I remember my childhood; poor but generally happy. But as I entered my mid-teens nothing seemed certain anymore. Most of the friends I had all went on their separate ways, mostly never to be seen again. I wonder if any of them really remember me as I remember them.
I still haven’t made a success of my life, and still wonder what my future holds and what great plan God has in store for me. In thinking such philosophical things, I either come to some conclusions or I just end by asking myself even more questions, which equally lie unanswered. And it’s a general curse of humanity that we all have so many questions but rarely ever any satisfying answers. Evolution? Creation? From apes? Or specially created? 6000 years old? Or unfeasible billions of years? A reason to it all, or just empty meaninglessness? I wonder if God cast out Adam and Eve out of Paradise because they wanted knowledge that was beyond them, or they just asked too many questions?
It has sometimes felt that I have journeyed strange voyages alone and my consciousness and certainly my imagination has gone to places strange and wonderful. And I’m not talking about going the supermarket! No, I mean that sometimes I feel that I am the only one asking questions; of course we all have questions but it seems that no one wants to hear them, seemingly no one even believes you should be asking them and few if anyone can really answer them. And sometimes the people we expect to be trying to answer them, are the ones who seem the most reluctant to do so. As someone said about organised Christianity ‘we have all the answers, but don’t ask any questions!’, and because some, but certainly not all, Christians are cowed into accepting and swallowing what those in power in the churches say without question, the only people who are asking genuine and meaningful questions about Christianity and belief in general, even if for the wrong reasons and intent, are atheists.
We need to take back the debate and Christians and those at every level of organised Christianity need to accept that we want to talk about contentious issues, we have questions and we should talk about them in an open, honest and meaningful way. We need more democracy in the organised denominations too, less hierarchy, less of an obsession with social status and more genuine grassroots participation. It shouldn’t just be about particular denominations so much even, but perhaps meeting in houses or pubs or cafes, places where other people already go; well, it’s just a thought. What I’m saying is that a reappraisal of organised Christianity can’t hurt, and rather than something from top as usual, it should be about all Christians. The age of the Internet proves that many people have a voice and are increasingly being heard. What church do we want? Should Christianity reflect the Internet age? Are we preaching to the converted? Is Christianity fuddy-duddy and frankly too Middle class in England? I don’t have all the answers but I truly wish these and many more questions would be asked. And we may ask the most important question: is Christianity religion?
Is there a fear amongst those who believe in a particularly organised Christianity that if we strip away the religion, the ritual, the hierarchy that there will be nothing left? What would be left would be at least relationship; at the very least this would be an interesting proposition. I sometimes think that some people are religious because they want to keep God at a distance: ‘I’m holy enough God, I do all these religious things, so back off!’ or words to that effect. What I mean is that sometimes the adherence to religious rituals and dogma may actually be because deep down a person has doubts, or they fear a deep meaningful relationship with God, so settle for something less, which is where religion comes in perhaps. But to me religion at best is like telling a hungry person to sit at a table full of food, and then being told not to eat. Do people fear the sheer simplicity of relationship, that something so profound yet essentially simply is just too good to be true? I wonder.
We are all destined for Heaven as Christians; aren’t we? I have been thinking about this for a long time now, and admit that sometimes I feel a little confused about it all. What is Heaven? Where is Heaven? I don’t worry too much about the details but I want to live my life fully on earth before worrying about anything else that I don’t really have any control over. Don’t we all worry about things now and then, and some of us find we are worrying all the time; that can be exhausting can’t it, just worrying because even if you try to stop, then you are worrying about worrying! Oh brother! Yes it’s a pain, but what can you do?! For me, Heaven can wait. I haven’t even lived my life yet. As John Lennon once said ‘Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans’ and it’s the truth, we can’t live in a constant state of worry or even anticipation, we have to do mundane things sometimes, go the supermarket, watch a bit of telly, feed the cat, iron our clothes and so on. Life in all its glory and mundanity; we can’t escape either so why bother worrying?