Why did I become a Christian (and now I’m not)
I think a big part of me becoming a Christian was getting so ill. My body would no longer respond as it should do, essentially having a complete breakdown. Become a Christian allowed me to belong to a structure. My body is broken at a genetic level. The collagen, which forms the structure of pretty much part of the whole of your body, but especially the ligaments – which hold your joints together.
Christianity provided structure in the form of prescribed rituals, prayers, liturgy and a book to follow, as well as a huge amount of discourse in the form of books. I like books, I adore reading and the fact there was such a huge body of work to read, as well as formal study deeply appealed to me.
Paganism, at the time I left it, didn’t have much in the way of academic writing, there weren’t courses that I could do. I have always had a deep seated need to formalise my learning, I have a ridiculous number of qualifications and right now I am studying for my Grade 6 flute.
I had even been looking at a course which would lead onto being able to be a lay minister, that my vicar was encouraging me to do.
Oh and I have a huge desire to be able to lead people spiritually. I really don’t think it is an ego thing – if I was all about ego I would have stayed in the extremely well paid field of marketing many years ago.
Christianity provides a clear way to lead and guide, to learn and to study.
When I was a Pagan I was the General Secretary of the Pagan Federation. I even did the Prison Ministry training, but it was in the run up to the 2012 Olympics and the security clearance took MONTHS to come through and I had had to make other commitments in the meantime.
Did I know that Christianity was wrong for me during the last couple of years? Yes, at a fundamental level, not least that when I re-read my journals (which I spend time in each day), all the references to the Bible, and the Church and Jesus made me CRINGE. Deeply. There were a few prayer sessions I attended which left me cold. The evangelical church made my skin crawl and the C of E church I have been attending has done nothing for me and the vicar wanted a lot from me, probably because I was 30 years younger than the average parishioner and I am a confident public speaker.
I have been desperately trying to convince myself by reading lots of books, attending events, listening to podcasts etc. Because I knew, not even very deep down, that Christianity wasn’t right for me. I joined because it was easy, because there was a structure to hold me during the worst times of my life. And there was the promise of so much.
I expect I am going to be exploring the issue at depth in the next few weeks! But know this, I am so happy right now and I feel free in a way that I haven’t for a long time.