5 ways I’ve replaced Christianity.

I’ll be honest. Christian living hasn’t fit very well into this post-university adult life thing.

In fact, in the year that’s gone by since I was taking finals, it seems that most of the things I knew as ‘being a Christian’ have been replaced, for better or for worse.

Here are 5 swaps I’ve made.

1. ‘Daily Bible reading’ for ‘daily Metro reading’.

If churches have drilled nothing else into me over the years, it’s https://c2.staticflickr.com/4/3530/3922422734_3ebaf449cd_o.jpgbeen this: read your Bible every day. As a teenager, I’d try, with some degree of success, to be up half an hour before I needed to, to sit in the kitchen with my Bible and a cup of tea. Through university, I kept the habit; more often than not, I’d sit in my chair (in front of the fireplace in my beautiful third year room) and start the day with a passage of the Bible. It was my place to hear from God before I heard from anyone else.

Now the first thing I read each morning is whatever bit of the Metro I can see over someone else’s shoulder on the tube. It doesn’t have much to say to prepare me for my day.

All I usually manage these days is to cast an eye over the daily verse that pops up on my phone, in the brief moments when I get WiFi at underground stations.

2. ‘Pray about everything’ for ‘blog about everything’.

I give you exhibit A, this post. Ever since I can https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4007/4263193267_fb5cee0c57_z.jpg?zz=1remember, I’ve woken up each day and said (aloud or in my head), ‘Morning Lord!’ It’s the start of a conversation that would get going properly over that cup of tea and Bible time, and carry on at any pause throughout the day.

Now, my day tends to start with a less than cheery ‘Crap, how can that be the time?’ Prayer comes in moments of panic, moments of helplessness, or most often, when I’m editing them for work and realise I should probably pray them too. But blogging fills the gap. It’s just as therapeutic. It helps me think. And the responses are there in black and white on a screen.


3. ‘Serve the Lord’ for ‘serve the life plan’.

It was easy when I had no life plan, or when the https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4028/4579520419_5897bf9f8f_z.jpgchoices were pretty limited. In school, I was to serve the Lord in school. At university, a little more complicated, but serve the Lord there whatever it may look like. Work hard to honour God. Serve other people. Share the gospel. I didn’t have many other decisions to make.

Now there are plans, and choices, and dreams to follow. There are goals to serve instead. Read more. Learn more. Write more. Publish a book. Speak to the Church. Heal what’s broken. Change the world. It all takes up a lot of time, and serving the Lord has fallen by the wayside.

4. ‘Make disciples’ for ‘make conversation’.

I think this blog is the best evangelistic opportunity I thisisjesushaven’t taken. But now I’m more interested in listening and asking and chipping in than in converting the masses.

Before university, I was convinced I’d see crowds of people come to Christ; I thought CU mission weeks were a magic formula for getting students saved and baptised. But it didn’t happen. It turned out people didn’t really want to be treated as mission projects or potential converts. No matter how excited I got about a ‘great opportunity’ or a ‘fruitful conversation’, few were ever convinced.

Now, it turns out I have more potential evangelistic opportunities than ever. People who are not Christians, or used to be Christians, or might not be Christians much longer, get in touch about faith and doubt and questions. And yet, I’ve lost the urge to convert or reconvert them to any particular brand of Christianity, because it’s such a conversation killer. And there’s life in the conversation.

5. ‘Encourage one another daily’ for ‘favourite each other’s tweets occasionally.’

Every environment I’ve known up to this point has been a natural seedbed for intimate community. School, family home, a church just seconds from my front door with other members living on streets nearby. The intense, inescapable community of an Oxford college, and a Christian Union in which everyone knows your name and probably most of your testimony too. The number of people to keep track of had a natural boundary, and friends outside those close-quarters were manageable exceptions. Bumping into someone every day was normal, and there was always time for a quick catch up over tea and toast.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7158/6448368377_1e6b883297_z.jpgLife in London doesn’t foster community. It’s big. Full of possibilities and people. There’s no-one in the world I see every day, as lives criss-cross over a sprawling network of people and places and connections. But if I let you know I’ve seen your Tweet with a click of that little star, will it be enough…?

________________________________________________________________

Time to take stock. Time to reassess. Time to prioritise. Time to tap into old habits. Time to find new expressions. Time to remould. Time to try a new fit. Time to reaffirm. Time to repent. 

