Peter, Matthew, and John

My dad was in the service, so we moved a lot. And part of integrating into a new community, at least 30 or so years ago, is going to church. My parents didn’t go to church, for various reasons, but little girls sleep over with little girls, so I often ended up in church on Sunday, after a Saturday night sleepover.

By age 13, I had probably visited every Protestant tradition in the US. At 17, I’d prayed at Buddhist temples in Japan. Pagan, Catholic, Russian and Eastern Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim… in one way or another, I’ve ended up in a strange place on a strange day.

But the weirdest were the Evangelical Christians. They chop up the bible and set the excerpts to music, put on concerts and puppet shows, indoctrinate and subvert. Do they still give away candy? I went back to the California megachurch week after week for the grab-bag of Pixie Stix–it was just like the doctor’s office, I thought. Candy and boredom.

And yet, for a long while, I wanted to be a nun. Silence, poverty, and chastity. How appealing! Who doesn’t want to live that way? It turns out, not so many. Also, it turns out that I have problems with authority, so obedience is right out.

In many ways, I’ve made my life over into a secular convent. For all intents and purposes, according to the Catholic Church, I am a nun. Except, of course, for the wee, little detail of not being a Christian, much less Catholic. How strange.


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