I come from a non Christian non religious background for which I have thanked God (in one way anyway). I am an Englishman living in Belfast and have lived here for many years now. I became a Christian about 12 years ago now and I am soooooo glad that I never got into the whole conforming thing. (not that I am rebellious by nature but I don’t like silly rules). I have belonged for the past 4 years to a church plant called Wells (www.boringwells.org)headed up by a minister (Adrian McCartney, he wont thank me for saying that he has been an inspiration to every member of our community and helped all of us try to engage with everyday life in different ways so as to authentically missional.
I help run a drop-in for local kids and it has gone pretty well thus far and we have had lots of relationships built up with the local teens though it has taken us 4 years to get to this stage. My wife and I have just moved into the area to try to cement those relationships and to confirm in some sort of subliminal way that we are here to stay.
I have just finished reading “A Different Kind Of Christian” and ” The Last Best Word” and at times I wanted to know if this was really real. Not so much the hell stuff but most of the first book I was left thinking ‘hurray’ someone with the words to explain how I am thinking and feeling about God’s love and Grace and Forgivenenss. (loved that mention of C.S. Lewis’s Tash I honestly was thinking about that a couple of years ago when I first read Mere Christianity and re-read the Narnia series) I am not saying that so that you will think ‘smart asse’ but just to let you know how pleased I am that someone with a long distinguished history in the ‘church’ would validate, even just to me, my own thoughts.
With regards to the hell issue I am going to have to read it all again to make sure I have the right handle on it. I think I might be in danger of oversimplification but I, at the moment, believe that is something I am not going to worry about unless cornered by someone with a big ego who wants to beat me up with words. I don’t worry about hell because in my smug christian way I am convinced that I won’t be going there. I will concentrate on living in a way that Christ would want me to live and if i can convince any along the way to join me on my walk then that is great. As long as I stay true to what I believe Jesus would have me do then I am going to be seeking out the poor and oppressed and feeding the hungry and releasing captives and helping the blind to see where-ever I can. If that is what Christ was here to do then I will give it a go to. (most times I am afraid dont look too hard for the poor because it is mentally overwhelming and I can only weep. Neither do I work that hard at freeing the oppressed, occasionally I do a little feeding stuff and if people I know are bound up I help them if I can) what I mean is that I am very much a work in progress and I would love to see our teenagers come along so that I can show them just how GREAT this life is that I am living and how big are Gods plans for them, So big are His plans that they will have to step back and back and put their hands up to shield their eyes and then they will realise they have been holding their breaths and PHEW!!