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Guys all wore the same polo shirt tucked into the same pair of khakis and girls all wore the same dresses. We answered every “God is good” statement with “all the time” and pretended it wasn’t the cheesiest thing in the world.
We’d sing the same songs each week all while trying not to laugh at the old lady who brought her own tambourine.
Then, after shaking hands with Mr. Smith who remembers when we were “this” big, we’d sit down to listen to the same sermon about hell fire, brimstone, and not sinning.
We were taught that Christians were supposed to look a certain way, act a certain way, and be a certain way. It was all about rules and “being in the world, but not of the world.”
And not listening to Metallica.
Whatever you do, don’t listen to Metallica.
There’s no Heaven in your future if you listen to Metallica.
Eventually we all left the church because it was all about rules and felt superficial. Mr. Smith looked and said the right things at church but then he’d treat his business clients like dirt and drink a little too much on Friday night.
It all felt hypocritical. Like everything was a performance.
Then came the mid-00’s and this new idea called “grace.”