My dad, John Lamos was a pastor in a city church in Springfield, Ma. The church wasn’t located in the suburbs but in a multi racial inner city neighbourhood. He was raised in an Adirondack Mountain town in New York State called “Long Lake”. So, he brought his hard working blue collar attitude and his “fight to the death” loyalty to family and friends attitude to our city life.
It is hard to imagine today, but he was a full-time Junior High School teacher in a town about a 20 minute drive from our house and he served as a pastor in his “free time”. Oh and he was a husband and a father to five children… Darlene, Darrell, Dawn, Danny (or Dana depending on whether we were at a school event or not) and Doreen.
For my dad, mom and our family, God was in charge of it all. And like most Christians living in New England in those times, we understood God through our religion. Ah Religion… that Goliath of a giant is another story that we will get to another day.
From my earliest memories, I have believed that God exists and loves all of His creation. I have known that He created humans as the only creatures that could choose whether or not we would live the way He does and choose not to violate any of the house rules of the universe. Pretty heavy stuff for a little kid, right?
I also have known that Adam & Eve and all of the rest of us can’t seem to help ourselves and we break the house rules pretty much every day.
Here’s where it got freaky and scary for me. This might take me some time to sort through, so please be patient…
Remember this is a story and not a text book on Theology.
As a young boy I believed in heaven and in Jesus, God’s Son. I knew that He was “standing at the door of my heart” knocking in hopes of being invited in. That didn’t seem right to me to leave him out in the dark and cold night. So, as a young boy I invited Him in. That was awesome! The bible promised me that He would come right in, hang out with me and even eat with me. I always hoped that he would bring something amazing to eat, like popcorn and Chocolate Almond Chip Ice Cream or something like that.
But, I also knew His Father. Together they were kind of confusing to me. His Father would never stand at the door and knock. He would probably blow the door in or just walk in whenever He wanted. What He said was the rule and I was required to ask “How high?” whenever He said “Jump”! Somehow I felt that Jesus understood this and would be there as my older brother and buddy to help me deal with His dad and the rest of life.
I didn’t really get what heaven was going to be like. But, I pretty much figured my family would be there and they would work it out and I would be fine as long as I stayed with them and of course, my dad and Jesus would take care of us.
I also wasn’t convinced I was going to like heaven with an eternity long church worship service. After 10,000 years we would still be singing Amazing Grace… Wow! I was afraid that was going to be a little much for me!
And then there was hell…
to be continued