Sunday, 6 April 2014

I am not a Christian

We went away for the weekend this weekend and had a lovely time at a house-warming party thrown by some friends. Driving home, everyone in the car asleep except me, I started thinking about everything we have going on and how the most difficult thing for me is acceptance. I got to thinking about Palm Sunday in the context of that - Jesus riding in to Jerusalem on the donkey, knowing what was going to happen to him during the following week. Going from the triumph of his entry to the city as the King of the Jews through the Last Supper and his betrayal in the garden of Gethsemane.

He knew that it was going to happen and he accepted it for what it was and met it as best he could.

I don't think that I'm a Christian; but I do sometimes find myself drawn to the comforting ritual of the church services of my growing up. 'My' church is one of the few in the country that still use the Book of Common Prayer and although I haven't attended for years I am starting to feel that I might want to make a regular habit of it again. Easter is the most important time of the Christian year and you are supposed to go to church then (and at Christmas) even if you don't go at any other time. I suppose that's why I was mulling all this over.

I am not a Christian. I have trouble with some of the most basic concepts of the faith, particularly Paul's attitude towards women. I am not a Christian, but I do admire the Christ that the Bible tells us about. I think that he was a good man, who walked the path that his conscience led him down.

He changed what he could and he accepted what he couldn't. Even though he was afraid of where his path led him, he still followed it. He faced his fears and he went through them and out the other side; and he believed so strongly in what he was doing that he was prepared to die for it. I envy that calmness and I wonder if going back to church and immersing myself in the ritual and the knowledge that millions of people find strength through it, will help me to find it for myself.

I am not a Christian. But the uncertainties we are living with and the fact that recently, a series of dynamic and galvanising women clergy have touched my life one after the other, have made me re-examine whether I could be.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting post. Each to our own but why do you need the label? Perhaps an eclectic approach to defining your life, belief
    Path or destiny is much more appropriate. Knowing your own moral and philosophical framework and adapting it with experience works for me without the restrictions of labels and ideologies.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I turned to the church at a time of great trial and took great comfort from the ritual. But I think that's what it was - the comfort of ritual/routine. I accept all the things you say about Jesus of Nazareth not so sure about his father. Profound stuff for a monday morning.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am not a Christian but I have a good friend that is and she once told me that you don't have to be a Christian to live what is considered a good Christian life, and that I believe, I do. If you think the church rituals and routines will bring you comfort and be a support then you do what you think is best for you, but forget you also have plenty of friends that are happy to try and give you comfort and support. Xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. That should have read don't forget!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have a friend who has been sectioned with mental health problems, but is now well enough to live independently and talk openly to those she trusts about herself (and is appropriately reticent otherwise). She receives a lot of support at her village church - I think the services and ritual help, but so do the people, who are good at friendship and don't judge.

    That awful clichéd 'what would Jesus do?' wristband that was popular a few years ago gives a message that the church hierarchy would do well to consider. I'm a regular churchgoer but, if you pushed for an answer, I'd neither know nor care about whether Jesus is God or whether there's any sort of god or afterlife. If anything, I suppose I take the view that *god* is in me, that I'm what I make of myself and have to take responsibility for that and whether there's anything spiritual is another matter, which I have feelings more than views on. But one thing that really interests me is how right Jesus was, on the whole (he was no farmer and I'd really argue with a couple of parables). If he didn't exist or was just A N Other, the people who wrote the Gospels were even more remarkable than if they were reporting facts, because they were not just radical, but right in ways that could hardly be imagined at the time.

    ReplyDelete