This blog post has been a long time coming. I have an admission, a declaration to make, which has changed my life forever.
I am no longer a Christian.
Just typing those words stirs up a maelstrom of emotions. It is so difficult for me to write this. But I need to sort this out in my own mind, if not for the friends who care about me. For those of you who may be reading this in shock and disbelief, I’m sorry. I hope I will be able to justify my decision. Please don’t judge me for it, or try to talk me out of it, no matter how much you feel you need to. I’ve already made it.
For those of you who may be reading this with a ‘told you so’ smirk, don’t assume that I’ve turned into a Christian-bashing atheist overnight. Not to say that all atheists bash Christians. But a lot of them do. I am not that either.
As a human being, I feel that I know enough about love to speak about it with authority. My mantra has always been to show and give love, always. When I attended church I lived by it, and since I left, it remains with me. I wholeheartedly believe that there’s no situation in life which needs any other.
I’m not a parent. I’ve never been given the responsibility that comes with bringing new life into the world. Yet, I know what such a responsibility is, above all. To love your child deeply and unconditionally. All else falls into place. You feed them, clothe them and care for them, because to do otherwise would be unthinkable. You celebrate their successes more than you would your own. You cry with them when they fail. You protect them from the evils of the world. You are always there for them, no matter what. You will always love and accept them, whoever they grow up to be.
This is what we call unconditional love.
To be given it is to know the most precious gift in the world. I may not be a parent, but because I have a mother and had a father I know what one is.
You may wonder why I am going to such lengths to prove the above statement. Of course, I’m being as longwinded as always (<.<;;) but I wanted to create the solid foundations which my opinion needs to stand upon regarding an issue which has become so important to me lately.
Today, 2nd February, is my maternal grandad’s birthday. He died at the back end of July, almost four years ago. I remember him as a cheerful and independent man who loved his garden. He painted, he made beautiful things with his hands from wood. He built on a collection of household tools and gadgets to rival the contents of a hardware shop. He sold poppies.
When you lose someone, you realise that you didn’t know them as well as you thought. You remember all the questions you wanted to ask but never did. Stories come out, the kind that only emerge when people’s thoughts are settled on the one who has left; stories that you never heard before, that paint a completely different picture of the person you knew. Sometimes these stories are best left unspoken. Others are truly beautiful.
Hands up – coming clean – I am a Christian. The chances are, you wouldn’t know this about me unless you really know me. I have never been the type to stand on a soapbox to proclaim my beliefs for all to see. I don’t even share them with other Christians (unless asked) because in my 26 years of being a follower of Christ I have encountered more hate, rejection and derision inside a church than out of it.
That being said, I am still a Christian. I call myself an unconventional one, and this is why.