MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 64
Article views: 6
Latest Badges:

View all Trishpp's badges.

Am I A Christian?

27 December 2012, 09:09

As Christmas approaches I start to ponder this question more and more. In reality I have been asking myself this question for the past 10 years.

Why is this so difficult for me to answer? For 48 years I was a devout Anglican. I went to church every Sunday and to a large degree my social life and my church life were totally intertwined. Making teas, belonging to a cell group, getting involved in charitable functions were part of my everyday life and I never thought to question my faith.

Anglicans are sometimes referred to as the "frozen chosen" by those who dislike the formal order of service, the "smells and bells" and the traditional music and of course our liking for our favourite pew week after week. I like the structure, the formality and the silence before services. It gives me time to collect my thoughts and focus. I am inspired by the powerful music produced by an accomplished organist and choir and although my singing leaves a lot to be desired I love to participate in the beautiful old hymns. 

Modern charismatic churches with noisy bands, everyone jumping in and interrupting and participating at will unsettle me. I can't focus or concentrate. No, this is not old age making me crabby. Over the years I have tried many different denominations but if there is no structure (that I can understand) I am lost. The service becomes meaningless.

After my divorce in 2002 I moved to Cape Town and I immediately sought out my local Anglican Church as a place to find solace. Ironically the sermon preached at the first service I attended was on the evils of divorce and being the "guilty" party in my own divorce left me feeling more alone and devastated than ever. I persevered however for 6 weeks, quietly crying through every service yet no-one came to comfort me. I filled in the newcomer slip and asked for a visitor. What I received instead was a package in the post asking me how much I would tithe.

My rock-solid faith started to wane and along with many other changes in my life I started to question my faith. I am being judged by a church and people who don't know me or my circumstances. I am a "fallen woman" and need to be saved. Where is the loving God that I have always believed in?

As part of my journey I joined a Philosophy School. We met once a week for 2 hours in a very non-judgemental, unpressured environment. No questions were asked about why you were there, what work you did, what religion (if any) you followed, your marital status or any other personal information. You were gently welcomed and if you wished to participate you could or you could simply sit quietly and absorb the topic for the week.

It was there that I learned to meditate, to live in the present and most importantly to stop judging others. Each of us had our own reasons for being there and we learned to accept each other for who we are.

If someone asked a question pertaining to their own personal belief system, they were not ridiculed but were simply asked to think about why they held that particular belief. In our class we had Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and those of no specific faith.

Instead of getting involved in external charitable causes we would spend occasional days cleaning windows, gardening and other maintenance at the beautiful big old house that had been renovated and converted into the Philosophy School. All the work had been done by people like me on a voluntary basis as part of our own personal journey.

Preparing a meal together was an amazing experience. The large kitchen could accommodate up to 25 people and we would work in silence focusing on slicing tomatoes, washing lettuce and laying out platters of beautiful fresh breads, cheeses and fruits. You could be in the middle of slicing a tomato and you would be asked to put down your knife and let someone else takeover and you would move onto another task. It was all about letting go of our egos and laying claim to something that was not ours but simply part of a whole.

Many of my Christian friends and some family believed I had been abducted by a cult. They chose not to try and understand. Perhaps I couldn't explain it well enough.

Paradoxically I had become far more spiritual and started to read my bible with a greater understanding than I had ever had.

So, am I a Christian? Was I ever truly a Christian or was I simply practising what I had learned as a child? Did I go to church simply for the fellowship and music?

I believe Christ existed and I pray regularly in private. Often my prayers are answered, sometimes in unexpected ways. I tend to pray to God (or perhaps some higher being) rather than to Christ. I don't know why.

I try to live a life filled with love and compassion for others and try not to lie, swear too much, covet others belongings, steal and hopefully I will not kill anyone. I love my children, my husband and all my extended family to the best of my ability.

I abhor violence and cannot understand these religious wars. I also cannot understand why I need to live in fear of God and that I need to be saved or I will go to hell.

It was extremely distressing for me to watch my mother who had the deepest, simplest and most sincere faith suffer terribly in her last few weeks because she could not let herself go in peace until she had been forgiven by a close family member for something she perceived herself to be guilty of. Mom was the most amazing selfless woman and no matter how much she was told otherwise she felt judged by God.

So, am I a Christian who just can't go to church? Am I just a drifter taking the bits I want and not prepared to commit?

These are questions I continue to ask myself as I sing carols that I hear playing on the radio.

I continue to search for answers.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Lindiwe Mpofu
Change is coming to Zimbabwe, one...

Growing up in Zimbabwe in the 1990s I had two big heroes, my maternal grandfather and Robert Mugabe. Read more...

0 comments 318 views
Submitted by
Dave Kirkman
Divine intervention thanks to Ang...

One cannot help but wonder, if the Angus Buchan one million prayer meeting in mid-2017, was the catalyst that gave momentum to the spiraling unraveling of the multiple layers of protection which corrupt politicians and others in South Africa thought were impenetrable.  Read more...

0 comments 76 views
Submitted by
Natasha Meyer
School discipline: what happened?

I remember how in Std 2 I was so scared of writing my Math Speed test that I ended up fake fainting in assembly and then later in the library.  Read more...

0 comments 36 views
Submitted by
Annette Nel
Water crisis: City of Cape Town h...

Unluckily, the toilets have to be flushed or epidemics will be the next problem. I understand the drought, but I'm sorry, you as government have left it to late. Read more...

0 comments 3358 views
Submitted by
Lawrence Fengu
Dealing with Zimbabwe's fault lin...

Zimbabwe has been a ticking time bomb for almost two decades and, in that period, SADC actions have merely been a futile exercise of papering over the cracks. Read more...

0 comments 261 views
Submitted by
Ken Sibanda
Why Robert Mugabe should not agre...

Military rule in Africa has done nothing but cause continued human suffering in all parts of the world. Read more...

0 comments 5622 views


RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2017 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.