Giving the Preacher’s Kid a Sedative

I was mad mad mad yesterday afternoon when I wrote my post concerning the cancelling of the Book of Daniel. I have since then slept, contemplated, and sent my inner preacher’s child back to her room.

I still feel the same way about the cancellation. It is indicative of so many other things in our country today…our melting pot is becoming a “Christian” crucible, and it’s a little scary to those of us not of that ilk.

That being said, I wanted to take this post to tell you about the wonderful childhood I had. When I look at my peers whose parents are divorced (not that divorce is always a bad thing) or had rough childhoods for any number of reasons I count myself lucky. I have fantastic parents who do what I think parents are supposed to do: they put their children first, before anything else in their lives.

My father is a retired United Methodist minister and my mother is a retired English teacher. Mom took a hiatus from working when I was born and went back to work twenty-three years later to make sure she would get her full retirement. I have one sister who is four and a half years younger than I am. From birth to graduation from college I lived in six different towns and nine different houses. It always seemed to me that just as I started to get settled somewhere we would move.

My parents were very careful to set up our rooms in our new houses to look as much like the ones we had just left as possible. In fact, I have a hard time distinguishing some memories as happening when we lived in the first house we moved into, the rental house, or the third house we lived in while in Marietta, Georgia. Our family was close, I think, because we moved so much and we were each other’s only constant.

I learned when we moved to Commerce that everyone knew who the minister’s children were in the town, and that if I sneezed too hard someone might tell my parents that I had a cold. I think it was there, as I entered my teenage years, that I saw for the first time the stereotypes that people have about ministers and their families.

I always thought my family was relatively normal. We watch Days of Our Lives and have for as long as I can remember. Daddy and I used to watch parts of Saturday Night Live together, and he used to get quite a kick out of parts of Monty Python’s Holy Grail. I admit to a rather sheltered life compared to some of my friends who were drinking at 15 and smoking at 16 and on cocaine by 18. I didn’t go to concerts, I didn’t sneak out of my house…well maybe just that one time, but I only got as far as the backyard before I was afraid someone would see me and I went back inside.

I hated my sister like all sisters hate each other. When I went to college and she went to high school, she became bearable. When I graduated from college and she started college, she became likeable. When she graduated from college and went on to seminary, she became a friend.

Some of the things I saw in the Book of Daniel I thought were spot on. The struggle that Daniel had with telling his father that his son was gay was completely believable to me. Daniel was not only a priest himself, he was the son of a priest. While he probably had issues with his son’s homosexuality, he still loved and accepted his son as a person, as a unique and perfect creation. I see more of that kind of tolerance and acceptance now in the clergy than I did growing up.

The daughter being caught for possession of marijuana and then the entire town knowing about it was also very familiar. Not that I have ever been in her shoes exactly, but see above my comment about sneezing. When I was 16 I had just gotten my license and I rear-ended someone at a stop sign. She of course made sure the police came and I ended up at the police department (right across from the parsonage, I might add). I don’t think she pressed charges (mainly because I’d tapped her at most and there was NO damage to either car) but the next day at school EVERYONE knew. “Rev. Allen’s kid had a wreck, did you hear?” Yes, because I’m Rev. Allen’s kid…

I was heartened when 7th Heaven was premiered because I thought finally, a show about my life growing up. Not. Then I saw BoD…and while the characters were not the same as my family by a longshot, the sentiment, as expressed by the creator of the show, was the same. Here was a family that loved each other no matter what. No Matter What.

I was raised to think for myself and make my own decisions. I was raised to allow others to do the same. If you like 7th Heaven or Fear Factor or Jerry Falwell or the 700 Club, that’s great. You won’t see me campaigning to have them taken off the air even though I may have personal issues with them. Sure would be nice if those who screamed and yelled about BoD had the same perspective, eh?

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