It was early in 2012 that I became aware of the writings of Diana Butler Bass and her then latest book Christianity after Religion. After what for me had been an intense period of study, I sensed that I had a faith that I thought I could hold on to ‘loosely‘.
I really did think that I had gone about as far as I could go – that I had a story to tell – that I could share with others who were on a similar journey.
I had a picture of the journey of life as a series of stepping stones.
I had by this time shared something of the stories of at least 2,000 people who were moving away from traditional Christian teachings.
Little did I realise how much this was all going to change over the next 6 years!
Later in 2012 I watched A History of the World by Andrew Marr. The suggestion that civilisation as we know it is no more than about 12,500 years old was a real eye-opener. This generated for me several more of those awkward questions to which there are no easy answers – such as “What is religion – is it man’s attempt to explain the inexplicable?”
My formal education ended when I was 17. I have been involved in the world of computer programming and business analysis for over 50 years. I was discussing this with my grandson a couple of years ago when I realised that two separate worlds – Christianity and Information Technology came together in 2000 at a time when I no longer had a full time job – and I had the freedom to explore my chosen interests!
Initially we had dial-up connections to the internet and YouTube presentations were limited to 10 minutes. How things have changed!
It was in 2013 that I joined the local branch of U3A (University of the Third Age) and in that first year attended classes for Philosophy, Psychology and Counselling. In subsequent years I have also attended Mindfulness; History of Christianity; History of Religion; Buddhism and Islam – just 2-3 hours a week – almost all of which was new to me!
The number of questions just grew!
I’ve spent a lot of my life involved with the Christian Religion (or Christendom) with its conflicting beliefs based on differing interpretations of the Bible, and its many different traditions. I often think of myself as someone who has been an outside observer of Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism, especially in America for over 20 years. This has been especially true for over 3 years now since Donald Trump announced that he intended running for the American Presidency.
It was about 2 years ago that I was introduced to the Enneagram. It has had a big impact on my thinking. For those of you who are familiar with the Enneagram I see myself basically as a Type 5 – an Observer or Investigator – with a streak of Type 8 – a Challenger.
I’ve learned so much in the last 8 years, but I still haven’t lost a belief in ‘God’, but my understanding of that word has changed dramatically over the last few years.
I have written extensively about my story before 2012, but I think this is enough initially.