I started reading the Bible again a few days ago. I’ve been thinking of doing so for quite some time, but always holding back. Yet, here I was, staring at Romans Chapter 1. That was then. I’ve reached Chapter 5 now. Hardly setting the world alight but I’ve read a little every day. About grace and faith and sin. Words I struggle with on many levels. I find it hard to express myself when it comes to such concepts, such ideals, such realities. Paul says it so much better than I ever could.
I’ve been angry with God for a while now. I even started to doubt if he existed but a small kernel within me insisted that he must. For otherwise, what is the point…of anything. There must be something, there has to be something. Plus, how can you be angry with a God that doesn’t exist? So I concluded there is a God and I am angry with Him. But the more I thought about it I realised it’s not Him I’m angry with. I’m angry with others.
During my church years, as I like to refer to them, I always wanted to fit in, to be the best possible ‘Christian’ I could be. I compared myself to others and always ended up coming off second best. This would annoy and frustrate me. I felt like an outsider, the odd one out, as if there was an invisible screen between myself and the rest of the church family. Hmmm…family. That’s how they described themselves but I felt an outcast, a fake, the black sheep of this whiter than whites family.
I fell away, lost interest, turned my back on it all. I didn’t experience their 24/7 optimism, their shiny happy mentality. I still got fed up, felt miserable and struggled. My mental health had improved inordinately and I enjoyed reading the Bible and other supporting texts. But I didn’t enjoy church, especially the social times before and after the service. I dreaded them, truth be told, and I smiled awkwardly amidst their hypocrisy and my own gaping inadequacies. So I stepped away from it all.
The hypocrisy of it all still annoys me. But the penny dropped. Was Jesus a hypocrite? No. So why am I tarring him with the same brush as some of his supposed followers? Why am I allowing a handful of people to stand between my relationship and understanding of Him? I enjoy reading about his life, I want to learn more of the history and context of the period. I still have issues with sections of the Bible but I’m prepared to wrestle with them.
So I’m starting again, stripping it all down to basics. I’ve selected a few key texts which started me on my spiritual journey and I’m reading them again. Authors such as C.S. Lewis, Nicky Gumbel and Lee Strobel. I’m going to listen to the songs of Lacey Sturm and Flyleaf again. I’m open to learning and debate. But I don’t want to go to church, I don’t want to hang out with other believers, I don’t particularly consider myself a ‘Christian,’ which, in itself, is a man made concept.
What am I then? A follower of Jesus? I’m not even sure about that as how can you follow someone you don’t 100% believe in? How can I obey the Word of God when some of it seems indecipherable and wrong? Other sections are tedious beyond belief, full of contradiction and confusion. Do I want to teach it, spread it, sow the seed? Not really as I need to practice what I preach first. I need to focus on me, learn to walk before I run. That’s where I went wrong the first time around.
So I’m reading, studying, taking it in. I might even blog about it on occasion. I’m not sure I want to talk about the contents of this post so please don’t be offended if I’m quiet in the comments section. It could all derail after a few weeks and normal service will be resumed. I have no targets, no lofty ambitions. I just want to see what happens. My faith is fractured, flawed and fragile. I will continue to slip and slide. But isn’t that what Paul forewarned all those years ago?