Vacation Bible School


Neither of my parents was a churchgoer. We were, in general, scornful of people who went to church. I don’t recall why exactly.



But, about two weeks after regular school let out, the local church (a generic Protestant denomination) held Vacation Bible School for a week.



I went several times, and I adored it. I loved memorizing Bible verses, and making crafts with coffee-cans and macaroni and papier-mache, and eating lunch outside.



I even took it to heart once or twice. One of our memorization verses was Jesus saying “Fear not,” and I remember saying it to myself when I was frightened once or twice, and it helped, for some reason.



I was young and credulous. I liked the “school” part of this, and I wasn’t terribly receptive to the religion part, but then again maybe I was. Several of the Bible School teachers saw me as an eligible convert and gave me all kinds of books, some of which I still have: Bible guides and such.



Here’s my problem: I love the feeling of belief, but I don’t really believe the doctrine. I don’t believe that the creator of the universe entered into a man two thousand years ago, just to make a point. I don’t believe that Old Testament doctrine is superior to any other religion doctrine (although some of it is very profound).



I miss the calm serene feeling that Vacation Bible School gave me, when everything was nice and orderly.



But I’m afraid I’ll never be able to feel that way again.

About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

5 Responses to Vacation Bible School

  1. I also went to VBC and had much the same feeling.

  2. Oops. VBS. Also went to Bible camp.

  3. starproms says:

    We don’t have VBS in England but I have seen it when I’ve been living in the US and admire the idea very much. Over here we have Sunday School. In fact I was a Sunday School teacher myself for 8 years and loved it. Of course Sunday School is not the same thing at all but it gave me the same feelings as you describe. I tried very hard to recreate that feeling when I was teaching.
    I believe that every good thing we teach to children will not be wasted. I love that you say to yourself ‘Fear Not’. when I was a child I used to say ‘Jesus is your friend’ when I was frightened. It helped.
    It is hard to believe all the doctrines of the church, yes. In our more enlightened days we need to wonder about that but if it brings comfort then there is nothing wrong in that, is there.

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