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Craig L Olson

Total live articles: 6

Member since: Mar 03, 2012

My earliest recollection was lying on a doctor's table staring into a bright light and screaming at the top of my lungs while he stitched my upper lip - a token of my younger sister's devilish delight in pushing me down the stairs while holding a butter knife. Things went downhill from there.

I am the oldest of five children from a Scandinavian family raised in the cold climes of Minnesota. My father was a self-styled ditch digger who operated equipment for the local gas utility in the frigid winters and hot summers of Minneapolis. He hailed from the small hamlet of Borup in northern Minnesota where he grew up on a farm with outdoor plumbing and a hand pump in the kitchen sink. My mother was from the neighboring burrough of Hendrum, Minnesota. They attended school in a one room schoolhouse that held grades 1 to 12. Their graduating class consisted of a handful of farm boys and girls from the surrounding communities.

Church had the most significant influence on me in my adolescence. I found Christ at a Billy Graham rally that I attended with my mother when I was twelve years old. She promptly moved the family from the Lutheran church we had been attending to an Evangelical Free Church where the pastor preached the gospel. My father was rough and tumble, smoking, drinking, swearing and hot tempered type. He came to faith much later. Over the ensuing years he became a much gentler man.

As the oldest child, I suffered the brunt of my father's wrath. I was eager to escape the domestic scene and left for Alaska with some friends from church when I was sixteen. I spent the summer at a Bible camp in the mountains just east of Anchorage, Alaska for the next four summers. There, three thousand miles from family, I was able to get grounded in my faith and set a direction for my life.

Over the next twenty years a series of personal crises left me questioning a church that always seemed to abandon me in times of trouble. From my study of the Bible, I knew that the early church had a reputation for brotherly love. Well, I definitely wasn't feeling the love. So I finally decided to do a little research on church history to see if maybe it was just me. What I discovered may surprise you.

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