As a child growing up in church, I strove to understand what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. I attended Sunday school faithfully for years, but my teachers didn’t do much to help the process. That is, they filled my brain with theology, rules, and information, but not a lot of practical advice. We never (and I mean, never) discussed sex, dating, decision-making, discipleship, drug abuse, or any of the important real-world issues that affect the daily life of a 20th-century teenager in the big city. I wanted to live a righteous live worthy of my calling, but…how?
The physical trappings of faith confounded me. Jesus wore a robe and sandals, but I have to wear a tie and shiny shoes? Our Messiah worshiped in the open air and fed the poor, but we had to spend endless sums to repair our crumbling chapel? So many questions I dared not ask.