Leap of faith

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!

Vix

xx

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35 thoughts on “Leap of faith

  1. Vx:
    I enjoyed your writing about such an important topic. My religious views are varied…and have been influenced by many religions. Though sometimes I think the word religion is not correct. Maybe…feelings or hope

    thanks
    Jaye

  2. Longtime lurker!

    Interesting post. I am not “religious”, but recently have been looking to more faith(going to church more, reading some spiritual stuff, etc)…its been brought on by a struggle with health and life…trying to find some kind of faith cuz things are …whatever.
    Anyway, nice post!

  3. Faith is a fickle thing! I grew up in an Eastern Orthodox Christian household, and while I do love my church, sometimes I struggle with the whole faith thing too. I try to pray every night, but when it comes to really thinking about what I believe, sometimes I’m just not sure! I do think there is someone out there watching over us though, so I do have some faith, I guess! 🙂

    • I guess you’re surrounded by it so much, sometimes you wonder what you believe vs. the community you’re in. It’s nice to think there is someone right?!

  4. I like contemporary christian music, too. I don’t currently attend services, got tired of so much hypocrisy. I’ve decided that I don’t need a middle man in my relationship with God. Some day I might decide to return, who knows? I think religious institutions are a good place for learning and worshiping and socializing, but I think they are designed to fit our needs, not necessary in the path to Him.

  5. I grew up in a Roman Catholic church (baptised, holy communion, confirmed); and hope to raise my kids that way – I want to get them baptised, at least… I’m not really a church goer (I used to go reguarly until easter – have kinda given up because mass began at 9am – I need my beauty sleep!) but whenever I go to church people still recognise me as it’s like a community (blaaah). Just can’t get away from the damned place as now they want my design services….! (argh!!)

    I think that for you this decision has to be yours and yours only. Yes church going is dying out but if you feel empowered then go for it…. I can’t really help here as I grew up as RC (it’s still Catholic)… sorry!

    x

  6. I think religion is such a personal thing, that I would never want to tell you what to do. I grew up Catholic, became agnostic, and currently have Buddhist leanings. But it was people telling me what to do and what to think in Catholicism that turned me off altogether. But going back to what you said, I don’t think it would hurt for you to visit other churches and see how you feel. I feel like that’s the stage I am in, I’m still kind of searching.

  7. This is such a great post. It’s nice to see someone being so honest about her faith journey. I guess you can say I am religious. My husband is actually a pastor and I go to church all the time, read my Bible, and have even taught ladies’ Bible studies. Honestly, religion isn’t the important part. Religion is what men and women do to try and be close to God and please Him. Churches will eventually fail you. They often do. The important thing is to understand why Jesus came and how he wants to have a very personal relationship with you.

    I don’t want to monopolize your comments, but you asked for our journey, so I wanted to explain. I’ll do my best to be brief and clear. If you have any questions about anything I’m writing, you can always email me. {Tricia9199 at Yahoo dot com}

    John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    This is probably the most famous verse of all, but it does a lot to explain the heart of God and the Bible.

    * God love us. It doesn’t matter who we are, or how good we’ve been, or what we’ve done. He loves us with a perfect love that we cannot even fathom. We don’t know perfect, because we are sinful.

    *We are sinful. I doubt I have to explain this one. I knew this about myself as a young child. The Bible says in Ephesians, “For the wages of sin is death.” The payment for our sin is death – not only physical death (which we will all experience), but also an eternal separation from God.

    *He sent his son. The perfect, sinless son of God came to take our punishment. It’s like if a judge condemned us guilty of murder and sentenced us to life in prison and someone stood and begged to take our place. Imagine the judge granting that pardon and us walking free while an innocent man took the punishment we deserved. This is exactly what Jesus did for us.

    *If we believe in Him, we can have everlasting life. Jesus is the bridge between death/eternal separation from God, and everlasting life with God (Heaven). The Bible says that Jesus didn’t come to condemn the world, but rather to save it. The Bible also says that salvation is a free gift. We can be redeemed to God through Jesus sacrifice on the cross. The Bible says of Jesus, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.”

    *The choice is ours. Will we believe?

