The latest blog post from Jim Palmer has got me thinking. My first thought was: Well, I'm clearly not the only one... Which quickly led to the thought: So I'm not going insane, then..!
Now, I ought to explain that I don't think I'm leaving Christianity, though there are many parts of that religion which drive me mad. But I certainly think I'm on a journey away from the Church. So much of it just doesn't speak to me any more. It seems to spend so much of its time looking around anxiously, patting its pockets to check that everything is still in place. However, I still love the people - probably more than ever. It's the people that are important, and their needs, fears, joys and hopes. After all, they're the things that Jesus cared about...
So, here's Jim's blog post. And a few very short reflections from me along the way.
16 things people report about their shedding religion journey:
1. You’re losing your religion but gaining your sanity.
2. Maybe you left church because it wasn’t helping you know God or grow spiritually.
3. You know you are on the right path but trying to explain that path to others is like nailing Jello to a wall, and you often feel misunderstood.
Ah, yes! Probably a path blending Jesus, Druidry, Celtic Spirituality and other eclectic elements of Paganism (if such a thing exists!). Hard to explain to most of my colleagues...
4. Your new life beyond religion isn’t quite as defined as things used to be.
5. You have twice as many questions as you do answers but strangely you’re okay with this.
6. Sometimes you doubt yourself, and crave a religious fix to make you feel better.
Oh yes - I still often crave a Choral Evensong.
7. You desperately wish someone (anyone!) would just accept you where you are right now.
8. Oh, for just a couple of people you could sit down with face-to-face and talk with about all this stuff without the threat of judgment and condemnation!
Thankfully, there are some good friends with whom I can do this. Bless you!
9. On Monday you feel free, and on Tuesday you wonder if you are going crazy.
10. Christ without Christianity, truth without theology, and community without church makes complete sense to you but it also makes you a heretic among some of your former friends who avoid you in the grocery store.
Yes, I think this describes my thinking pretty well...
11. You don’t know how to answer the question, “Are you a Christian?”
12. You refuse to divulge the books you are currently reading because you know it’s going to alarm the people who already think you’ve gone off the deep end.
Glennie Kindred, Emma Restall-Orr, Philip Carr-Gomm, Donna Farhi, Cassandra Eason, Tess Ward, Erich Schiffmann... Wonderful authors!
13. You get nauseated when you hear Christanese.
Well, some modern hymns are getting harder and harder to sing...
14. You’re not sure where your Bible is.
No, I do know the answer to this one..!
15. Suddenly you’re liking the people who were previously classified as “them.”
16. Prayer is more an authentic and powerful desire for the liberation of others and contributing to it, rather than a magic God-wand to save the day.
Jim ends the post by asking: Does any of this sound familiar? Well, yes, Jim, it does. And thank you.