A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Heaven Is In Your Mind (#atozchallenge)

Traffic   "Heaven Is In Your Mind"  (1967)

Heaven Is In Your Mind

        When I was seven years of age my family moved to a duplex in the Penn Hills area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.   Practically in our backyard was a tiny Free Methodist Church which became the church we not only began to attend on Sundays, but it became the focal point of my social life.  The pastor gave me my very first personal copy of a Bible which I still have in my possession.  This began my lifetime spiritual journey.

        My father was deeply interested in the Bible and all things related to Jesus and seemed very pleased about the interest which I took in the church.  We had never been involved in any church up to that time although my father frequently read from and quoted passages from the Bible.  In our first Christmas at that house--this would have been the Christmas of 1958--my father gave me a two volume book set concerning Bible commentary and history and an art book with paintings depicting scenes from the Bible.   I spent many hours with these books and the Bible given to me by the church pastor.

         These studies stayed with me throughout my life, having a great influence on my thinking and my actions.  We moved from Pennsylvania the following year and relocated first in San Diego, California; then Crown Point, Indiana; and finally Maryville, Tennessee.  Often our family attended church, but sometimes there would be lapses.  Through the years matters concerning God, the Bible, and Heaven were always in my mind.

         Even in my wilder days of college and some years after I was never far from my spiritual side.  I always maintained some limits.   I still dreamed of some future place where absolute goodness reigned.  I suppose once Heaven is in your mind it's difficult to get it out.

          Were you involved in any sort of religious activity as a child?   Did spiritual matters ever enter your mind when you were young?   How has your outlook towards spirituality changed since becoming an adult?

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  1. Me too on, even in my wilder times, I wasn't far from my spiritual side--nor God.

    I often have people say things like religion was a bad experience for them--harshness as a child or it was too constricting. I didn't have that experience. My family was all about doing the right thing versus wrong, but God was never used as a tool to make me fit in a box. MY experience with God's law and love is all about a relationship. I let my love for Him guide my actions and reactions in life.

    Too long. sorry.

  2. Hmm. Some, but not a lot. We hardly notice religion days here.

  3. First of all, GREAT SONG! As you already know, LEE, we share a strong appreciation for the music of Traffic. I was introduced to it in 1977, during my 'Rock Poetry' class in high school (best high school class EVER!) I immediately went out and purchased the album 'Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys'. Also purchased several other Traffic albums shortly afterwards, and I have had some of Traffic's music in my collection ever since.

    Favorite songs? Wow! Hard to say, there are so many that stand out. Certainly 'Rock And Roll Stew' is amongst them. The previously mentioned 'Low Spark...', 'Light Up Or Leave Me Alone', '40,000 Headmen', 'Medicated Goo', and of course 'Heaven Is In Your Mind' also, and... just too many to mention. Without question one of the best bands of the 1960s and early '70s.

    >>... Were you involved in any sort of religious activity as a child? Did spiritual matters ever enter your mind when you were young?

    Well, we were twice-a-year church-goin' people: Christmas (sometimes) and Easter.

    I was born very spiritually-minded but it took quite a few years to realize that fact. Eventually (as I've said before), Jesus literally Baptized me with the Holy Spirit in a supernatural experience. It's all been downhill since then. Ha!

    >>... How has your outlook towards spirituality changed since becoming an adult?

    Oh, you don't really wanna open that can of sardine-eating whales.

    LEE, I am so glad you directed me to this 'A To Z' blog bit series because I am TRULY enjoying it. This was a great 'A To Z' concept!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  4. Teresa -- Never too long if you're referring to your comment. Usually the ones I've heard complain about childhood experiences that were unpleasant were dealing with austere overly rigid influence from the church. They were apparently taught about the wrong things in the wrong way. My experience was mostly from a learning standpoint. My curiosity was piqued and I wanted to know more.

    Sonia -- I suppose it has to do with your community or your awareness. I know there are many active religions in India with strong communities of involvement. And I guess personal awareness has a lot to do with things.


  5. StMc -- I thought you might appreciate this series with your love of music and with some similarities in our backgrounds and outlook.

    Traffic is one of my favorite groups. They were so diverse and evolved in an interesting way. The individual members also went off to do some interesting things. I've mentioned about how I like a "raunchy" sax sound and this song definitely has that.

    My family would have on/off phases of church going. Funny thing was that Christmas and Easter were the days when we often did not go to church. I would get annoyed when our Sunday school classes were more about playing games and goofing off. I was there for learning and didn't care about the fun part. I had fun most of the time when I wasn't in church and I didn't have to have fun all the time.

    Glad you're enjoying this series. Since this is my memoir blog I thought it would be best to write memoir.


  6. I was raised Catholic but we weren't the stereotypical Italian Catholics. I went to Sunday School in order to receive the sacraments as far as confirmation when I was 14. I seem to have blocked all religious instruction b/c I have no memory of Sunday school except for sitting in the church and spacing out looking at the stained glass windows. After age 14, I was a Christmas Catholic, only going on Christmas Eve. Occasionally during Lent and Easter. My dad was quietly devout and went every week. My mom, not so much. Now I consider myself an atheist.

  7. How awesome. My parents were from the same area. My dad graduated from Penn hills High. :-)

    As for religion, I grew up in a Catholic environment. My mind is analytical and likes to explain the unexplainable. I questioned everything and the Catholic church doesn't like thay. The old I get. The more I figure that science and religion are intertwined. I figure that science is the language of God. We are but children trying ro learn that language. :-)

    Thanks for sharing
    Jamie Dement (LadyJai)
    Caring for my Veteran
    My A to Z

  8. It's good to have had Bible studies growing up. Sometimes as we grow, we get lost. But some how we find our way back.

  9. I'm one of those folks who feels deeply spiritual but attends church services once every blue moon or so. Our church attendance was pretty spotty when I was a kid, too. Somewhere along the line, though, I figured out the power of prayer and that's a good thing.

  10. JoJo-- I don't remember a lot of specifics about church and Sunday school either. I could never be an atheist as God has been in my life too much and the evidence of God's existence is everywhere for me.

    Jamie -- I like that view of science. When I went back to Penn Hills this past summer (after about 30 years) I saw that the elementary school I had attended was now expanded to be the high school, but probably not the school your dad attended.

    Shelly -- I think of the Proverb that says something about raising up a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it as an adult.

    Patricia -- Prayer can get us through very difficult times if done correctly.



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Arlee Bird