I will praise thee for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalms 139:14
I'm a practicing Buddhist, but I grew up as an only child in a quietly pious Christian home and within the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest independent denomination among black churches, founded in 1816 by Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia. Faith was simply part of the fibre of our black American lives in the 1950s. The central lived "locations" of my early childhood were three: home, where I had loving, supportive, and unselfish parents; Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, where I embraced a religion that was two millennia old and shaped every aspect of Western civilization; and Noyes Elementary School, where the teachers in that integrated institution were first-rate, as they would be when I went to Evanston Township High School (it was often rated in the 1960s as the #1 public high school in America.) All three of these places were within short walking distance, and symbiotically nurtured each other.