I became a Presbyterian, one of God’s frozen people, before I was two years old. I went every Sunday to the little ARP (Associate Reformed Presbyterian) Church; until I was five maybe I went to the basement where Sunday school was. But after that I had to go upstairs and sit with the adults through the service. About the only thing to look forward to was the singing. So as soon as I sat down I would check the page numbers up on the bulletin board sort of thing and see what songs were on for that day.
When we got to California my parents decided I should go to catechism class. I had no idea what that was for, except that it had something to do with being a Presbyterian. My parents never bothered to explain a damn thing to me, and I had learned long before that asking them to explain an order was a sure fire way to get into hot water. And I didn’t mind all that much. It was on a Saturday morning, the walk there was about a mile and a mile back, and plus the class. So if I fudged a little I could stay out of that stinking house for about two hours. Not bad.
I was worried though that I would have to sit down in front of that red-faced Minister and answer tough questions like why do you want to be a Presbyterian, or what does it mean to be a Presbyterian, or how is a Presbyterian different from a Baptist. I didn’t have answers to any of those questions, so when I got there I was relieved to see (of course, why didn’t I think of that) at least a half dozen other boys and girls were there and the class wasn’t run by the minister but some pimply faced high school kid.
All that was involved really was reading and a little memorizing, and on the last day we met, the minister would come and talk to us a bit and we would be catechized, or whatever it was. I figured I would pass catechism class hands down.
One Saturday some women came. One of them was wearing a red dress. I don’t remember that sort of thing, so they must have really impressed me. They started talking about these other people who said they were Christians but really weren’t. These people were like sheep and when they went into the Church they would actually get on their knees before the top dog, and say the same words he did like they were robots. And when it came to communion, this top dog would drink actual wine, an alcoholic beverage, and moreover he would drink all the wine for all the people and after two or three services this guy would be drop dead drunk, rolling around and braying like an ass.
I had no idea what these ladies were talking about. But I figured I would look up the word, papist, when I got home