Even if I remain anonymous I doubt it would take the ardent follower, should I ever get one, long to determine who I was as I wrote another blog elsewhere, on Blogger. That one is on popular culture. I will no doubt be cross referencing with that one from time to time. I guess I could keep other people anonymous though, the ones I will refer to, people from my church.
I came to my church by a series of coincidences. Basically, it was through a forum, based in America, for separating people. This led me to a divorce group that just happens to be in a town near me in the UK. Out of all the people in the room at that first meeting there was just me (and later another guy) who were not Christians. I was surprised at how normal, and indeed, hip, many of these divorcing people were! That sounds awful, but they looked unlike whatever my image of a Christian person was.
I did not really take on board a great deal of the Christian teaching in the seminars and DVDs but I was open-minded. Two books, self-help ones, had had a profound effect on me during the beginning of my own separation: Hope for the Separated by Gary Chapman, and Take Back Your Marriage by Bill Doherty. The latter is one of my favourite books of all time. While Bill does not openly state he is a Christian, the way he expresses himself, seems to indicate that he is. He is very focused on marriage being supported by community and he is very pro-marriage – and he also talks about how we have a view of marriage as a consumer item.
Neither of these books saved my marriage but they helped me to remain calmer during the separation. I liked the more rounded view these books present of marriage and what it means. Love Must Be Tough by James Dobson was also a good read, though I do not agree with his views on homosexuality.
For me, getting a more involved with the church has been partly about encouragement/teamwork on a spiritual, emotional and practical journey and also about connecting with decent people.
I read the book Safe People, from the divorce group library. This book builds on things I had learnt previously through counselling and other self-help books. I am the Queen of Self-Help! At this time, just months ago, I was knocking around with some people – mates, I suppose – not my close friends, who are ace, but these other people I knew from the music scene. The mates are not bad people but not what I would call ‘safe’. Many of them are delightful, but some are or were not really addressing deeper issues – and that can impact on those around them. Meanwhile, I was hearing people talk at divorce group and thought, ‘Maybe these are the sorts of people I need to spend a little more time with.’ These were people trying to get ‘whole’. They were not idiots. That was what brought me into the church first off.
Now I am trying to read as much as I can, read the Bible, and sort out my thinking.