On 25 November I committed to a a Christian life. It was not a sudden or hasty step and has been a process of many years. In those years, I started looking at Christianity, initially to expose it, but ove time I got grabbed by the words and teachings of Christ and as a result they became the guidelines for my life. An “ultimate guide to humanism” in which love and compassion for as good as I can became leading principles in my life. All the time without there being any urge to be connected with God or anything. Jesus as a teacher I guess is the best way to describe it.
In September I returned from the Netherlands, with an urge to start gong to church. But which one? My discontent with anything that had to do with the traditional churches had grown considerably over time. More recently my sister in law recalled how I once said that I would go into a church one more time, however to throw in all the windows. That is probably how deep my negative sentiments against (traditional) insitutionalised Christianity had run up. At the same time I did not see any value in new age, self-centred approaches. Sure you wil find references in which I talk about “the Kingdom of God is inside you” (vgl Luke 17:21 or the Gospel of Thomas 113 which includes also “and all around you”). What I was talking about however is a search for a state of wholeness (similar to Buddhist philosphy) and not of us humans becoming little Gods ourselves (New Age). Christianity started to become more of an individual matter therefore, something in which I made up the rules (My understanding the importance of the rules thing will be subject of a post to follow).
In September I went to and returned from the Netherlands, to finally be at peace with the idea that New Zealand is my home. But something else had happened: I, of all people, came back with an urge to go attend a church!?
You can imagine my issue here probably: which one to go to?
Prior to my departure to the Netherlands we had run into Catherine and Gideon Hoekendijk, at a gas station, very briefly. They happened to have started a church and left us a card with the details. We ended up going there and so far never looked back. For the first time I did not feel like walking out. For the first time I felt it to be something real.For the first time I met people that actually were interested and not just checking you out: they were real and genuine.
From there on a lot of things have happened which I will post about in other posts. Ultimately it led to the committment of 25 November 2009. Thanks to the wise remark of Kaye at Harmony Church the dime dropped:
“You remind me of my former husband. He was also an intellectual, always studying always writing about religion and God but you know, that may end up standing in the way of actually enjoying a relationship with God.”
That was one “bulls eye” that kept haunting me for the weeks to follow. (See other, older, blog posts) and would turn out to be the trigger to open up my heart and all that was and is to follow.
Today I added this new category under which I will post reflections and thoughts and that relate to my journey as a young Christian, Bible passages, book reviews, music, videos, thoughts, insights or the way I understand things to do with Christianity.
You may wonder why? So it may help others depart on their journey. So as to share thoughts with others. To refer to what I have found to be valuable resources that may be of use to others along the way. To pose questions, as I do not pretend to have the answers, at best opinions.
I sincerely hope that you will share your thoughts, experiences and resources (links) here (as opposed by email) so all readers can enjoy.
Rest me to explain why this category goes as renaissance and journey. Renaissance refers to the transformation that came and is coming with this new direction. Journey refers to the process itself an the experiences that are part of that.I could have chosen for something like reborn but Renaissance Man, is how I have been posting for the past years (See about). The Shorter Collins describes it amongst others as:
“awakening, new birth, new dawn, reawakening”
So, while initially and still referring to the range of interests and skills it is now rapidly gaining an additional meaning: the Renaissance Man as the reborn man.
Reading John 3: 3-6 in the Bible:
“I tell you the truth, no-one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again … I tell you the truth, no-one can enter the Kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
I guess this is one way of identifying a process of tranformation. It did not come with a loud bang or fireworks, a dramatic event, but the signs were already there: without even realizing it I stopped swearing, music finally started making sense to me (since playing in church), finding myself considering that what I saw during making pictures was good enough evidence for me to believe that there is a God and well finally opening up my heart completely to anyone other than myself is quite a step. Other references to the transformation, for those that have an urge to grab their Bible, can be found at:
- Peter 2:9 (from darkness into light)
- Romans 8:21 (from bondage into freedom)
- Romans 6:13 (from death into life)
Even though a short one at this stage, I see this all as a journey, a spiritual journey, a journey I cannot oversee the length of, a journey on which I don’t know what I will encounter, only God does, but most of all a journey of reciprocal committment (see Hebrews 13:5):
“… Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” ( Also see Deuteronomy 31:6)
For me this journey at the moment is focussed on one thing only, getting acquainted, and all I can say is that this quite a joyful matter in which lively ‘discussions’ (prayers/meditations so you wish, I prefer a chat with a friend) are leading me into new territories in a safe and “childfriendly” way. It’s very much a process of discovering you have a new friend for life but one that is not afraid to challenge you (in the most positive sense of the word). And isn’t that in fact what friends are for?
Enough for now, see you at the next “stop”.
And for those that me be interested in learning more about Harmony Church. Follow the link below.