Pearl of great price: A girl claims her faith

According to family lore, my mother said that she didn't go to church because she was a Quaker. But when a Quaker meeting came to the rural town where we lived and her parents drew attention to the fact that she still didn't go to church, she finally confessed that she was an agnostic. By that time my grandparents had settled into a Presbyterian church while my father attended an Episcopal church with us kids. My mother stayed home to take a bath and read the Sunday paper.

Yet my mother insisted that we go to church. "You can accept or reject religion when you are adults, but if you don't have exposure to it, you won't know what you're accepting or rejecting." She was horrified, however, when in early adulthood I not only accepted religion but also made the church my life. Her argument: you are rejecting other religions if you choose Christianity, and you are too intelligent to choose Christianity!

I agreed that Christianity was an imperfect choice. But I didn't accept her argument. I had to choose a Way or I wouldn't get anywhere. Say that I wanted to get to Bos­ton, I said; going by train ­doesn't mean I didn't appreciate automobiles, airplanes or bikes.