I grew up in church, drifted away, then came back, then drifted away again, then came back again…You get the idea.
On reflection, this cycle kept repeating for a few reasons. I’d had a profound experience of Jesus, so thought I’d better go to church. But when I did, it seemed detached from the complex realities of the world. Consequently, it often gave simplistic answers to questions I wasn’t asking. Also, I quickly discovered that asking questions (which there were few opportunities to do) made people uncomfortable.
To cut a long and unexciting story short, I ended up studying theology at a small college in Birmingham (and later at a larger college in London). Here, for the first time, I was encouraged to ask questions and discouraged from responding with simple answers. I thrived!
Then I landed a job with the charity Bible Society as their corporate researcher. Again, it was an environment where I was encouraged to question, doubt, wrestle and read. I’d like to say I thrived, but everyone was way more intelligent, more widely read and better educated than me. So ‘intimidated’ is probably a better word to describe the experience.
Then I took a job for a local Methodist church, working with non-churched young adults. This is where I came crashing down again.
It didn’t take long to realise that the non-churched people I was connecting with were, like me, open to an experience of Jesus, but weren’t much open to traditional church. So I started doing church differently, which didn’t go down too well with my boss!
Around this time, Nomad was born, and I started sharing these doubts, questions and experiences online. Much to my surprise and encouragement, I found I wasn’t alone.
Then I got an email from a listener, asking whether I’d consider a job as a Methodist pioneer minister. I did!
Now I spend my time podcasting, writing and speaking about all of the above and more. I also help shape a small community of people interested in Jesus. And I spend the rest of my time unpicking my Christian prejudices by hanging out with people from other religions and none.
Funning how things work out, isn’t it?!
Oh and I’m married and have a young son. And I’m trying not to like food and TV box sets as much as I do.