Happy Re-Birthday to Me

March 16, 2008 at 12:00 am (Family Life, Religion)

Happy Spiritual Birthday To Me – March 16, 1983

I had been raised in a ‘Christian’ family all my life. We had attended church (mostly military chapel services) nearly every Sunday for as long as I can remember. My father had been transferred to Southern California in 1982, and the tradition continued there. I was part of the youth group for teens, which was taught by a civilian, which I considered unusual. It was obvious that he was a civilian because he had a full beard, long hair, and a slight pot-belly. But, he was the first person that I ever remember hearing a clear presentation of the Gospel from. I got saved that night.

The main chapel on base began to feel different to me after that. We would occasionally go to a ‘field’ chapel, which was held in a quonset hut, and attended by mostly lower enlisted men. The chaplain there was not the same type that the main base chapel had. His sermons were always more practical, less placating, just much more ‘real’. The main chapel service was quite formal. Every (protestant) service was extremely structured, and never deviated from that structure. A seated hymn was always followed by a standing responsive reading, which was followed by announcements and offering, which was followed by …. You get the picture. It seemed like the rigidity of the structure was there to make up for the emptiness of the service. The main chapel was my Mom’s favorite, all of her military wife friends were there. Dad was equally comfortable at either one – he enjoyed the main chapel among his peers, but he also enjoyed the field chapel with the troops.

Whenever possible, I tried to convince Mom & Dad to go to the field chapel. I overheard them discussing it once – they weren’t sure If I wanted to go there because I had my learners permit and it was a farther drive, or if I was just more comfortable where the congregation was closer to my age.

To this day, I have problems at any church that feels large and seems have too rigid a structure. They just feel ‘cold’ to me.

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2 Comments

  1. Elaine said,

    Happy belated Spiritual Birthday!!

    My dad left active Army service when I was eight so I don’t recall many chapels. Dad’s last posting was in CO. and there we did attend the joint AF/Army protestant chapel service and Sunday school. The chaplain was a Lutheran minister so I recall some of that same structure that you mention. Perhaps the structure is why I don’t remember much of that time though I do remember Sunday school and my teacher.

    While I do like some routine in my service I love it when the Holy Spirit moves and people respond so openly. I’ve been to a few services like that and so much more is learned than when we’re all going by route.

  2. gingerporter said,

    You are a wonderful Man. God has really moved in your life and it has been amazing for me to sit back and see how God has grown you……I love you…Happy Spiritual Birthday….. 🙂

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