I grew up in a big Southern city with a good Oldies station. Every Sunday morning, that station had a program called the Beatle Brunch. Perhaps you have heard of it.
When I was in maybe 5th grade or so, I had a good friend who loved the Beatles. (She still does, by the way. She even married a boy who, she says, looks like John Lennon.) We went to the same school and the same church - incidentally, these were the same place. And she would listen to the Beatle Brunch, getting ready for church and then on the way to it.
My family, we did not listen to the Beatle Brunch. At that time, we hardly listened to anything 'secular.' We had our New Life Christian radio station, and my mom's old Maranatha! praise tapes, and Gloria Estefan pretty much took care of everything else.
Not knowing much (read: anything) about the Beatles but knowing how much my friend enjoyed this particular band, one day I asked my mom if we could listen to the Beatle Brunch on the way to church. What followed was a 'teaching moment' had a profound impact on the following 10+ years of my life.
My mom more or less told me that no, we wouldn't be listening to the Beatle Brunch, that Sunday morning is holy and that we will be listening to praise music exclusively, so that we could prepare our hearts for worship.
(Aside: If you went to my church, you would probably need a moment to 'prepare' yourself, too. There aren't too many charismatic/fundamentalist/evangelical LCMS congregations out there.)
Now don't get me wrong. I am not criticizing my mom's response. Faith is very important to my family, and we 'do church' deliberately. Church, for my family, is Important, and we Take It Seriously as an Expression Of Our Faith. Taking a moment on the drive to church to gear yourself up to experience and participate more fully is, I think, a great idea. I still prefer to have a few minutes of silence to myself before any worship service starts. People today might call it a 'time to connect' or, maybe, a 'time to disconnect' from the 'outside distractions' or something like that. Surely you understand the benefit, whether or not you would choose it for yourself.
My takeaway from that teaching moment, however, was not that we need to center ourselves around a focus on God before we go into a church service. No, I absorbed something entirely different.
I came out of that conversation with a firm conviction that the Beatles are evil. (I didn't realize that, in 1993, the Beatles weren't really around anymore.)
You see, I was a very, very rule-oriented child. I was rigid in my interpretation of right and wrong. I firmly felt that there absolutely was absolute truth (I still feel that way) and that the world could be divided into Good and Bad. There was not much room for grey area with me.
I still even criticize my own handwriting because my cursive lower-case Ys and Gs don't have 'straight backs' - my grandmother once taught me that they're supposed to have straight backs and I have not, to this day, mastered that art.
I tried really hard to be a good Christian, as much as a lost little girl can when her home life was in near-constant turmoil. (YOU try to have a well-balanced adolescence while growing up with a perpetually sick mother and a father who'd moved to another country!) I guess I felt an intrinsic need for structure, for reliability and stability and something steady to be my foundation. (My room, however, was always a mess.)
I really wanted to know God's rules and obey them. (Why yes, I am a firstborn!) To me, the world was black and white, and that's just the way things were. I didn't approach everything with a critical eye - actually, very rarely did I come to my own conclusions about right and wrong. I ate up every ounce of instruction from my teachers and pastors, though. And I applied their teachings, and the Scriptures, with a wide stroke.
That's how I started at "our family will listen only to praise music on Sunday mornings" and arrived at "the Beatles are evil."
Read some further thoughts here.
Read some further thoughts here.