When I was just five, I made a conscious choice to become a Christian. My young mind and heart soaked in the moisture of spirituality. I was primed to bring out the water I drank.
At 8, a new pastor was installed at our little country Baptist church. He taught me to be a ‘witness’ of the Gospel. That meant it was my duty as a born again Christian to persuade others to believe what I believe. I was introduced, therefore, to my first measuring stick of spirituality: possessing the courage to tell others the Truth of scripture.
Perhaps that scares you. It saddens me now, but it was all I knew. Yet in my maturity, I can glean from its good bits and allow the chaff to to dispersed in the wind.
My first four years of primary education were expended inside a little two-room schoolhouse of Berville. The locals call the village ‘Beer’-ville. It was smaller than a small town. Beside the school, there was one business, one dairy, a facility for the Lions Club, and a ‘hotel’, the local pub. Fifty or so houses still surround the afore mentioned buildings to house its community.
The school no longer exists. The American Veterans now have the land, but tore down the two-storied school building. For a long time, I viewed its demise as a small reward for harbouring my initial persecution.
In my third year of Berville school, I began to practise ‘witnessing’. Out of 60 odd
students, I led 3 or 4 to Christ. I remember the names of two of them. John moved before the year was out. He was my first ‘best friend’. I never did know to where he moved nor where he is at today. Bob later became a Jehovah’s Witness and worked inside the Headquarters for the Watchtower Society in New York. That’s a twist!
I was appointed the leader of a sect within the school. I was the teacher of ‘witnessing’. I led the troops into battle during recess. The playground was our battle ground. We set out to win the lot over to Christ! But we never got by Edgar. His rebuttal to our attack led to my court-martial.
Our group had prayed together and believed it was of God that we teach Edgar how to become a Christian. Edgar was Catholic. In those days, they didn’t like being called Christians.
Edgar believed in evolution—or more accurately in the authorities who espouse the philosophy. It is a philosophy, not a science. How do I know? Because after Edgar rejected our Gospel ‘witness’ and I parroted my pastor: ‘Evolutionists are out of their skulls!’ recess was over and we began Social Studies.
The teacher began the class just after the aforementioned recess by having us read silently the next section in the textbook. After we read the section, she was going to expound its contents.
The reading was about Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.
It was introduced to me as a philosophy, not a science. I still believe it is such.
‘Psst. Tim—what are you going to do? Are you going to read it?’
That was one of my followers. I can’t disappoint him, but nor could I encourage rebellion.
‘Of course. It’ll be good for a laugh.’
The laugh was on me. After the appointed time to read was ended, the teacher asked if their were any questions. Edgar stood up. I went stiff.
‘Mrs Winnie, Tim Rose says evolutionists are out of their skulls’.
My young world joined forces to smother me.
Mrs Winnie turned a bitter gaze in my direction. My classmates stared at me with curiosity. I don’t remember if I was asked to defend myself. I do remember my response. I stood trembling next to my desk. I lifted its top and pulled out my bible.
I read the Genesis account of Creation.
If only I would have realised that most of my classmates were happy with my response. I never knew until years later. I lost my confidence for many years after. It disappeared in the midst of the humiliation that followed.
Time for recess. Everyone got to go out and play but Tim Rose. Teacher pulled him into the back room. Many words were said. Most forgotten but the one stipulation to join his classmates on the playground were never forgotten:
‘Don’t let me EVER hear you read from that bible in my classroom again!’