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Christian? Spiritual? Religious? Or Just Plain Mad?

I start to write this piece with some caution, not because I’m afraid to voice my views but because everyone is entitled to their own opinions and beliefs and as someone once said, “you can please all of the people some of the time but you’ll never please all of the people all of the time!”  A reader of these pages contacted and said I have strong political views but what were my opinions and thoughts on God, the creator?  So here goes.

When I was growing up my parents had opposing outlooks on religion, my mother was a church attending believer, while my dad thought the whole idea a waste of time.   When my mother insisted we attended church and then Sunday school dad did his level best to dissuade her, of course he lost the argument and off we went every Sunday morning to attend St. Thomas on the Bourne church.  Bearing in mind, the we was mum, me and my brother Nigel.  The other five of the seven children were either too young or not yet born.  So for one year we walked the the mile or so up the lane every Sunday, attended church, then walked back again for lunch and then later in the afternoon, tea.  That’ll be a real tea, sandwiches and cakes, all sat at the family dining table.

During that year mum made the decision, or had been planning it for some time, one of her sons was to become a vicar and as her eldest son, that task was going to fall on me! My early years were a mixture of mum telling me not to fight and to “turn the other cheek” and my dad telling me  “If someone picks on you, hit first and ask questions later!” Of course this caused heated discussions between my parents!  Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your point of view, my dad’s business was expanding and he needed the help of his eldest son so, at the age of nine I was seconded to work on various building sites each weekend for the princely sum of two shillings and sixpence, that’s twelve and a half pence in today’s  money, for two days work!  Not every weekend of course but most. So growing up in that environment surrounded by a bunch of swearing, uncouth blokes on a building site sort of removed any thought of religion or church going from my mind.  There’s a lot more to this story but to get the rest of it you’ll have to wait for my book.

Anyway, grow up I did and in 1975 I met my wife and love of my life, Julie.  We married in St Andrews Church in Farnham, Surrey in 1980 and so life began.  Over the coming years Julie had a need for explanation and she gradually explored various religions, she looked at Catholicism, she read about the Hindu, Muslim and Buddist faiths then for no apparent reason only known to her she decided to go and attend our local church, then attend classes to study to be confirmed.  Did I feel the need for that explanation?  No, I’ve always known “things.”  For many years I had experiences which I didn’t really understand at the time but at the same time I was never frightened.  I’ll explain later.

So Julie completed her journey at that time and after quite a few attendances at the local church at her side, after she received her confirmation back into the Christian faith,  I was invited to do the same, I was about 38 at the time.

I duly went along to the first meeting at the vicarage and the vicar asked me a question.  “So do you consider yourself a Christian Kevin?” “A Christian?  Well I guess so” I replied.  “So what gives you the right to think that Kevin?”and then before I could reply “After all we don’t see you in Church do we?” Red Rag to a Bull Time…. “Well no you don’t because Sunday is a family day for me, and believe you me, my time with my family is much more important than spending a couple of hours in a draughty old building with people I don’t know.”  He went to speak but I held my hand up and continued. “I’ve learned in my life that the Church is one of the wealthiest organisations in the world and at times one of the most bigoted, towards each other and other faiths.  So that said I have a set of rules I live by.” “Really?”  came the vicars surprised interjection. “Please share with the rest of us” Did I detect a smirk? No matter, I answered him as honestly and directly as I could without insulting him.  “Reverend, I figure that if someone needs help, If I can, I will.  I took my marriage vows very seriously and I’ve always been faithful, tolerant, worked hard and looked after my wife and children.  You know?  The way I see it you can call me whatever you like but I’ve never done any person a deliberate bad turn.” There were a few sharp intakes of breath from around the room. I continued. “Now if helping people, looking after my family first and not being generally nasty doesn’t make me a Christian then I’ve no room for your God in my life!”  With that I slipped my coat back on and let myself out.  I’ve never been back in any place of “worship” to worship since.  I’ve attended the obligatory weddings and funerals, but never to worship.

I told you earlier I’d explain more about my experiences, some more odd than others.   From an early age I have seen things most people can’t see, not all the time but certainly on many occasions.  I’ve had experiences which at the time seem odd, then suddenly have felt enlightened, not in a religious way but more of a “ah I remember!” Get it?

Julie did her “bit” with the church then over a period of time she became more open and receptive to other ideas, some from Hindu, others from the Muslim faith, more still from Buddhism, she never practised any of them but one day some twenty years ago we sat and talked and talked, just us.  By the time we had finished talking we knew we had been on this earth many times.

Indeed since then I’ve been told by many people I’m an “old spirit.”  This makes sense because I’ve left my body when seriously ill,  I’ve seen people when nobody’s there, I’ve been given messages which I’ve passed on, oh and before you ask I’ve never taken a drug in my life except whatever the doctor has prescribed.   The most important thing is though, I know, yes I know and have known since I was a child that despite all of the hell we humans keep putting each other through, some of us have to keep coming back to try and fix it.  After all even the worst and most evil dictators throughout history thought “God” was on their side in one form or another.

So to answer the question I was originally asked.  “What do I feel about our Creator?”  If his/her  name’s Allah, Buddha, God, these are only names that have been given by man.  Hindu beliefs are probably closest because they encompass the universe.  I’ve certainly never had religion, because wars are fought in the name of “religion”. Religion is an excuse for power and control.

Through those dark days during the last few months of Julie’s life we talked about what we knew and that gave her the confidence to face the pain and the final days.  Do you know what?  She’s always here when I need help.  I’ll finish the book and you can read about it.

There is much much more to be said on this a topic which science cannot explain but in the meantime  I’ll leave the final word to my grandmother Elsie who died from cancer about 16 years ago.  I used to visit her every other day whilst she was in hospital.  I visited her on the Sunday before she died and at leaving time I gave her a cuddle and told her I’d see her on Tuesday.  Her reply?  “No, no point in coming over Tuesday ducky, you’ve a long way to drive.”  “Don’t be silly Nan it’s not a problem”  She smiled then on Tuesday she died…..

Thank you so much for reading.  Leave a comment below. X

 

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