I don't know much about Mennonites, though I've had a few friends. went to (quaker) high school with three sisters who all wore little nets on their heads. was friends with the one who was enough of a rebel to wear pants all the time instead of skirts.
I don't know that game
though friends of mine who are parents or work with kids play "little red schoolhouse" which is much the same and miraculously keeps kids quiet for a while (when it works) which cracks me up.
never been to quaker church. I'm from the liberal branch, and we call it meeting
Not entirely clear if all the "churches" have pastors, but we most definitely do not.
I'm interested in your move to atheism.
Well, as I said, it wasn't so much of a move, more just part of growing into myself. There was never a time when I believed, or when I prayed without feeling like I was play-acting (or, actually, prayed much at all, though I experimented with it a few times - I suppose I do something like praying now, but not really *to* anything)
So, when I was little, I guess I accepted what stories I was handed, but neither of my parents was too invested. My dad wouldn't let me go to first holy communion class at my catholic school (which meant sitting in the classroom alone and feeling like an outcast for some amount of time every day/week?) because he didnt' want me indoctrinated. His parents picked the episcopal church in their small town in michigan because you had to belong to some church in order to be part of the community (seriously, like get a job) and I think the story is my ten year old dad got into a heated debate with the sunday school teacher at the methodist church. those were the two choices, so I was born episcopal.
I mean I *do* remember moments of basically moving away from faith, but I don't remember the moments of having any before that, does that make sense?
Like, at some point I was learning about ancient greek myths and gods, and I thought something like, "my, weren't they just silly, good thing we now know that ..." (whatever, i dont' remember - that Jesus died for our sins? I don't know if I even got that far before I was like, oh, wait, that doesn't make *any* more sense than believing in Zeus)
And at some point I thought about the fact that all my catholic friends had catholic parents, and all my jewish friends had jewish parents, whatever methodists and episcopals I knew had matching parents, and I thought, wow, if any of this was convincing, wouldn't people change their minds more often? or something?
But really, I don't think I had any adults in my life who actively believed in God. I mean, I got the stories, I celebrated xmas and easter (but with trees and presents and candy and bunnies - we did have a creche under the tree? but easter bore absolutely no connection to jesus in my mind for a long time) but no one brought god up in times of crisis as actually relevant to anything, you know?
I even went through an tortured period of agonizing about the fact that I would someday die, when I was five or six? My parents tried to comfort me by talking about heaven, right after trying "it wont' be for a long time" and somewhat before trying, "you will be ready by then" (which, for whatever reason, worked) but I didnt' get any sense that they really believed in heaven, just something to say to calm your kid down when they're worried about dying.
I still talk about the world, and about god, in a way that causes people around me to say "wait, I thought you were an atheist?" and I am, but I still don't have a better word for some of the stuff I used to use god for, so I haven't switched over, I guess.