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15 Signs You Were Raised in the Christian Subculture

Tucked in a dark corner of our basement storage room, there is a big, clear Rubbermaid container stuffed with the artifacts of my youth. It’s so full that the lid doesn’t close all the way, which isn’t great. But still, I somehow managed to get it down to one box. That’s something.

I went down and dug the whole thing out a few weeks ago. It occurred to me as I dug through the remnants of my own evangelical youth that there is an entire subset of us that operate from a distinct cultural plane.

I’m talking about the children of the late ’70s, the ’80s, and early ’90s who were raised less in the fluorescence of American pop culture than in the soft glow of the Christian subculture.

Like our secular peers, we wore Zubaz, poet shirts and big, hot pink hair scrunchies…but we also wore Jesus fish charms, WWJD bracelets, and T-shirts with catchy Christian slogans.

We remember, of course, Ace of Base and New Kids on the Block, but our musical foundation was formed by Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, dc Talk, and the Newsboys. We were not allowed to buy those smutty teen magazines, so we were the ones who read Focus on the Family’s Brio and Breakaway instead.

So for all who spent their formative years straddling two cultures, a list:

Note: I realize this list is hopelessly skewed to the female experience. It’s because I’m a girl.

You know you were raised in the Christian subculture if…

You had more than one Bible, at least one of them written specifically for “teens.” (Bonus points if the cover sported fluorescent colors and/or spiral shapes. Double bonus points if you ever wrapped one of said Bibles in duct tape to be “alternative.”)

You picked up the photo of a Compassion kid at some Christian concert with the best of intentions. (Your parents are still making that monthly donation.)

You’ve ever thought about building that marble maze/pencil sharpening contraption from the beginning of the McGee and Me videos.

You signed up for Sound & Spirit Music Club, even though your parents warned you that you’d forget to send that Phillips, Craig, & Dean CD back and wind up paying for it. (Thanks to my friend Carra Carr for this one. For the record, she still has that CD.)

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Addie Zierman (@addiezierman) is a writer, mom, and Diet Coke enthusiast. She blogs twice a week at How to Talk Evangelical, where she's working to redefine faith one cliche at a time.