Welcome to the story of an 84 year old who as an adult, has journeyed into, around and through Christendom (see sidebar) for over 60 years without having had any formal theological training. I rejected what I had been taught when I was 13 but was drawn into a thriving Anglican Church when I moved to London when I was 22. I was treasurer of the local church for 8 years in the 1960’s but gradually became disillusioned by what I saw as a lack of ‘radical’ Christianity and an inability to get answers to some of my questions. Years later I became a member of a Sabbath-keeping Christian Church that kept the biblical ‘Holy Days’; considered Christmas and Easter to be ‘Pagan Festivals’ and rejected the teaching of the Trinity.
That all came to an end in 1995 when the leadership of that church announced that much of their theology was misguided, and I was forced for a second time to reconsider just about everything I had ever been taught. By 2003 I was very involved with the Emerging, Emergent and House Church scenes especially in America. We used to talk of tens of thousands of people leaving the churches of Europe and North America every year – the figure now seems to be in excess of 4 million every year. As a very close friend once said, “Peter, you have the knack of asking some of the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers”.
It has all been an interesting, challenging, frustrating and divisive journey. I was already retired in 2000 when I created my own web site. I was involved with a number of Newsgroups and later got into the world of Blogging. It has all been a Work-In-Progress for over 19 years where I have had the chance to share something of the journeys of over 2,000 people including several leaders and former leaders as they were drawn to reconsider their positions in churches that they may have attended for many years.
It was several years ago that I realised that I had been learning so much about why Christians believe(d) what they believe(d), often as a result of divisive, denominational theology, and also something of why some Christians even ‘fight’ among themselves about their ‘beliefs’ and what they see as the place of Jesus.
It was in 2012 that I had been drawn to the work of Diana Butler Bass and her then latest book, “Christianity After Religion”. In 2015 talking about her book, “Grounded” she suggested that “Where is God?” (see sidebar) was one of the most consequential questions of our time. This has since been a significant part of my thinking.
In the autumn of 2018 I tried to step back from all of the divisive theology that had been part of my life for so many years. I later suggested to a friend that I wanted to make that question, ‘Where is God?’ the new foundation of my blog. He felt quite strongly that I shouldn’t be asking a question that is unanswerable, but the more I thought about it, the more appropriate it seemed to be. I drafted a couple of articles entitled, “What do people understand by the word God?” and then in April 2019 I watched an interview with Barbara Brown Taylor (an Episcopalian Priest) about her new book, “Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others” where Barbara had been asked for her thoughts about “What do you think when you use the word God?”. By putting the thoughts of Diana and Barbara together I have created an entirely new foundation of my blog here.
Does this ring any bells?