Cake, not christenings
The Failed Atheist: A spiritual autobiography… part 3
I soon learned that the Bible was a meeting point… I would say to God, “I will meet you at John 14.1-6 at 5 o’clock,” and I would imagine Him saying, “See you then… and don’t be late.”
So at some time after 5pm (I always was late), I would open the door and step into John 14 and we would meet… I would imagine he was speaking the text straight to me… and I would talk back to him, thanking him for it and asking him questions about it.Part 2 of “The Failed Atheist”
Now since God was in the room-things were changing – something quite unexpected happened; I never knew Christians before but suddenly, I started to meet them, bump into them by chance or be awkwardly introduced to them. How did they know? They were like an unwanted sales assistance sidling up to as you nervously fumble around a clothes shop with the ‘no money’ you have, thinking to yourself, “go away sales person, I’m dreaming – don’t prick my dream-bubble with your ‘ahem, this is a real shop and we want your real money’, harassment thing that you do”.
Christianity to me was private, it was my own personal thing, me and my heavenly dad – not sure I want to meet my siblings yet just in case they know him differently or tell me differently about him.
I was slowly realising that Christianity can’t be an exclusive, get-lost-I-found-it-first type of thing. Water follows the course of least resistance and travels along a path collecting with it other trickling streams doing exactly the same thing – eventually they emerge as a vast river, so we are, moved, not by gravity but by his Spirit, as we converge in our journeys.
Somehow, by the Spirit’s will, I gravitated towards them. They were nice, they were kind and they were, in truth, a little odd… but then so was Bob!
Alongside Bob I now had new Christian friends, like Adrian for example.
Adrian was tall and thin, really thin, I mean scary thin and, well, a little different. I couldn’t say why; seemed a bit nervous; a bit intense, (frankly the word ‘strange’ comes to mind). I would never have been his friend normally – but oddly am now; must be because, like me, he was also a carrier of His Spirit.
Monday morning Geography, and Mr Jennings was struggling with the overhead projector screen again; banging it on the ground to get the legs open… until it snapped back and caught his finger.
“Ahhh! Why can’t we get decent equipment in this ridiculous, stupid, rubbish…”
“Don’t swear Mr Jennings”, Bob quickly interjected, “it’s not allowed”.
“Don’t lower yourself,” cried Geoff lander
Strangely, amidst all of this commotion, Ade said right out of the blue, “It’s the Holy Spirit you know”.
“Your gravitational thing”.
“Yes! The Spirit that’s in us is also now in you”.
“He’s like the liquorice in ‘Liquorice Allsorts’ – all different but with the same centre”.
Adrian was different that was certain; not just because of his greasy hair and spotty face. In ‘Liquorice Allsorts’ terms, I would liken him to the small round bright coloured knobbly one… although he wasn’t actually small and round, he was definitely ‘knobbly’!
I can see now all these years later, how Adrian was spot on, (excuse the pun). It’s why Paul talks about being “unified in the Spirit” – not in your hairstyle or magazine subscription. It’s His Spirit that pulls us together and keeps us together. All the time we remain in the Spirit we remain as one. The more we are in the Spirit the more we are one, the less we are in the Spirit, the less we are one.
Naturally the conversation with Adrian was approaching the point of no return; I had now befriended the Christians and it was time for me to be invited to their meeting.
“So do you want to come to the Christian Union after school?” Adrian offered.
“Ooh don’t think I’ve been to a ‘meeting’ before,” (which was polite code for, “what! You must be joking!”).
Thing about Christians, I discovered, is that they do like a meeting – unlike atheists who prefer a very individual, private and personal faith. (I say faith, because I believed there was no God, couldn’t prove He didn’t exist, so I went out on an atheistic faith-limb based on my own understanding). Atheism was very much private for me and short lived!
“So do you want to come to the Christian union with us?” Adrian persisted, with a hopeful look in his eye.
“Err not sure, all sounds a bit serious and, er, not sure”. I said.
“Go one, it will be great”
“Oh really?” trying to sound interested, “what do you do?” Like I cared!
“We talk, we pray and we have a cup of tea”. Adrian said, with a closed smile.
I stared at Adrian, waiting for more, I thought that he was talking about the intro – that he was just leading up to saying what they actually did, which was really interesting… But he didn’t, that was it!
“Is that it? Is that what you’ve been trying to get me to for the last 4 weeks? What about the candles, funny clothes and strange initiation process?”
“No, we just pray and have a cup of tea”.
Seeing a way out, due to the menacing and life-threatening boredom which the meeting promised, I said, “Umm, I’m not sure Adrian , it sounds really, (pause) dull”.
This went on for weeks; Adrian trying to persuade me, and me squirming out of it; until finally, on one Thursday afternoon in English Adrian said, “are you coming tonight, there’s is going to be chocolate cake”.
I give up – he won’t relent and now he’s trying underhand tactics like cake!
“Really, chocolate cake?” Well, I thought, you can’t knock it till you try it can you? You’ve got be open minded about things.
My atheism was about to be finally put to death as I was to be initiated into the church through cake. They say its christenings, but really its cake.
To be continued…