Those of you who have followed this blog over the past 18 months or so will know that we’re on something of a journey as members of the church universal. Both Kay and I grew up in church, served as very active members and leaders, and I even trained and was ordained as a church minister – albeit for a short while before resigning and moving on another avenue of service.
Since then we’ve been moving gradually away from organised religion. I think we still both believe in God and certainly are sharing our story and beliefs with our daughter, but how we view church has changed vastly and thus shaped our desire (or perhaps lack of) to bring her up in the same context as we were.
I’ve written before of how I feel this period has been a movement away from institutional church, having been right at the heart of it at one time. Much of what once was important has been stripped away. At times, I must admit if I’m totally honest, I’ve wondered if my faith has gone. My ‘experience’ has been dry and empty, and I’ve lacked the desire to do anything about that. I now believe that I do, in fact, believe, just very differently now – perhaps best summarised by the series of posts I wrote at the beginning of 2012.
And so now we find ourselves as un-or-de-churched. We have an inherent, perhaps in built desire for community, but find this increasingly met by our relationships with those we share life with and work with. These include friends that we ‘commune’ with on a fairly regular basis, or hang out with in our local pub. I increasingly see my workplace as a central community in my life, one where I feel I’m contributing to building something that lasts. I suppose you could call it kingdom living, although I’d hesitate to be so brave to name it as such.
So, whether we are churched or not, I don’t think it matters any more. Maybe the desire to be so will return at some stage. I think maybe we’ve ‘lost our religion’ and yet, certainly in my case, rediscovered my faith. We know that there is much to be done, and we take seriously the call to follow we both, I think, feel.
I remember hearing time and time again as I was growing up in church that you couldn’t be call yourself a Christian if you didn’t go to church regularly. Well, I guess I would have different feelings about that now.
Church, surely, is where we live out our faith amongst those who seek to follow, and those who don’t. It’s a place, or perhaps more pertinently, a life where we share life in all it’s infinite beauty and horror, attempting to make sense of who we are and what we’re here to be and do. Church as we experienced growing up and even fairly recently certainly doesn’t stop you from doing that, but for me, well, it just wasn’t right,
This…well…this idea excites me. It scares me too because so much has been stripped away and I no longer have any clever arguments or ideas. I just have life. A life to live and serve and love.
To the journey…