I’ve been writing kind of a series on my early life and the need to adapt to the changes in life as I’ve grown older. My family belonged to a very strict evangelical denomination, my dad was a pastor. Rules were so ingrained in me that life today seems very unstructured. I’m working through this life change by writing it all down. This picture is of my dad and mother as pastor and wife of an evangelical church in Des Moines, Iowa in the 50’s.
As I was growing up there were so many rules for us to obey as ‘Christian’ girls. Many more than just the ones I’ve written about specifically. In Des Moines, Iowa where my dad was pastor we especially had to toe the mark. I’ll name a few rules here.
Playing sports on Sunday was not allowed. We had a basketball rim in the back yard, I’d been given a basketball for Christmas one year. I could shoot baskets any time I wanted to, but not on Sunday! Attending sports, of any kind, on Sunday, was also taboo.
Reading the newspaper on Sunday was forbidden. Even to have the newspaper delivered to our house on Sunday was a very bad thing. I can remember one Sunday when the paper was accidentally left on our front porch. My mom made this remark as she hurriedly went out to retrieve the paper, “Oh, what will the neighbor’s think?!” Comic books were also not to be read on Sunday!
Buying on Sunday was a big no-no. If we bought on Sunday it caused people to have to work on Sunday! Only in an emergency could we go to a store, to buy medicine, if someone got sick.
Eating out on Sunday was also a big no-no. Mother worked hard every Sunday morning to fix a big Sunday dinner and have it ready when we arrived home from church. We often had company over for dinner. It didn’t seem to matter that she had to work to get dinner ready, plus have the family ready for Sunday School, on time! This carried on into my own life as a wife and mother. We always had a big dinner, usually a nice pot roast. Everyone was dressed up and we were never late. I often walked into church exhausted and I’m sure my mother did too.
Bowling, playing pool, mixed swimming were all forbidden. I’ve already written about other activities we weren’t allowed to do. I know of a teenager who got a job in a bowling alley setting the pins up after each player threw the ball. He didn’t bowl, he only worked there. His family needed him to work because his dad was very sick with cancer. He was told by the church, that he couldn’t keep his job if he wanted to join the church! He never joined. He attended and raised his family in the church but never joined. It had left a bitter taste.
Doing yard work, working on a car or washing our car, cleaning the house, washing clothes and hanging them outside on the clothes line, were never done on Sunday. Sunday was a day of relaxation and rest.
Today all of these issues are gone. Sports are enjoyed and played on Sunday. If a game is scheduled during church hours the game seems to take precedence. I admit to having a problem with this today.
Buying on Sunday is no longer frowned upon. Shopping is often a Sunday family activity. Going out for dinner on Sunday is a favorite time to eat out!
Bowling, pool, swimming are all fun activities enjoyed by all ages.
What brought about the changes? Life and times change. But weren’t those rules important? Why did we have obey them as children and teenagers?
I feel a real freedom today. I’m no longer bound down by rules. I’ll be 75 this year! It’s taken a life time for me to get beyond the rigid rules I grew up with. I think we need to be sensitive of folks who haven’t experienced this freedom. The important thing for me is to keep in close communication with the Holy Spirit. He is my guide. Jesus is my personal Savior.