Born into a Christian family Born into a Christian family (close)

Whilst my father was a soldier,
he was a committed church-goer
and two prior generations were ordained;
even appear as hymn-writers in
the Church of England hymn book
and attending a Christian school
with daily liturgical worship with daily liturgical worship (close)

Shortened Morning Prayer daily from the BCP,
but complete on Sundays with Evensong as well.
Here I was,in all my ignorance, Confirmed;
took my first Communion in unbelief;
learnt to play the religious part.
Maybe there was a God
but what of it?
I was innoculate against
divine reality.

Freed from the constraints of childhood
I found religion irrelevant I found religion irrelevant (close)

After a time in the Merchant Navy without religious contact,
I entered Sandhurst and the formality of Church Parades,
spit and polish and the place of ritual over reality.
Despite a church wedding and children's baptism
religion became merely a social convention,
church a time put aside now and again
to be part of the good guys;
a crutch for the crippled
that I did not need,
had grown out of.

Seeking the community of village life,
took me back to church attendance took me back to church attendance (close)

I joined our neighbour as a bell-ringer.
Being then at church I stayed for services;
Became familiar, known, informative to others;
To my surprise, became churchwarden, authoritive.
Yet without any real conviction.
Paid lip service to clerical concepts,
obedience to religious rules,
blindly serving.

Persuaded to the Alpha course,
I experienced the reality of God,
Mysterious, unknown, but real,
and began a fresh journey
into the spiritual realm.

Inspired with charismatic fervour
in the Swedish megachurch Livets Ord,
I brought new ideas and life to our church.
drove forward our local Alpha Courses
Upset and disrupted traditionalists,
those unwilling to move on.

Clerical wisdom diverted my energies
to evangelism under the wing of "Walk of a 1000 Men",
which led to many missions across the breadth of England
and a diploma in Evangelisim from Nottingham University.
I was also encouraged to the diocesan Christian Studies course,
which led to training in Chelmsford as a lay evangelist.

Growth of knowledge led, inevitably, to questions;
Found other answers than those of orthodox theology;
Exposed where things did not add up, conflicted;
opened eyes blinded by fixed conviction;
new thoughts, ideas, uncertainties
challenging priestly precepts.

New ideas led to conflict with orthodox conformity,
challenged the narrowness of unthought-through doctrine;
led to difference, rejection of the church's bounded teaching;
looked anew at the thrust of Christ's message,
its difference from where we are led.

So I drifted out of the evangelical frame into shifting sands
supported only by Internet gurus of the liberal church
and the concepts of Progressive Christianity,
seeking, alone, for the reality of divinity.

Yet there are dangers on this journey;
on a pathway devised without authorised instruction.
It risks the boundless sink of spirituality,
and deep potholes leading to oblivion
and often on the way
my brain hurts

It surprises me how I now respond to the bullying
of evangelical self-righteous certainty;
the idolatry of replacing God's reality
with the image and worship of Jesus;
the idiocy of a religion based
on selected bible texts.

For are not the soi-disant saved truly lost?
The journey that they started has gone astray
or stalled in some unlikely cul-de-sac, dead-end.
Somehow they need to be jogged, gently, carefully
back onto effective motion, along "The Way",
without destroying their present faith,
centred on unconsidered trifles.
.
For there is a truer way
as Jesus told us.
.
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