
continue to Have Faith, part IV...