Are you or have you been on a Journey away from Traditional Christianity?
I’m now 82. It is said that there is a book in each of us waiting to get out. Instead of writing a book I started developing a web site 17 years ago that became the foundation of my blog.
My understanding of the Christian RELIGION and Christian FAITH has been changing, sometimes quite dramatically over the years, especially between 1995 and 1998 and again since 2013, and as those thoughts have changed my blog has reflected those changes. Continue reading
I have long been interested in what makes people tick!
I am a serious introvert who has long had a passing interest in Myers Briggs and more recently in Enneagrams. The Mind Maps that show up on my Facebook Page were created in the 1990’s. It was about 4 years ago that I put a lot of my thoughts about ‘Reality’ in writing – see here.
I was ‘forced’ to become an outside observer of the American Evangelical (and Fundamentalist) Christian scene in 1995 when the leadership of the Sabbath-keeping Christian church we were attending in the UK announced that much of their theology was misguided. It didn’t take long for the leadership of some of the member churches of the National Association of Evangelicals (in America) to welcome the leaders who had made that announcement, with almost open arms!
The reality of the situation for me was that without any formal theological training, I was being ‘forced’ for a second time to reconsider just about everything I had ever been taught (without any recollection of ever doubting the existence of God). I had walked away from a Baptist Sunday School when I was 13 because I could not accept what I was being taught about the trinity. Many years later I became an active member of the Anglican church (I was treasurer of the local church for 8 years). I never did get a satisfactory answer to my questions about the trinity, and I gradually became disillusioned by what I saw as the lack of ‘radical’ Christianity. I could never understand how people could attend church at Christmas and Easter and not be seen at any other time. I had seen an advert in the Readers Digest offering a subscription to The PLAIN TRUTH magazine in the late 1960’s. Only later did I come to appreciate that here was a Christian church committed to keeping the biblical Sabbath and Holy Days instead of Christmas and Easter that they considered to be Pagan festivals. They also rejected trinitarianism and did not accept the traditional teachings of heaven and hell and believed that ‘this is not the only day of Salvation’.
That announcement in 1995 led almost immediately to the breakup of our own family of 14 related by marriage – wounds that have never been healed! The church had been very legalistic in some ways. Only later did I realise that this legalism had been much stronger in America. It’s all a very long story but in 1998 I was suddenly aware of a freedom and liberation from the slavery of legalism. By this time the church had ‘splintered’. My wife and I were still attending what was left of the local church, but our daughter and her husband who had been Youth leaders walked away, and some of the family have not spoken to us since then!
By 2012 I had a story to tell and I tried to share something of my own thinking at that time – especially my doubts about Evangelicalism – summed up in “Christianity After Religion?” – the title of a book written by Diana Butler Bass.
As a 15 year old English lad I got into serious trouble at school when I dared to suggest that the British Empire had been built on greed and selfishness. That was in 1950, long before the stories of companies like The British East India Company and the wealthy owners became general knowledge.
Last year I came across an article entitled, “3 Ways Humans Create Poverty” that suggested that it is impossible to solve an entrenched problem like mass poverty without understanding how it came into being, and that there’s every reason to believe we can overcome poverty, if we take the time to understand and learn the lessons from how it is created.
The authors effectively traced the causes back to colonialism and slavery. I found myself wondering how much blame for this could be placed on misguided Christian missionary zeal. To what extent are greed and selfishness still built into what is said to be our Christian culture?
I know that’s a very unorthodox suggestion, but if you are interested please read the article and the link to the Bill Gates Foundation and see what you think.
In the introduction to my blog I have referred to a journey through Christendom (that didn’t involve any formal training), that really started 60 years ago in 1957 after finishing National Service in the RAF.
It was while talking to my grandson in 2016 that I realised that my life has consisted of two quite separate journeys that really didn’t come together until I was made redundant again in 1990. That was when I bought my first PC with 2MB of memory and an 80MB Hard Drive using the original Windows 3.
It was in 1967 when I was already over 30 that I was offered a job as a trainee computer programmer on a mainframe computer with 4K of memory. Anyone interested in the history of computing might be interested in some of the changes I have seen and been involved with over the years. Anyone with a knowledge of Aspergers Syndrome (or High Functioning Autism) may know that computer programming for such people is often seen as one of the perfect jobs (I didn’t even know anything about AS until about 9 years ago).
I had been making good use of my PC when the trauma of 1995 occurred. By 1997 I had a dial-up internet connection and started making contact with other members of the church around the world. It was in 2000 that I created my first web site (with the support and encouragement of the local church superintendent). With hindsight the purpose of the web site changed four times in five years. If it hadn’t been for my wife I would probably have walked away soon after that. I eventually stopped attending church in 2009. By 2012 when I was 76 I had a faith that I could hold on to ‘loosely’ – and that’s when my education really started!