It’s been a long time since I’ve regularly posted here, but I think I’m finally coming back round to it.
When I started blogging, I did so because I needed somewhere less instantaneous than the pub to think through and articulate my ideas, my struggles and my doubts. Otherwise I just found them being shut down or excused, and had no comeback.
I used to joke that I stopped blogging because I met my now wife. There’s some truth in that. When we first got to know each other we’d spend hours talking philosphy and theology. And so I didn’t have as much need for my outlet.
As always, there’s truth in every joke made. But there was something else going on too. I lost my voice. I didn’t know what to think any more, and I didn’t even know what to think about not knowing what to think any more.
I was lost.
I moved cities, moved home, moved churches, moved contexts and lost the immediacy of my closest friendships and above all the sense of meaning and purpose that I had gained living and breathing missional community.
I have had to start again.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s been well worthwhile. I needed the break, I needed the change. I can’t yet articulate why, but I know I had to get out of the life I was in, and meeting Becca was the perfect way to do that well.
I’ve come to realise that life is more complicated still than I had thought before. I found myself further adrift than ever from evangelical Christianity, from charismatic Christianity. I’ve had hurtful conversations with close friends who tell me that I’m missing out, that I’m neglecting God, that I’m not living my best life. All because the way that I see the world is different to the way that they do.
But you know what? I’ve never felt more comfortable in myself and with my spirituality.
God is like the oceans. You dive in, splash around a bit, and as you grow more confident you go deeper, and deeper, and deeper. You explore more and more. And the more you explore the more you realise just how vast this thing is. Just how unknown it is. Just how alien it is. The great paradox of God is that the more we know God, the less we know God.
My biggest hang up has probably been the afterlife. I came out a while ago as a Christian Universalist. Nowadays I’m more of a “noniversalist”. I’m not sure I believe in an afterlife. I don’t think it really matters, either. Because Jesus didn’t walk the earth to (only) die.
No, Jesus walked the earth to show us how to live well here and now. To have life in all its fullness. To love our neighbours and our enemies. To give up the sword. To sell what we have and share in common with those in need.
I can’t be sure of an afterlife. I can hope for one, I can believe or not believe in one and it won’t change the reality of the situation. But one thing I’m certain of is that I don’t have to pray a prayer to get in. There isn’t a straightforward answer. So why focus on that when we can focus on here and now?
So the question becomes not “who or what is God” but instead “what does it look like to live life in all its fulness” and, because there’s still a little Welsh Evangelical voice in the recesses of my vast bank of over-thinking, “how can we make sure everyone gets to experience that“?