I was talking to someone today, sharing something of my personal story, on a course I was on in Durham. At the beginning I heard myself say these words:
“I am in a period of transition, still finding my way into the freedom’s Christ gives me as his disciple, having spent the last three years recovering from 15 years of being in a tightly religious life with very little sense of freedom or ability to make my own choices.”
I went on to share how for me, the last three years have been like a reconversion, more firmly centred on Christ, his mission, his ways and his teaching. Everything else secondary. He is the only one who deserves my allegiance. It is all for him.
Another great joy in recent months and years has been in exploring different and authentic-to-me-and-authentic-to-Christ ways of being, believing and enacting the faith I have in Jesus. I feel a great liberation to preach from the heart what I hope is both at the same time hopeful, realistic and compassionate gospel and not some canned up presentation that ticks the theological straight-jacket. The thing is, when you abandon yourself to Jesus, there is little that is likely to ever limit you again.
Some of us need to leave the church we’re in to find that freedom. I’m always more than happy to walk the walk with those on the fringes and the margins, who don’t fit, who hold some stuff with suspicion and who don’t see God as a kill-joy or Regimental Sergeant Major. In many ways, I am fringe. I love the people of God, but don’t always like what we’ve made it.
It is for freedom Christ set us free. To live in any other way is to deny his death and resurrection. We need to keep that in mind.