As many of you may or may not know, I am a Christian. Why this is difficult for me to say sometimes is confusing to me. I have always believed in God, although I do confess that I have not always practiced this belief or, even in all honesty liked this belief I have at all times.
When I was brought up we went to a Methodist Church once a month because it was connected with the Guide group that I had joined. Otherwise I only went to Church through school. I never really thought about God or what I believed, I suppose looking back I just took it for granted that there was a God and thought little more of it.
When I was about 12 my best friend died. She died suddenly of a brain aneurism. One moment she was playing netball and the next she was dead. It was a truly horrific event, for her, for her family and for us, her young friends. This was a girl who I had described as my BFF, she had been for sleepovers, we imagined that life would go on forever. But of course it doesn’t. I didn’t speak about her or her death for a long time. Just before I had moved from London to Surrey so I didn’t have people around me who were also grieving so I just put it in a box and shut the lid tight. I was VERY angry with God though. How could he take the life of an innocent child? It was and is in every sense of the word unjust. Interestingly I didn’t stop believing, but I stopped wanting to celebrate faith and I stopped liking God.
Throughout secondary school I actively rebelled against organised mainstream religion. I made my mother write letters excusing me from church services and I explored Paganism and witchcraft. It was only when I had my first baby that it sank into me what a miracle of life she was. I called her Eve – after Eve in the bible – the beginning of human life. I had a terrible birth, and I knew that I was lucky that we had both come out alive and I thanked God.
I wanted Eve to be baptised. I wanted myself to be baptised. I wanted her to know God and develop a better relationship with him than I had. We found a lovely church who were very welcoming (which was a worry for me as we were unmarried at the time). Now we have a very active role in church life, Eve goes to a church school, attends sunday school most weeks and I am even on the PCC! My mother cannot believe that I am the same person that she had to write excusing letters for when I was at school.
I am sharing this with you, not to make you become Christians, just because I want to share my story with you. Two years ago I attended the Alpha course and I realised that there is simply tonnes that I don’t know about Christianity and faith and I really enjoyed learning more about it. Today I started a new course called Living In Faith which is more of a study course than Alpha but I hope will provide me with the opportunity for more learning. The first course is called Spirituality and Prayer and covers a variety of Christian traditions, including the Desert Fathers, Celtic Christianity, the Benedictine and Franciscan traditions, the Orthodox church, the classical Anglican heritage of Cranmer and George Herbert, and contemporary Anglo Catholic and Evangelical spirituality. Each session gives background information and a ‘taster’ of the different spiritual traditions, giving you the opportunity to experience a wide range of ways in which Christians respond to God.
Later modules in the Living Faith programme include New Testament, Questions of Faith, Re-shaping Church, Old Testament, and Challenging Choices (ethics).
Every week I will be studying a different module and I hope to share a part of my learning with you here.