A short but passionate love affair

I was going through a really dark time.

My health was failing me, I hated my job, and my social life was slipping away.

Money was slipping through my hands, and I moved back in with my parents, who always seem to have a dark cloud hanging over them.

Life sucked hard. And it’s in times like these that people reach out for something that might give them hope, that might inspire, that might open the doors for healing and restoration.

I linked through to a website by the name of Evolutionary Christianity. A series of podcasts was about to begin with a large number of science and religious figures who all had interest in the odd crossroad between the two domains.

The series gave me something to think about, something to ponder. And I was drawn back to the one figure who had inspired my original faith crisis, Brian McLaren, author and popular figure holding a niche market in evangelical Christianity. The more I read and listened, the more I figured that I might just find love, joy, and healing within the realms of Christian faith again.

And hence began my short but passionate love affair with Jesus. I became a fervent church goer, Bible-reader, home-group attendee, and infrequent pray-er. My collection of faith related books began to expand, while I pushed aside all the secular books that did not aid the affair.

In the end it was really a one-side affair. The people who claimed to be followers of Jesus and speak so highly of his love weren’t overly accommodating to a sick and desperate soul. I didn’t find the elusive community I had been seeking. Instead I simply found disparate individuals celebrating the same delusion.

There was no mountaintop experience. The promise of faith was fool’s gold, all shiny on the outside and rough on the inside. I spoke to leaders and counsellors within the church who offered me very little.

One counsellor though actually made a big difference. She led to my finding the path out of depression and into actions that would lead to employment and a life with more joy. Her techniques were largely borrowed not from her faith but from her psychology degree, and as soon as I focused on the things that would actually make a difference, I no longer required the fantasy of Jesus.

As a staunch believer I would have defended Jesus as very real, God as supreme, and non-belief as delusional. Yet I now understand faith as merely a frame of reference, a way of seeing and relating to the world, which really is the basis for all mythology and belief systems. In the end I simply found faith to be pointless, futile, and generally immature.

I fell well into faith because I have always been rather naïve and immature for my age. Faith was a way that I could maintain my childish ways of thinking. Accepting the world as it is, and working with the world as it is, is both mature and liberating.