For several years Lynn Johnston’s strip “For Better or For Worse” has been among the most popular in the world. In the following quote from her most recent book Something Old, Something New she reflects on why she stopped going to church at the age of eight:
“I was raised in the Anglican faith and went to church every Sunday until I was old enough to rebel. The day I stopped going was an Easter Sunday. It was a spectacular, clear, sunny morning. Daffodils and crocus were in bloom. I walked with my mother to St. John’s church in a blue and white outfit she’d made for me. In the cool interior of St. John’s, everyone looked forward to a message of hope and joy. Instead, we were told we were all sinners; we were all responsible for the torture and death of a holy man. I was eight years old. I hadn’t killed anyone. We went out into the sunshine and I vowed never to go back. That night, I prayed to God to let me marry a minister so I could write his sermons. I wanted to say positive things instead of negative. I wanted people to smile. I still attend services, but at the United Church–and only twice a year.” (Something Old, Something New, 145)
This passage prompts two observations. First, it is a pretty ineffective Easter sermon that comes away sounding like bad news. Second, it is a very independent eight year old that can make a decision that she’s not going to attend church anymore.