I am now 82. It was about 45 years ago that I became disillusioned and walked away from a traditional Anglican church in the UK, where I had been treasurer for 8 years. This is my attempt to share something of that on-going journey through Christendom over the last 60 years, but especially since 1995 when I was effectively ‘forced’ to reconsider just about everything I had ever been taught – for the second time, and that is a very long story!
I was already retired when I started using the web in 1997 with a slow dial-up connection. I created my own website in 2000 that subsequently became the foundation of my blogs (this is the third one).
I was very involved with the Emerging / Emergent / House church scene, especially between 2002 and 2006 . We often referred to ourselves as “The out of church Christians”. We talked of tens of thousands leaving traditional churches every year (it is now suggested that around four million people are leaving churches in Europe and N. America every year). I think it was in 2003 that I found the book “So you don’t want to go to church anymore” on the web when the authors had only written the first three chapters.
I left school when I was 17 and I’ve never had any formal theological training but about 20 years ago a very close friend on this journey said, “Peter, you have the knack of asking some of the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers”.
Many of those questions are scattered around the blog.
I have since come to appreciate that unanswered questions aren’t nearly as significant as unquestioned answers! That seems to be something worth thinking about!
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 over 17 years ago. I could never have imagined then how this was going to be an on-going work-in-progress where I have had the chance to share something of the stories of some 2,000 people – including a few leaders and former leaders – who have been drawn away from churches that they may have attended for many years.
“Food for Thought” will give you a brief introduction to the way I have been thinking over the last few years. By 2012 as I have explained in “My Story”, I was no longer attending church but had a faith that I could hold on to ‘loosely’, BUT I could never have imagined then how far into the unknown my journey was still going to take me!
If you are on a journey away from traditional Christianity, do you recognise any of these descriptions?
- Maybe you are one of the DONES – Done with Religion – or someone who thinks of themselves as SBNR – Spiritual But Not Religious.
- Perhaps you would describe yourself as an Ex-Christian or Atheist but still looking for opportunities to share your thoughts in a constructive way.
- Many have become ‘disillusioned’ with some aspects of what they had been taught about the Christian RELIGION (or CHRISTENDOM).
[This seems to have been an important part of my journey and I have explained in some detail what I understand by this – see sidebar for link].
- Many people within the different denominations recognise that some things need to change. Others recognise that any denomination can only take its people as far as their own traditions and denominational theology will allow, and are looking for some of those deeper insights.
- Some have been abused by leaders; some are angry that they have been deceived while others have simply let go of what they had been taught.
- Perhaps you have considered some of the very diverse views of people who describe themselves as Progressive Christians where some are working from within while others have moved beyond the confines of their own denomination.
Where are you on your journey? Do you have a story to share? Would you like to support and encourage others who might be on a similar journey?
I’d welcome your thoughts.