At 23, I was handed the keys to a pastor’s office for the first time. I remember the idealism leading up to the moment the key went in the door. This was a small church trying to find its way, and I was full of vigour, vision, and a healthy dose of naivety.
The first church that had to endure me as pastor was a gracious lot. I was 23 years old, idealistic, and sure my convictions were right. I had been raised in a Mennonite church, steeped like grandma’s canned cinnamon crab apples (don’t knock ‘em till you’ve tried ‘em!) in a particular brand of Anabaptism and unaware how much I had to unlearn.
I grew up in southwestern Ontario where – by my childish observations – most everyone was religious, or at least made excuses if they weren’t. The statistics verify my early mastery of sociology. A recent Globe and Mail article (“Canada Marching Away From Religion to Secularization,” December 11, 2010) notes, “Before 1971, less than 1 per cent of Canadians ticked the ‘no religion’ box on national surveys. Two generations later, nearly a quarter of the population, or 23 per cent, say they aren’t religious.”