Tuesday, March 6, 2007
The Bulthuis/Eide Clan
My family has been the most important influence on my life. My parents have been happily married for almost 30 years. I have two brothers, one older and one younger. Being the middle child reinforced my ability to both learn from my older brother and teach my younger brother. The first major “growth spurt” in my faith occurred when my brother returned from Challenge a youth conference that our denomination puts on for the whole nation. Bjørn came back from that experience as a completely new person. He and his friends had learned that they were not living the way God wanted them to. God wanted them to be different; to act, talk, and think differently. Bjørn and his friends took on this challenge in their schools and at our church’s youth group, changing them in many ways. It may seem like I am digressing from my own story, but this tangent had a tremendous impact on my life. Like every little brother I always imitated my older brother. So when he came back completely changed it meant I was in for an overhaul as well. However, it was mostly just imitation. I would later realize that I was just doing the “churchy” thing to look like my brother and his cool friends.
My extended family has also been quite significant to me. My father was born and raised in Nigeria to missionary parents. He later moved to the United States and was raised in the Dutch Reformed tradition in a small Dutch town called Lynden, Washington. The Christian Reformed background of my dad’s family always struck me lightly. I would attend the Reformed services and hear the beliefs of my opinionated grandfather, but most of it seemed pretty removed from me because I knew I was being raised in a separate tradition. Still, the Christian Reformed ideals that remained imprinted on my dad surely have impacted me in subtle ways.
My mom’s family also grew up in Lynden, Washington. The Eides live on an unused farm that I spent several vacations living on. Throughout these constant visits, I have become very close to my two cousins Zac and Mikal. The three of us have battled between our mischievous desires and our Godly parents, aunts, and uncles, to form our moral foundation. The time I spent with the Eides was a time to question my moral, ethical, and social values because I was out of my normal context. Of course my loving aunts, uncles and cousins always steered me in the right direction; at least, according to our evangelical background . . .