The three headings I posted last time were kind of meant to be only headings because I keep meaning to blog about them and keep forgetting. I figured that if I put the headings up, I might actually get around to posting about them!
Advance warning – I think this is probably going to be a very long post!!
Recently, I’ve been asked a few times about my faith. Alien was (of her own choice) baptised last week, and in talking about that at both her school and the school I work in, the question has come up. Also when talking with the other leaders of the Rainbows unit we’re setting up, it was asked about. I’m part of a group of people writing some ‘evangelistic / nurture’ materials for our church (I was suggested to be part of the group, rather than volunteered myself!) which has meant some interesting conversations and thoughts arising there too.
I’ve just returned from our church weekend away, so have had some time to think about these questions, which I thought I’d share. Not entirely sure why, but then why do I ever blog?!
My response to ‘what my faith is’ a couple of the times was that I simply go to church to operate the sound desk and just because I always have been to church. I think I tend to answer like this for two reasons – one was that I simply didn’t really know where I was with faith having not sat and thought about it recently, and the other is because I don’t like the ‘image’ that religion tends to have.
This weekend I’ve thought about some of the different aspects of ‘religion’.
- The Bible. It’s good book, with some good stories, and some good moral guidance.
- Church. Good community and family support, good way to regularly ‘top up’ / renew spiritual stuff.
- Jesus. Struggle with accepting any form of love, sacrifice and the concept of the cross / birth etc.
- God. I struggle with accepting any form of love. There’s definitely ‘something’ – we must’ve been created by something, maybe a loving God. However, I’m not sure about current ‘activity’. There have been a few examples of potentially answered prayer. But am never sure. I don’t believe God will or wants or maybe is able to respond to / answer prayer.
- Evangelism. I think the totally best type of evangelism is where people see a difference in the person and ask why. Why don’t you do this? Or why do you do that? Which can lead into a discussion about faith in a gentle way, rather than, ‘do you know Jesus, if not, why not?’. I want to avoid the traditional ‘church goer’ label. I’m embarrassed by what people think of ‘church goers’ (or maybe it’s what I perceive that people think!).
I don’t consider myself a Christian. I try to be ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ to others. My vicar once said that the important bits are “love God, love others”. I try to do that, and don’t feel able to do any more. According to someone I was talking to over the weekend, a Christian is someone who believes and accepts that Jesus died and rose again to forgive their sin, and has repented and asked to be forgiven. Well, I can’t do that, cos it hits all my ‘insecure spots’ – since my CBT I’m getting better at the whole ‘liking myself’ concept, but still find it incredibly difficult, and to attempt to accept that a random person a long time ago might’ve done something for *me* is just too far away to even begin to understand / believe / accept.
This weekend I have definitely felt that kind of longing for something, but because I find it so so difficult to accept / receive love / care from myself and / or others, that creates a huge barrier to anything to do with God / Jesus.
Then there’s that ‘God speaking’ thing… having just written / thought lots of the above, in the next session we sang a song with the following words which seemed to be ‘speaking’ very much linked to my thoughts.
Will you love the ‘you’ you hide
If I but call your name?
Will you quell the fear inside
And never be the same?
I took a book to read, which had been recommended. It was about unanswered prayer. Having read the first chapter and a half I decided it was pointless reading it because I don’t expect / believe prayer will be answered. I certainly pray and hope (though usually for others rather than myself), but it is not with any expectation or belief that there will be any response. Even when there is , and it seems like it’s just *too* convenient to be total coincidence, I still struggle to accept it.
Hmm… I think I’ve probably clarified my thoughts more about my beliefs, even if it is to simply say, I don’t really know what I think or believe!! Maybe I need to think *even*more!