I spoke with a friend of mine who is seriously considering Judaism.
She told me that she had been baptized and confirmed as a Episcopalian, one of the most liberal Christian denominations I know about.
I had to tape and transcribe her remarks because I could not believe what I was hearing,
" Things were OK when my father and mother had good jobs and the money was coming in, but then my father quit his job and moved the family to Tyler, Texas. He had been very active as a Lay Reader and the Father wanted to help him go to the Episcopal Seminary and train to be a priest -- but my mother was having none of it.
"After we moved, my father tried to have his own business selling little trinkets and knick knacks and the main support of the family was my mother which she resented. She was having to work overtime. My father was out of town a lot as well. Coming home to an empty house when you are a 12 and 13-year old and you have just left a town where you had friends and knew everyone, well, that was the bad part, the loneliness.
"My mother thought I should be getting religious instruction and that meant church. She had to work on Sunday, so my father made sure I was dressed nice, loaded me up in the car and dumped me out at the Church right there amongst all those strangers.And then, he left. I wasn't sure how I was going to get back home if he forgot to come and get me. I had been confirmed and I knew how to act.
"SI sat in in the back, by myself and nobody spoke to me. I think this was the 11:00 a.m. service. I sang, I knelt, I prayed and then I went up to get Holy Communion. I guess that is what gave away I was alone.
"after the service, I was approached by three or four deacons and they asked me where my parents were. They also asked me if I was related to anyone who attended this church. They asked me if my parents were Episcopalian and whether or not they would come and pay their tithe because I could not attend services there unless they did.
"I was mortified and wanted the ground to open and swallow me up.
"I walked all the way home, getting lost a few times, and my Dad was asleep and my mother was pulling another double shift. The Episcopal Church was the only Church I had ever known and where was I going to go and I wondered if I was going to go to hell because I had been asked to leave.
"They did not seem to want strange kids there,regardless if they had been baptized and confirmed there, especially if they were girls.
"I dreaded the weekend. My Dad got up and started yelling at me and he loaded me up in the car and dumped me out at that Church again. I tried to tell him what they said to me, but he thought I was lying to get out of going. As soon as he left, I made sure nobody was watching and I walked back home. I was not going to be humiliated again. They might have even called the cops and charged my parents with neglect. And I wondered why God hated me so much and if Jesus really did love the little children, why was I being treated like a bum. I walked back enjoying the sunshine and thought it was too bad that God had to be in that lousy, hateful place when He was missing the wonders of His creation.
" The next Sunday, I hid under my bed and my Dad went back to sleep.
"We moved again before I even had time to make any friends i and we went to Galveston where the only people who were nice to me were the Reform Jews who invited me to be a guest at their Temple but my parents said I was not a Jew and I wasn't supposed to have anything to do with Jews because they exploited Gentiles.
" Before I was forced to attend another Episcopal Church, we moved to Houston and they wanted me to go to Saint Thomas. I was in Youth Group and it met in the mansions of various members. I remember seeing an organ which was there and I asked the owner of the house if I could play it because the other kids were all ignoring me. I played several Bach fugues and some Concertos and the young person who had been hosting the event came up from the rumpus room, saw me playing and his parents and grandparents listening and he came up to me and grabbed one of my fingers and told me that it was time for me to stop playing and I would have to leave because he didn't want me there anyway. While his parents were telling him how rude he was, I left and that was the end of my attendance there.
"Shortly afterward, we moved again to Austin,Texas as my father had gotten a State job. Once again, it was Episcopal Church and It was Church of the Resurrection where the priest had been an opera singer and encouraged me to sing in the choir. The Youth Group events were still held at private homes and I was still the odd duck out. Nobody wanted anything to do with me there and since the first and only event I attended was at a dog kennel, I played with the Jack Russell terriers, counting microseconds until someone from my family came and picked me up.The family attended there on an irregular basis then, my parents divorced. When I got married, though, it had to be St. George's Episcopal Church and we moved to Dallas shortly thereafter.
"There were money issues and fidelity issues and he walked out. Of course, I went to the Episcopal Church to pray about it. He left me with an old wreck which the parking lot valets at St. Luke's Church refused to let on their parking lot. You think I would have learned by now, but I was baptized and confirmed here and I thought that meant I belonged here -- I mean, everybody has to belong somewhere, right?
"Services had not yet started but the smug, well-dressed wealthy parishioners stared at me like I was a ragged beggar who was drinking out of the punch bowl at a royal wedding. I was dressed nicely in a suit and mantilla and small heeled shoes. So I can't understand the reaction. I went through the service like an automaton but could not talk to the priest or anyone else so I gave up and went home.
"I came back to Austin and tried to attend an Easter service, but my old home church had no one left who remembered me and I finally had enough and I have not been back since!
" I thought about how nice the Reform Jewish kids had been to me, and made me feel wanted, like I would be welcome at their place so can I come to services with you on Friday night?"
What is wrong with Episcopalians?!
Jews, 1. Episcopalians, 0.