I was writing about some mental crises I faced when I was four and five years sober. They sent me back to the steps, and to a thorough reading of steps one, two and three and then my first formal fourth and fifth steps.
I had gotten married in the church of my upbringing, the Lutheran church. After my forced confirmation, I had only been to church a few times. I had Erika baptized when she was almost four months old, and again, I hadn’t gone back.
After Nicholas was born, he got the chicken pox at ten days old. There was a chance he wouldn’t make it, and his Catholic grandparents wanted us to get him baptized, just in case. I wanted to do it around the fourth of July, when I planned a trip back home. They said we should do the baptism, and have the party back home.
I thought long and hard about it, and I just couldn’t accept that God would not let this mite into heaven because he hadn’t been through the ritual of baptism. And I didn’t have it done.
Instead I did it on the fourth of July visit, and Erika was almost three years old. The pastor told me at that time that at Erika’s baptism I had promised to take her to church, and that she would begin Sunday school in September.
This was 1988, and I couldn’t use the internet to research anything. I got some book out of the library, and I looked into the state of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America at that time. Social issues were very important to me. It was also important that the church treat the sexes equally. I did not want my daughter or my son to hear that women could only do certain things, but not others. I also didn’t want them to hear any kind of anything against any group of people, like those with AIDS, or who had abortions.
I had left the church vowing not to return. I had turned to prayer in desperation after many failed attempts at AA. I had come to believe in a higher power that could restore me to sanity. I appreciated the Christian tradition and the basic teachings of Jesus as I understood them. I did not believe in the “sacraments” or that some mystical magical power came from sacraments, prayer, or any other worldly intervention.
AA had opened my mind a good bit. I believe the truth written in the Big Book that as much as I could criticize religious people, many or most of them had it much more together than I did. I thought the church experience and education would be good for my children, if only to give them something to rebel against. I went back to church.