Of late I have been pondering how I have moved in my spiritual life. My upbringing was fairly traditional evangelical so how have I ended up in a more radical view on Christianity.
My problems started in my late teens / early twenties when I started questioning parts of my faith and found that my peer group would describe what I was saying as heretical. As a result I shut up and just got on with being an evangelical but my faith got weaker and weaker. I knew I was the 'seed that fell on thorny ground' but I had no idea how to get out of that situation.
Eventually, in my late forties, I bought a 'Bible in a year' and started to work through it. I admit that some of the Old Testament is hard going but two things in the New Testament were to completely change the way I looked at my faith. The first, which I have already blogged about, is in John 1 where it is clear that Jesus, and not the Bible, is the Word of God.
The other occurs in several places in the Gospels and it is how Jesus proclaims his message, he says 'The kingdom of God is near you.' and not 'The Kingdom of God is something you go to when you die.' To Jesus The Kingdom was about good news to the poor, oppressed and outcasts here and now. Now the classical evangelical way of looking at things is that Jesus' mission was all about what happens when you die and, although that is part of the picture, Jesus preached about the here and now.
These two things enabled me to start asking honest questions about my faith and finding that there are answers. It also leads me to a much bigger picture of God and His work in the world.