I read very few blogs, but Addie Zierman‘s is one I love. She is an incredibly talented writer whose new memoir, When We Were on Fire is her story about growing up in an evangelical church, in the “strange us-versus-them world of the 90′s Christian subculture, where your faith was measured by how many WWJD bracelets you wore and whether or not you’d “kissed dating goodbye.” I can’t wait to read this account of her journey in and out of the evangelical church. Today she’s hosting a synchroblog, inviting others to write of their experience of being on fire for Jesus. Mine, growing up a suburb of Chicago, was quite different from hers…
I was in high school in the 70’s before “WWJD”, but when “Jesus Freaks” were still a thing.
We weren’t cool enough to earn that title, but not clueless enough to be weird. A friend of mine wrote in the cover of his Bible, “No more Bozo’s for Jesus.” We just tried not to be “them”. We fell somewhere between Freaks and Bozos.
The extent of our Jesus freakout was that our youth group went to the downtown Chicago theater productions of Godspell and (subversively) Jesus Christ Superstar. And we carried our The Way Living Translations of the Bible to school on mornings when we had Bible study.
With the awe and fervor of new found faith, like a scientist discovering a new planet, we wanted to run up to others, shake them and yell “Have you heard??!!! Isn’t it amazing??!!” and “Do you know about this earth-shattering-stinkin’-awesome grace stuff?”, but we tried not to pounce.
We lurched forward, fell down, and stumbled our way towards owning our faith and finding authentic ways to express ourselves.
Then one day, we were on a Young Life ski trip heading north to Whitecap, Wisconsin. A jumble of hormonal teens, all arms and legs and acne, some new to faith, some desperately confused, all self-conscious and insecure. Continue reading