My maternal grandfather, M. B. Graham, was an evangelical Methodist preacher who for a time was assigned to a congregation in northern Indiana. A leader in that congregation was James Stackhouse. His son, Dale—my father—won scholarships to DePauw University and Boston University School of Theology and ended up being a minister and marrying the preacher's youngest daughter. So my nurture into Methodist piety, conservative and liberal, was charted from the start.
It was a loving, pious environment in which to grow up. My preacher grandfather built me a pulpit when I was three and encouraged me to preach (from the Methodist Hymnal; I was not qualified to preach from the Bible). My grandfather and father would debate my message, while the whole family loved singing whatever hymns I chose.