    I made the choice to believe by faith and it’s changed my life. I’ll be praying for you on your own faith journey. Praying that God will open the eyes of your heart to truth. I’ll pray that you’ll find not only peace with God, but also the peace of God. The Bible actually promises that when we draw nigh to God, He’ll draw nigh to you. If you’re seeking Him, He will be found.

    Blessings my friend.
    ~FringeGirl

  8. Great post! As you probably have noticed, I’m a really strong Christian. I don’t really consider myself religious though, I feel like “religion” sort of gets in the way sometimes of my relationship with Christ. He truly is my best friend and I’m so glad I have Him. Good luck with everything! I’m praying for you! 🙂 If you ever want to talk, you know how to reach me!

  9. Nice post!

    I grew up in a Baptist family. We went to church and I’ve always believed in Jesus and God. It wasn’t until college and then later in my late 20’s early 30’s that I REALLY grew as a Christ follower. Certainly, eveyone’s journey with faith is different, but if it’s any testimony to you, I am comforted, humbled, strengthed, and nurtured by God. I couldn’t imagine life with Him and His blessings. 😉

  10. I’m Catholic. Yes, sometimes my faith might waver and I may have doubts, but overall I am very secure in what I believe.

    Keep searching and the true answers will come!

  11. I find the personified and paternalistic God of the Christian Church to be nothing more than myth . . . designed to get us into church on Sundays. 😀

    I feel there is a higher power within us all which I most easily access when meditating. A personal connection . . . with no intermediary.

  12. I think this type of being religious, when you discover it slowly for yourself, is the most true kind.
    Even though I’m a Catholic (with a long, complicated history, but I can tell you about it some other time) I thought that this Alpha has a bit of sect feeling to it… I guess I was wrong?

  13. Spirituality, rather than religious conviction, is a path you may want to consider. Personally, I don’t belong to one particular religion. I like the Bible, it’s a good read, and I don’t think Jesus ever said let’s get organized (i.e. you must build a church). I think, and this is just my understanding, that we need to explore it for ourselves and feel it’s a life long journey for me. I also think getting together to discuss is great, but when folks start condemning one another and judging each other i think it goes bad. It’s no longer a positive experience, it’s one of shame, sadness and alienation. That is just my way of thinking, and I know that a lot of people get support from their religion, that aspect of it is positive. It’s just my way of thinking, so anyone who is religious, I don’t mean any harm. Yeah, thought I would put in that disclaimer.

  14. I think we’re on the same boat Vix. I have many Christian friends and sometimes they invite me to join their activities. They are generally very nice and sincere people so I am okay with that. One thing I really admire, is their faith in what they believe. It’s just amazing, the joy you see in their eyes. Somehow, I never really “get” religion too. I listen to sermons, I like worship songs, sometimes I join in their prayer groups. Somehow I just don’t “feel” anything. Friends have asked me, “Have you really asked to be touched? Like is your heart really open and you’re just pleading for God to touch your life?” Because they say, those who ask shall be given. I guess I wasn’t really “asking”. I say follow your heart and let it flow Vix 🙂 Good luck!

  15. I think that you feeling something, wondering, pondering going back, shows a real side of you that really wants to find something. If that even makes any sense. My opinion, if you want or have the desire to find something higher religion-wise, it’ll happen if and when you find the right church. Contemporary Christian music really has become commonplace in a lot of churches, as well as a bit more casual of attire. Plus different schedules so that it’s easier to attend when you’re able. I’ve found these type churches also do a good job explaining the bible well, which I myself need. I’m actually looking for a good church, I’ve visited a few but have yet to find ‘the right one’. I believe I’ll know the right one, or feel it, when I get there. xo

  16. hello, just came across your blog 🙂 This was a great, honest post! I agree with many things that have already been said. “fringe girl” and others gave great summaries 🙂 I am a christian and I grew up going to a non-denominational church. I don’t see myself as being particularly “religious” though. I also love Buddhism and agree with what true Buddhism teaches.
    I just wanted to recommend a few books you might like, they are really popular in America, I don’t know if they are well known in other countries!
    Blue like Jazz by Donald Miller- he has written some great books, great stories and message, funny, but he doesn’t try to shove Christianity down your throat or anything
    Searching for God Knows What, by Donald Miller
    The Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne

    Just wanted to share some books that have helped me, as I still struggle with some of the issues you mentioned!

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