Like everyone else, I am deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks happening around the UK and the world. I guess it is one of those things: it all seems to far away until it becomes really, very close. The attack at Borough struck home to me, even more than Westminster. I used to work in Borough and spent a lot of time in that area, indeed drinking in the pubs there after work. One of my client’s offices is still literally down the road from where it happened.
I have a meeting in east London on Thursday (after I have been to vote of course) and I am staying in central London this weekend. Like so many others I will continue to go to my meetings as usual. I will not respond to people in fear and I pray and trust that we as a nation, and the world, will overcome the wickedness of extremism and hatred without losing sight of our values and who we are.
When I was part of an evangelical church (for about 6 months) I was struck by the certainty of everything, as well as absolutes. Of course, this is what also what put me off, but none the less they had a confidence, a conviction that all that they were doing was right. And those who had converted to Christianity had absolutes too – one person, as soon as she gave herself to God, stopped swearing. That so has not happened to me, I swear like a trooper, although I am constantly trying not to.
Many who become Christians are evangelical – by which I mean extremely outspoken about their faith. I recently ran some community photography workshops and one person when asked various questions about what it was like to live in Thurrock, referred back to God. In response to the question, ‘what do you enjoying doing?’ he said ‘showing people the way to God’. There is still a part of me which is deeply uncomfortable with this, he does sit on the board of a local evangelical church, but to speak like that outside of church, in a public workshop (ok there were only a handful of people), felt wrong to me.
And yet… there is a part of me which wants to have a… well, I was going to say solid faith. I do have a solid faith. I have completely taken refuge in God and He is the bedrock of my life, I pray several times a day, and yet I feel like my faith is a quieter one than demonstrated by evangelicals. But at the same time I am being called to do something more with my faith, both of the churches I have been have said so, completely independently of each other, that’s partly why I started the blog to thrash this all out a little.
Even as I write this I realise that I am able to serve God as I am, I don’t need a big shouty faith. Let’s face it, that approach is exactly the wrong one to appeal to people like me. It always put my hackles up and put me on the defensive. To a certain extent it still does, but less and less each month.
I know that I am good at public speaking and communicating generally. I enjoy writing very much, to the extent that if I am not writing regularly for public consumption (even if no-one does read it), then I start to feel quite off and I even depressed.
I guess I need to learn patience, not to rush God, that things will come out in their own time. That is really very difficult for me, but it is a lesson I need to learn!