I’m now 81. As an only child I lived through WWII and watched some of what was going on in the skies over Southern England as the Germans attacked London. Growing up after the war there was no TV; no computers; food was rationed; and we had to make our own amusements!
Neither of my parents who left school at 13 and 14, ever owned a Bible and only ever went to church for weddings and funerals. I was ‘forced’ to go to a Baptist Sunday School from the age of 9 with an acquaintance of my father, because my parents wanted me to be better educated than they were. I walked away just before I was 14 when I rejected what I was being taught about the trinity – with hindsight that had an enormous influence on my thinking over the years.
My next real encounter with Christianity was some 10 years later when I started to assist running a Cub Scout Pack attached to the Anglican church where I had met and subsequently married my wife in 1960. Within three years I was treasurer of the local church – a position I held for 8 years. But by this time I had become disillusioned by what I saw as a lack of ‘radical’ Christianity and walked away in the early 1970’s. I have no recollection of ever doubting the existence of God, but the traditional teachings of the trinity remained a problem. With hindsight this was the beginning of my first wilderness experience that lasted several years.
My formal education ended when I was 17. I was talking to my grandson last year when I realised that my married life has consisted of two quite separate journeys. There was the Christian journey and its associated family and community responsibilities, and there was the world of a computer programmer and business analyst (very analytical and methodical) that started in 1967 on a mainframe computer that had only 4K of memory! These journeys only really came together when I was made redundant again in 1990, when I bought my first PC with 2K of memory and an 80MB hard disk! I taught myself Windows 3 and Microsoft Office (including Access) that had to be loaded from 48 floppy disks. It was very time consuming but a lot of fun! How life has changed!!!!
It was in 1995 that the leadership of the Sabbath-keeping Church we were then attending announced that much of their theology had been misguided. This ‘destroyed’ our own family of 14 (related by marriage) especially when the leadership were welcomed with open arms by several member churches in the National Association of Evangelicals in America. As a former Anglican this was a big red flag! I had never believed in the traditional teachings of HELL and had been taught that the first 11 chapters of Genesis were ‘myth and symbolism’ (as understood by both C S Lewis and J R R Tolkein). This was the beginning of a second ongoing wilderness journey. One of the results of this has been that I have been an outside observer for over 20 years of Evangelical (and Fundamentalist) Christian teaching with its emphasis, especially in America, on FEAR, GUILT and SHAME.
I first had a dial-up internet connection twenty years ago in 1997 and created my first web site in 2000. I am now finding it harder to recall some of my thoughts and a few months ago I decided to step back and reorganise my blog. This proved to be far more difficult than I expected.