For someone who claims to be open-minded and accepting of people of all walks of life, I am ashamed to say I make assumptions towards people who are religious, deeply or otherwise. I make assumptions about what they must be lacking by having faith, and rarely think about what they must gain from it, instead. And that is why Cheri’s post makes for difficult reading, yet is a real wake-up call. Faith is a choice. Some of us choose it and others do not, and choosing not to talk about it is, in its own way, deeply prejudiced.
Also, after reading Cheri’s post, make sure you click on the link for Alpha. It opens with a picture of a man looking for faith at the bottom of a bin. Brilliant.
Over to you, Cheri. Thank you for making us think twice:
Let’s get it out there right from the start, so that there is no doubt what this post is about – I AM A CHRISTIAN. I have faith in Jesus Christ and I am proud of that. I’ll talk about my faith (in a non preachy way) to anyone that expresses a vague interest and that may listen – colleagues that get stuck in a car with me on a long journey, new people I meet on hen dos, at weddings, or in other random places.
People react differently. Some are interested and ask all those questions they’ve always wanted answered. Some tell you about their own experiences (good and bad) of faith, or more commonly, religion (which to me is more about ‘rules’ rather than a solid belief or faith in God). Some look at you with suspicion and then choose to ignore what you’ve said, moving swiftly on to another topic of conversation. Some bombard you with science and think that you are stupid for believing in anything other than the ‘theory’ of evolution.
I said I’d tell anyone didn’t I? Well everyone except my family. Don’t get me wrong, they know I’m a Christian, but they don’t ‘get it.’ Because of this I find it hard to talk about it in front of them. You see, I’m a ‘born again’ and only became a Christian a year or so ago.
My story goes something like this:
I was one of those stereotypical “had-it-all”, but actually when it came down do it, didn’t really, and something was missing. I had (still have) great family and friends, a good career, own house, car, and lots of spare money to spend on clothes, holidays etc. But I wasn’t happy, I was lonely, I had serious issues with food and eating (a whole other post) and always drank that little bit too much when I went out and ended up crying and angry. It was all brushed under the carpet in the cold sober light of day though. Just over two years ago I met the boy that was to become my now husband. He was a Christian. I made a point of telling him straight away that there was no way in the world ever ever ever I was going to church with him……but I liked him, a lot.
And what do girls do when they want to impress boys? They do things they aren’t necessarily interested in just because it means spending more time with the boy. So, after a week, I went, and I actually quite liked it. All ‘happy clappy’ I suppose you would call it, nothing like the church my grandma goes to. And to cut a longer story short I became a Christian nine months later. I did a lot of reading, listened to a lot of sermons and new friends’ opinions, and did an Alpha course. My now husband was obviously pleased, but my becoming a Christian was not a condition of our relationship, Christian or not he loved me.
Then came the reactions from my family and friends.
My dad just doesn’t understand at all, and will brush all talk of church and that part of my life to one side if it is raised in conversation. He doesn’t get that I actually believe in God, and that affects the way I live my life. I think he also thinks that I had a good childhood and I was going okay, so why do I ‘need’ it and what did he do wrong?
My mum had a Catholic up-bringing, but no longer practices, although I think she believes in something. She loves me and respects my choice, but doesn’t fully understand.
My sisters call me a ‘God-botherer’ but in a good humoured way. Again, she respects my choice, and although she doesn’t fully understand, she does take note when I try to explain things, and she has taken time to talk to my Christian friends and try to understand.
Finally, my friends. They struggle with it I think, well, I know. They see the change in me as a bad thing. The not drinking as much, the fewer nights out, the more nights in, my slower pace of life. One friend told me just last week that the new me is a shadow of my former self. But if that means I am happy, I don’t drink to forget, and I don’t binge to fill a void, is the new me really worse than the old me?
So, over to you. Are you a Christian who has had a similar experience? What would your reaction be to someone that told you they were a Christian?