Church – week 3

Today was my third visit to the church. It’s a good place – i like it. The people are nice, and the music is great. They play quite modern tunes, lots i’ve never heard before, and also a few of the good old songs. They did the dreaded 4/4 version of Be Thou My Vision this morning – the version that sounded great the first time i heard it (in about 1998) and has been steadily annoying me ever since! You know what would be really awesome and innovative? Try playing Be Thou My Vision in a slow 3/4 as it was intended!

There was one song that i could not sing. I just could not agree with it in the slightest.

One way: Jesus
You’re the only one that I could live for

You are the Way the Truth and the Life
We live by faith and not by sight for You
We’re living all for You

Umm, no, sorry. I do believe that Jesus is one way, but not the way. Jesus is not the only way that people can know God. I am sure of this because i know plenty of people who have a wonderful, admirable relationship with God, without the need for Jesus. Ever had a chat with a Muslim during Ramadan?

You will never ever change
Yesterday today the same
Forever till forever meets no end

This idea that “God never changes” is dangerous, in my opinion. Change is good and healthy. If God never changed then we would still be stoning our daughters and women could still not be priests. Oh, wait …! Society changes and religion has to adapt or die. I think that’s pretty obvious.

There was one song that i really liked. It was about God, and mindfulness. It was quite mystical, like something from St Francis of Assisi.

God in my living
There in my breathing
God in my waking
God in my sleeping
God in my resting
There in my working
God in my thinking
God in my speaking

Be my everything

That is such a nice song. No surprise, it is written by Tim Hughes, one of my very favourite Christian artists … and not just because Tim Hughes is exceptionally cute! ;)

I spoke to someone afterwards about this thing i have about Jesus not being the only way. The response was something along the lines of: “Ask Jesus to reveal himself to you. I’m praying for you. There’s nothing worse than not knowing.”

There’s nothing worse than not knowing.

I agreed with that. I’d love to have something to believe in. But the more i think about it, there is something that i believe in. I agree wholeheartedly with something that a dear friend told me a long time ago:

Christians have not got everything right, and non-Christians have not got everything wrong.

The one thing i cannot stand with Christianity is this superiority thing. It’s been three weeks and already i feel under pressure to go along with what they believe. There seems such an urgency to make up my mind that Jesus is the only way! I must conform, i must agree. I’m sure they think they’re trying to help, but this is the very thing that puts me off.

I once left a church because they prayed that Muslims would “find Jesus” during Ramadan. I once left a prayer group because the leader was actively praying against the Muslims being allowed their own prayer group. I am very intolerant of intolerance!

The more i think about it, the more i believe Neale Donald Walsch has it right:

We are all one. Ours is not a better way, ours is merely another way.

I have always wanted to go to a multi-faith church. I think that would suit me perfectly. The trouble is, where’s a multi-faith church anywhere near Winchester?!

I like church. I think church is, on the whole, good for me. It’s nice to feel i belong somewhere. I enjoy collective worship. I enjoy getting to know people and making friends with people. I just hope that they can accept me as an agnostic, not expect me to immediately jump to their way of thinking, and not expect me to want to run out and convert everyone.

People will all follow their own path. There is plenty of good in this world, and there is evil. There will always be a balance. God is good. Jesus is one way to God, other ways are also available.

PS. Here’s a link to that wonderful song by Tim Hughes.
PPS To be fair, here is also a link to the One way: Jesus song.