Innocent Years of Childhood


Psychologists like to blame something in your childhood for the reason you act the way you do today. What happened to you when you were in your formative years is not usually the cause for your behavior today. It is an excuse for you antics now as an adult. You can change the way you are. If you cannot control your being, then let others control you in an institution.

My first exposure to religion was Sunday School in an old church in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I remember I was the only youngster who had memorized the names of the Books of the New Testaments. But, my personal philosophy was more shaped by two events occurring on the way to or from church.

The first event was when I was about three or four years old, and I was walking to Sunday School with my brothers when I met the devil himself in the form of a St. Bernard dog, The dog knocked me down and I lost my dime for the Sunday School plate. There is nothing more embarrassing than having nothing to put in the collection plate when it is passed to you. I put my fist into the plate and made believe I had money to put into it. I knew God knew I had lost my dime to the devil, but I didn’t want anyone else to know that I didn’t have any money for the collection plate. That was probably the first time I wished I had not gone to Sunday School.

For years I trotted off to Church every Sunday under gentle expectations of Mom and Grandma. I sang in the Children’s Choir. I soloed a time or two, singing my favorite song, Silent Night. All this led right into confirmation and Palms Sunday I was confirmed. It was a beautiful day, and I had on my new shirt for the occasion. Leaving the church, along side the building, soaking up the sun, I walked under a tree and a bird let his poop empty on my new shirt. It was a sign from God and I had my excuse never to enter a church again – at least that Church.

My Mom seemed to accept my position and for years I didn’t have to attend Church. I had to work on the farm. Seems all she and Grandma wanted was to have me confirmed. Religion does play a very important part in our lives. Even if you do not go to church, even if you do not believe… it plays an important part in life because it does in so many other lives, like your brothers and sisters, wife, kids, Mom and Grandma. I understand how many people think, where they are coming from in their behavior and beliefs, as they make many of their decisions are based on their religious beliefs. Thus I cannot ignore religion. I can condemn it, praise it, be apathetic and agnostic and atheistic, but we live in this world with many believers.

I believe how I believe is very healthy, and that you have as your foundation beliefs similar to all religions.

There are people who have been led to believe that there are angels flying around with wings they have earned by watching over someone (any resemblance to “Its A Wonderful Life” is coincidental). I have a brother that believes in predestination of everything, a previous wife that saw the devil emerge from my burning underwear, another did not believe, and another who thinks God will give her eternal life in Heaven when her life ends.

I do believe that God, what ever form He takes, does have the power to intervene, or if he is Nature to time events in such a way as to save life. Each time I believe he may have intervened in life, my life was saved. There are two major interventions in my life that brought me closer to believing – at those times.

The first took place when I was 16 years old. At that age and event such as I am about to relate, leaves an impression on a person. I was talking to my “girlfriend” on the phone. We usually talked an hour or more. This time we were talking for a short time, and all of a sudden she said, “I have to go and hung up”. I was a little taken back, miffed and went and sat down by the TV. Almost instantly, lightning struck and the phone rang. I went to check if the phone was actually ringing, as if she calling back. To my shock, the receiver had melted to the bottom of the phone. My Dad’s old station wagon outside also had been struck, and the lights were turned on, and we could not turn them off until the battery drained.

The next day I asked my gal friend at school why she hung up. She said she did not know why, she felt she had to and did. She could not explain it. Well, it didn’t take long for me to figure that my life had been saved by someone telling her to hang up the phone? I have to give God credit for that. I am not sure, why God would want to intervene to save my life. Perhaps it is so I can write this book.

There is a second time that I felt God choose to save me from certain death. I had driven some 23 hours to somewhere in Minnesota near North Dakota from Belleville, Wisconsin to deliver a truck load of day old turkey poults for my step-father’s turkey hatchery at the age of 18-20. It was a long winter-time trip, and I tried to keep going. I do not remember how I got from Wisconsin Dells to Madison, about a 50 mile trip. I woke up to seeing in my dreams the famous image of praying hands coming up though the payment, which startled me and woke me and saved me from sleeping thru a major intersection in Madison. It was after this event that I forgave God for the bird droppings on my new shirt at Confirmation.

I have tried to define God for myself many times. If He is in my image or I in His – so be it. If He is the Laws of Nature at Work, so be it. If he is no more than the power of Love, I can accept, and I know that he is at least the Power of Love. There are those who are not ready to admit that there is a definable God. Thus, I am inclined to skirt around the word God, and use milder terms such as Love and Law of Nature or the Source of Power that brave men and women declare as God, the Father, The Son, and Holy Ghost. I do not know for certain there is a God as I cannot show proof. I do believe man’s nature is such that he would create God.

To many it does not matter whether God is real or imagined, he is God. If you believe, that is what matters. I like to think God is Love. And, that overcomes all problems, all fears. A God of love does not agree with all the hateful events which occur daily. I dismiss the idea that there is some evil “devil” causing mayhem. I believe that man and nature do good and evil.

My God is a good God, who loves me. My God set the rules that control the universe, he is indeed an all wise God. Do my questions have to be answered?

My God is love. That is sufficient for my definition. We often feel that God has abandoned us. We feel that he no longer lives in our hearts or in our cities. But, have you seen any city where God would want to live? I think he would want to live in the country. If you were God, which man’s heart would you want to live in? Few men or women have a heart worthy of God’s presence. There may be evidence that God lives in our minds. Many cannot be sure of a God, without a sign. Not much has changed in the past 2000 years when people asked Jesus for a sign that he was the true Son of God.

Watch Dr. Robert Schuller’s “Hour or Power” on TV. His religion is me.  I feel I have been forgiven. I have been in the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California a couple times. I have met Dr. Schuller and was married by him. It is an honor to meet this man. He inspires my religion.

In our town of Belleville, Wisconsin, we have three churches.’s One would make more sense to me, especially in a small town. There isn’t enough difference between the three church doctrines to warrant three heating and air conditioning systems, three buildings, and three preachers. I could attend any of these churches and my beliefs wouldn’t change a bit. I would like to change some of their thinking. But I can live with their doctrines as long as they keep them in a book where nobody can find them. I like most about churches is usually the ministers. If I don’t like him, I am unlikely to return.

Many years ago, I have listened to the Lutheran minister of a New Glarus Church preach about the Devil and it was directed to young people. Young people don’t have to be scared in church by preachings of a Devil.

I have heard the Methodist minister preach of the failings of the people to put the church first in their lives – that is his job.

He wants the people to clean up their act, and to get off their butts and better their church and politics. This minister was from the old school of training. Seminary taught that you preach 15 minutes of damnation and five minutes that God can save you if you donate.

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