- Are you on a journey away from traditional Christianity?
- Have you walked away from ‘organised’ Religion?
- Do you have doubts about the Nature of God?
Maybe you are one of those people who used to believe but now see yourself as a sceptic; an agnostic or a non-believer. Perhaps you are seen by some as a heretic.
I have been on a long journey through Christendom with all of its divisive, denominational theology; its many differing traditions; and the awareness that Christians can’t even agree among themselves about the place of Jesus.
I know from personal experience going back to the early 1970’s, that it can be lonely and disconcerting if you are drawn to asking questions about what you had been taught; maybe wondering if God exists; and unable to share your thoughts with others who may have been on a similar journey
My journey really started over 60 years ago when I was 22. It has taken many twists and turns (as I have described here on my blog). I walked away from a traditional Anglican church after being treasurer of the local church for 8 years in the 1960’s. It was in 1995 that I was ‘forced’ to reconsider (for the second time) just about everything I had ever been taught. By 2003 I was very involved with what was then often referred to as ‘the out of church Christians’. I was aware of the background to the publication of “The Shack” and still have one of the 11,000 copies published privately in 2007. That was an exciting time! I finally walked away from ‘organised’ church in 2009 without ever doubting the existence of ‘God’.
It was Richard Holloway (the former leader of the Episcopal Church in Scotland) who suggested that the symbol ‘God’ is one of the most ambiguous of human inventions.
Richard (and others) had a big impact on my thinking around 2010.
It was early in 2012 that I came across a review of “Christianity After Religion” by Diana Butler Bass (see sidebar). This was another turning point after which I had a faith that I thought I could hold on to loosely.
I could never have imagined then how much more my understanding would change over the following six years – influenced in no small part by my membership of U3A (University of the Third Age) in Brighton where I live.
I listened to a podcast in August 2018 entitled “The Invisible Church” that just summed up so many of my thoughts.
The introduction reads:
You’re no doubt aware that the Church has been in steady decline in the West for a number of decades now. In the UK for example, Church attendance has roughly halved in the last thirty five years. But what do we know about all the people who left? Why did they leave? And what are they doing now?
I have written my own summary of that podcast here.
It was in November as an outside observer of the traditional Christian scene (without any formal theological training) that I gave a presentation to the local U3A group with a view to starting a local discussion group in the New Year.
Basically I’d like to encourage anyone who is interested (especially if they are feeling disillusioned) to step back from discussions and arguments about scripture and theology and start exploring both locally and on the web, some of the many thoughts that people have had over the years about the Nature of God and the meaning of the word ‘God’.
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”. I’m a great believer in “brainstorming” and there have been several occasions when I have enjoyed playing “devil’s advocate”.
What do you think of this PDF Slide Show?
Right click on the link and select open in a new tab. Move the cursor over the display to select the top icon on the right (Fit to Page) to display the first slide. You can then use the scroll bar to go up or down.
If you are still with me, please have a look at “What do we understand by the word ‘God’?”. Would you like to know what others have been thinking, and maybe share some of your thoughts?
Separately in “Stepping Stones” I have created a series of bullet points (my favourite way of presenting material) pointing to just some of the material that has been important to me since 2012.