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About Claire

@claireylegs Keen on Jesus. Keen on justice. Ministry assistant in the Great North East. Blogger. Find me in: coffee shop / church / pub / bed.
This entry was posted in Evangelicalism, My life and faith, Recent posts and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to 5 ways I’ve replaced Christianity.

  1. Ronovan says:

    Nice post. In whatever you do, no matter the profession you serve as an example by the way you carry yourself, and present yourself. As for converting the masses or what not, interaction in tweets and blogs also deliver a message. I have found there are far more similarities around the world than differences. I think you have a great potential to do a great many things for the Lord in whatever direction of life plan you go just by being who He has made of you.
    Sincerely,
    Ronovan
    Romans 1:16

  2. Gosh, this speaks to me so much. I, too, have struggled over the past year of “grown-up” living to maintain spiritual habits that came easily during university. I think my husband and I have both gone through this and it has made us feel disconnected from God and a little bit from our own selves.

    I think with any big transition it just takes time to redevelop habits and find ways to make things work. I mean, I also used to do more cooking, more working out, and more spending time with friends while I was at college. Now, all of those things are more scattered. I hope that I will be able to figure out how to fit in the things that mean the most and that help me feel the most spiritually whole.

  3. James Brown says:

    I like your blogs. I guess you are essentially trying to work out and re-define who the heck you are post-university and how your faith works in this big wide world that has no boundaries and endless possibilities. Keep going, you’ll get there 🙂

    As i was was praying for you i felt like you need a new song to sing to the Lord because you have been singing the same songs for years. Worship him with a new song. And yes that sounds very vague because i don’t really know what it means either!

  4. Adrian Jones says:

    I think you’ve crystallised what many Christians discover as they move away from the protected environments of early adulthood…and many respond by building new protected environments, either in church or domestically or by making themselves too busy to even think about the issues. So you’ve identified the issues….which ones need attention most pressingly? What tiny step do you want to make next?
    xx 🙂

  5. oddsocks34 says:

    “I think this blog is the best evangelistic opportunity I haven’t taken. But now I’m more interested in listening and asking and chipping in than in converting the masses.”
    Believe me when I say that this is (in my opinion) one of the most potent forms of evangelism. To talk to and seek to understand people, with all their doubts and uncertainties without an ‘agenda’ is so much more of an attractive and Christ-like attitude to have to people who are asking the big questions. Jesus didn’t heal people and then say ‘now you have to follow me’-he told them to go on their way, but they chose to stay. In the same way, his parables didn’t talk about converting the masses-only one of the seeds we sow may fall on fertile soil, but that one plant is worth everything to Him.There is also the parable of the shepherd… I could go on. Our God is so gentle that we have to seek Him out; He doesn’t pressure us to believe today, or tomorrow, he waits for the time when we are ready-so why should His followers try to? To be clear-I don’t mean to keep quiet about faith and never to question or ask people about their beliefs, simply to understand where they are coming from rather than just answering their questions with a ready made biblical reference, as seems to happen fairly often.
    From my own experience of being reacquainted with Christ, it was through becoming friends with some Christians at university. They didn’t try to talk to me about theology, they may have occasionally invited me to CU events, but I was never made to feel pressured into attending any of these, not once did they make me feel as though I was being judged for not seeing things the way they do or did they interrogate me for my reasons for not believing. Through them I saw Christ working in my life, and without any real conscious effort on their part they turned me back to God. As a gay asexual carrying a lot of baggage with regards the church and religion in general (not entirely to to with my sexuality), this was the greatest gift I could have received and it has transformed my life. Being a Christian isn’t about seeing people as objects requiring salvation, it is about seeing them as the children of the same God who loves us in spite of ourselves, and seeking to understand them in the same way He does. If we can do that, then conversion should follow naturally. Not an easy task in any way (trying to talk to my atheist dad about this always ends up with me getting frustrated and annoyed, thus having completely the opposite effect), but it is the one that I believe Christ entrusted to us. Again, this is just my opinion 🙂
    Thanks for your blog, it has been a really interesting read 🙂
    Katie

  6. Pingback: ‘A slice of pie to take away please. Yes, the humble one.’ | The Art of Uncertainty

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