Sep 14, 2013

Spring 1977: A Nude Conversation with the Preacher's Son

Every four years, the Nazarene Young People's Society held an International Institute, where selected Nazarene teenagers from around the world gathered to "deepen their spiritual witness" and "spread the Word of God."  In 1977, just after my junior year in high school, it was to be held in Fiesch, Switzerland.

Five teens would be chosen from the Northwest Illinois District, where there were over 2,000 Nazarenes. Maybe 200 teens would apply. My chances were 1 in 40.

I was determined to be selected.

1. I became a Johnny Nazarene, going to everything, even activities that most teens avoided: prayer meeting, choir, missionary society.  I sang in front of the church twice.

2. I went down to the altar regularly.

3. I applied for early admission to Olivet, our Bible College on the prairie.  Mostly because Verne, the preacher's son and my sort-of boyfriend (as long as there were girls around), was planning to go next fall.  It offered 30 majors, but everyone assumed that I would be studying to become a preacher, evangelist, minister of music, or missionary.

 The strategy worked: in March 1977, the District announced the names of the delegates, and I was #1.

As the days and weeks of my junior year at Rocky High passed, Verne began to conjure an idyllic future for us.  We would be roommates at Olivet, of course, and take lots of the same classes. He would play football, and I would be an athletic trainer.

The rest of the story, with uncensored photos, is on Tales of West Hollywood.