Friday, October 30, 2009

Finding Jesus by Sunday - Part Two

So we Vlaming brothers grew up, sporadically attending Sunday school as long as it was offered to us and then around the "grown-up" age of 15, I, being the older of the two, attended confirmation class.   Unlike Sunday school, where you could zone out, listening to the teacher read or watching a 16mm film depiction of some Bible story, confirmation class was a CLASS.  

It had an instructor (the youth minister) and a textbook.  Some of my fellow confirmationees were classmates from high school -- who never did a day of Sunday School time -- drawn by the fact that Colonial Church of Edina was a "cool" church.   Could they Do that?  Was it LEGAL?  Our textbook was GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MAN, a hipped-up telling of the New Testament, complete with stylized line drawing illustrations.  We read a lot and "rapped" a lot about what we read and then halfway through the year the REAL minister (with long, hip, salt and pepper hair)  
started lecturing us about the specifics of Congregationalism.

After the year of instruction was finished and with the big Confirmation ceremony approaching, we each had a one-on-one sit-down with the good Reverend.  Although we must have talked about other things, all I recall of the meeting was his final question to me.  THE ULTIMATE question.  The one all our hard work had been about: "Jeff," he asked in a quiet, serious voice, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior?"  The question threw me -- one of those, "This wasn't supposed to be on the test" moments.  And if I'd been in the presence of my peers, of the whole confirmation class my answer would have been different, but I wasn't -- I was sitting alone with Reverend Rouner, dead serious and so I answered just as seriously.  "No."  And the guy didn't blink or grimace or throw me out of the room.  He simply nodded and asked, "Do you think you could do that by Sunday?"  

Four days later, throughout the entire Confirmation ceremony I sweated bullets, certain that in the midst of the pomp and circumstance, Reverend Rouner would ask if I had come through on my end of the bargain.  That when I told him 'no' again, this time he would throw me out, in front of the whole congregation.  But he didn't ask and I got my little certificate and lightning didn't strike me on the way out of church.

As confirmation stories aren't the greatest party anecdotes, I kept this story to myself until years later when I related it to Jonathan-- who told me that he had the same EXACT confirmation experience with Rouner... right down to "Could you do it by Sunday...?"  

If there had been a third Brother Vlaming coming through the Colonial Church, I imagine the Reverend wouldn't even have bothered asking.  

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