To give you some history of religion and me, I grew up in a non-religious household. My mum called herself as Christian and when she was a child attended church and Bible study but the rest of her family weren’t religious and it soon died in her too. My dad was Jewish but also non-religious. They decided not to baptise me so I could choose religion for myself when I was older but the best primary school in my town was Church of England so they somehow got me in.
As a child then, I sung hymns in assembly, participated in the nativity play (I was an angel :)) and attended church sometimes with the school. I also joined Brownies and Guides and too went to church sometimes with them but it was quite abstract to me, I never really got religion I suppose. None of my friends were particulary religious, they weren’t regular church goers and nor were my family so after I left Guides, church was reserved for weddings and funerals only. At University, again I wasn’t around anyone with a strong faith and it never occurred to me to pursue it in any way.
About two years ago though , I suddenly found myself on the Alpha course website. Alpha is a course that churches run to teach people about Christianity – Christianity 101 if you like. The six week course includes a talk about Jesus, discussions in group and dinner. I joined a class nearby and really enjoyed the course. I love meeting people and debates are always healthy and everyone was friendly and approachable. They sort of presumed you had some faith in God though and concentrated on why you should be a Christina. I was more uncertain about faith in general.
After the course ended, a few of us from the group went to the church and started to attend the worship service they had. I enjoyed the services – the vicar was down to earth and the music was great and inspiring. I never felt any strong feeling though that I had found my faith. I tried to read the Bible but often found it confusing, I didn’t feel it spoke to me in a real way. Maybe I expected a sudden revelation or something and that just didn’t happen. There was a baptism and confirmation service on the horizon but I wasn’t ready to take part. Because no one around me was religious, there was no one to talk things through with and I suppose it made it harder to keep going by myself.
At this time, I was studying for a qualification whilst working and Sundays were the only time I could study so I fell out of going to the services and concentrated in my exams. I haven’t been in about a year now. The other day though one of the songs they used to sing in church suddenly came into my head (Hosana, praise is rising, if you’re curious) and I downloaded a few from iTunes. I have to say I really like worship songs and contemporary Christian music, they feel inspiring even if I don’t have the same faith as the singers do.
So here I am wondering what the next step in my faith journey might be. Do I want to go back to church – either the same one or a different one? Do I want to pick up the Bible again and try to make sense of the words? Can I take the leap of faith and truly be a Christian? It feels like it’s in the background, a hazy circle over my shoulder just out of reach and I’m not sure how to grab it and make it real or if I want to? Will I walk towards it or walk away? Questions I can’t answer yet, I may never answer but all I know is I was listening to Tim Hughes ‘Happy Day’ on the way to work and it made me smile. Perhaps for now that’s enough.
If anyone wants to share their religion journey as well, please do!