Was my decision to become a Christian not the beginning?
I have written about my decision to become a Christian in my first year at university. I used to think that was the beginning. Nowadays, I look further back in my life. This does not reduce the importance of that decision or take anything away from those who influenced me at the time, and since. It just puts it all in context.
Was there a beginning during the year before my decision?
Just before I went to university, I saw the musical Fiddler on the Roof. I was impressed by the way the main character (a Jew – not a Christian) spoke to God casually, honestly and often irreverently, like an old friend. His religion was an important part of his life, but it wasn’t just the official side, it was a relationship. I also remember seeing a debate on TV where someone said people always believe what they want to believe: what makes them feel comfortable. In reply, an elderly clergyman said there were times in his life when he had wished God didn’t exist. He had been tempted to give up, but he didn’t because he knew God was real. That stuck in my mind.
Did school help or hinder the beginning of faith?
When I first became a Christian, I began to learn about the faith and I realised how little I had learnt in RI or RE and through assemblies. I had taken History as one of my A-levels, and during one term we had specialised in the Reformation. We so concentrated on the economic and political factors that little of the religious aspect came through. In the long run, that was useful, as it helped me put things in context, but it played no part in moving me along the road to faith.
Did my faith not have a beginning at home?
My parents were not atheists, but we went to church only occasionally. They didn’t talk about it much. However, an old lady who was a close friend of my parents, was a Methodist, and did talk about it sometimes. I don’t remember much detail, but know it meant something to her.
When was the beginning, out of all these moments, and what came next?
I don’t know, but I suspect they all had a cumulative influence on me. Of course, my decision to follow Christ was in itself a beginning rather than an end. I will write about the next milestones on my journey in a future blog.