Slightly awkward.

I wish that I was vaguely skilled at writing book reviews. There are so many books that have been important to me on this whole ‘spiritual journey’ caper that I would love to be able to honour and do justice to. But sadly my review writing skills atrophied at about age 11 and will never move past ‘a great book for girls of all ages who love ponies and adventure!!’

But of course it’s been a series of fits and starts; reading one book that stated firmly and authoritatively that if you couldn’t accept substitutional atonement then there was no place for you within the faith set me back quite a bit, believe me. But eventually I came to see that what I thought was my own substandard and cobbled together theology of ‘less original sin and more moral influence’ wasn’t just ‘mine’ at all, and if fact actual (gasp) real Christians had thought along these lines for hundreds of years. The voices that are evangelising the loudest within our culture at the moment aren’t necessarily the bearers of the ultimate ‘truth’, apparently.

Who would have thought it?

There are a great many different schools of thought amongst those who are, at the heart of it, ‘followers of Christ’ and some of the elements that I’d thought were deal breakers are, in fact, not. But, just like a marriage, even if you don’t like bits of it, it’s the whole that’s important, isn’t it? If you get too bogged down in the detail of what doesn’t work, then you miss the overwhelming completeness of what does.

Reading ‘Convictions‘ by Marcus Borg in early December brought all the ideas that hadn’t quite connected yet together for me, and helped me realise in a quiet and unspectacular way that first, I actually am a Christian and secondly, I’m not embarrassed about it. I’ll let you decide which of those is a bigger deal…

Anyway, this is a bit awkward. Let’s just pretend it never happened and carry on as normal except for the fact that I’m a christian now, ok?

21 thoughts on “Slightly awkward.

  1. I’ve been sitting here for five minutes trying to put my response/comment to your post in words and I seem to be unable to do so. I am quite moved by it – mainly because I appreciate your willingness to be open to change. To admit something to yourself that you know to be true but you didn’t realize it was true (or you didn’t want to realize it to be true). I struggle with such things on a daily basis and am stubborn as a Missouri mule in changing. But God is patient, even if I am not.

    • Thank you- I appreciate your thoughts. I guess there’s no rush with things, is there, as long as we get to where we’re meant to be eventually ❀

  2. Let me offer you my congratulations! I’ve enjoyed what little of Borg I’ve read. Slowly I have evolved to my present position of agnostic theism. To be honest, sometimes I find myself tempted to find a good progressive Christian church; perhaps one where myth isn’t mistaken for history and symbolism for truth.

    • You’re the first person who has congratulated me – and it’s bizarre how chuffed it makes me feel :). I think in any church you’re going to find the easy to relate to and the not so easy to relate to. The challenge is to find the right balance.

    • I’m glad you found it interesting. I don’t think I have an easy, comment- friendly answer to that question yet. I’m sure I will eventually.

  3. Eva, I’ve only read a handful of your older posts, but I think I understand the reason why this is awkward (if I’ve misunderstood then I’ll be the one feeling awkward πŸ™‚ ). As an atheist who values freethinking above all else I want to congratulate you on being true to what you believe and telling others about it even though you may have believed very differently before. I’ve made 3 dramatic shifts in my worldview in my life and 2 of those times felt very awkward indeed to express to my friends and family. Perhaps feeling awkward at times is good for us, but I personally think if everyone would respect and look up to change in belief instead of valuing certainty and steadiness then we’d all be able to come closer to reality much quicker. It would also be nice if we never had to deal with the annoying I told you so’s.

    • Yes, you’re right. It’s a little embarrassing to be the ex- Dawkins acolyte who is now a believer. Although it may be more in my own mind than anything else, of course, and people might not actually give a damn what I believe when it comes down to it ( fancy that πŸ˜‰ ). There’s also the fact that I’ve been all angsty here for years about believing/ not believing and now her I am!

      • I just think it’s great that you’ve followed what you believe and come out with it even if you feel embarrassed about it. I also think it’s too bad that social dynamics work the way that they do to cause people like you and myself to feel that embarrassment about changing our minds even if we were fervent about our previous viewpoints.

  4. Hi Eva, I don’t feel awkward at all!! πŸ™‚ It means your aspirations have led you somewhere, and hopefully you’ll stay aspirational and look for what is good and true.

    Yes, some christians and churches claim to fully understand the atonement and know that their view is the only right one, but I think it’s a little too much to claim to understand God in such a deep way. CS Lewis and Tony Campolo, both of whom I respect, point out that there have been several different “models” or understandings of the atonement over the millennia, and we would be wise to remain a little loose on this.

    Looking forward to more good things on this blog.

    • Thanks UnkleE. It’s a fascinating area; I’m struggling to understand Christus Victor at the moment but I’m certainly very comfortable with the moral influence theory.
      And thank you for your help in getting me here πŸ™‚

      • Yeah, I’d favour something like the Christus Victor actually. If I helped you get there, I’m humbled and gratified. Now to make 2015 a good year!! πŸ™‚

  5. I am so glad that you are happy to say that you are a Christian. I want to join in the congratulations! I haven’t read the book and I’m guessing there may be things that you and I disagree on, but let’s keep the main thing the main thing! Welcome to the family!

  6. Writing book reviews or writing anything requires repetition and regularity. I know that because I haven’t written a book review for years I would struggle. But there was a time when I wrote them often and the writing flowed. Worry not. Just do the best you can in the moment – leave – then reread and rework a few times.You should be happy enough by then.

  7. And I’m sitting here thinking, “What shall I write?” It needs to be serious (because I’m seriously impressed with your whole ‘spiritual journey’ caper) but also light enough not to come across all pompous (or worse still, all ‘now you’re one of us’ because I wouldn’t want to inflict that on anyone!).

    In the end, I think what I’m looking for is “genuine”, because that is what so many people have responded to in your blogs: your genuineness. There’s so much integrity in someone putting it out there: “I used to be… but now I’m wondering/searching/questioning.” It’s such a gutsy thing to do and it fills me (and I suspect others) with great admiration for the honesty of your aspirations.

    So, thank you so much, Eva, for sharing the good news with us. (Did you get that? “good news”! Wink, wink, nod, nod, say no more!)

    • Thanks, I appreciate that ( apart from the ‘good news’ bit, obviously). I just hope that my ‘genuine’ never manifests as ‘over sharing and earnest’ because that tends to be just awful to read.

      I guess I’d better get myself to church at some stage…

      • i know a couple of ministers who’ve read some Borg, if that helps.

        Side note: did you know that “earnest” was the early 20 C term for young men of a particular persuasion?

  8. The labels, definitions and rituals can all get so confusing, and I think when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter! I think God cares about what’s in the heart and now what it’s called. I am glad you found your balance and place in it all πŸ™‚

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