I got a red star from Salon. Cool.
The original letter can be found here:
Pancakes and Scooby-Doo
When I was around 13, I became a Jesus Freak after a beautifully odd week away at church camp. When I got home, I tearfully convinced my hell-bound family that they must start going to church. Every Sunday, I woke everybody up, herded them into the VW van and my dad drove us all to the non-denominational services held at the chapel on the military base where we lived.
My family was pretty good-natured about the whole thing. My siblings were all like, "That's cool." And in a rare instance of good parenting, my mother and father honored my new righteousness and bought me the white leather bible with the gold leaf pages and the quotes from Jesus in red ink(strangely, it also came with a lock and a tiny gold key, like a diary). After church, we'd sometimes go on a long drive with all the windows down and the sunroof open, all of us gazing silently out at the passing scenery, the wind in our faces.
As happy as they were to oblige me, it was still a chore to get everone up and dressed and out in time for church. One Sunday morning, I woke up, rolled over and thought, "Meh." I flipped on the TV and Scooby-Doo was on. My little brother drifted in and plopped down at his spot two feet from the television screen. My father smoked cigarettes while he made pancakes and as usual, got ashes in the syrup.
And just like that, it was over.
LW should take Cary's advice. I laid awake many, many nights sobbing into my pillow about how much I would miss my mother when I was in heaven and she was in hell. My terror at my family's imminent damnation was real. But it didn't scar me for life. Ridicule or intolerance would have.
Now, I check the box that says, "Spiritual but not religious". I go to church for weddings and such and after 9/11, I went to the Unitarian church and said a prayer.
I read the bible sometimes. It's great source material for my novel and Psalms and Proverbs and the Song of Solomon are achingly poetic.
I still have the white leather bible. Most of the gilt rubbed off and I'd inked little hearts by the red Jesus words. In the notes sections in the back, under my fervent prayers and dutiful bible study homework is written, "Please, God. Let Michael H. kiss me."