It all began when I was a young lad.
Actually, no it didn’t. I missed out on Christianity during my formative years and grew up as a normal cynic, with no thought given to the big questions such as, “So, what’s it all about then?”
To be fair, I was exposed to religion at an early age at Hamilton Baptist Church. That was the ‘family church’ in the sense that those of my family of a certain age (old) and who were of a religious bent, went to that particular church. However, my parents stopped going after a particularly unpleasant visit from an elder. My family has a fair sprinkling of Protestants and Catholics through numerous ‘mixed marriages’ – a relatively unusual phenomenon in a west of Scotland/Glasgow area town where sectarianism was (and still is) very prevalent. For example, my maternal grandmother was a Catholic; my maternal grandfather was a member of the Orange Lodge – figure that one out. That said, only a few were ‘good Catholics’, regularly attending Mass. I do remember though, my Gran saying that she was sure I was going to pass my driving test (2nd time round) because she said a special rosary for me.
Anyway, the upshot was that, although exposed to religion, I did not come from an especially religious background but I never felt uncomfortable in church.
I started going to church again at the approach of the birth of my first child.
And so I became a regular churchgoer, but not a Christian. That happened a number of years later and it’s all Bryan Kerr’s fault. He was organising our summer mission and I had some holidays left to take.
He asked, in his questionnaire, “What areas/age groups/activities are you willing to work in?”
I said, “Any.”
He read it as, “All.”
And so I had a busy week at the end of which I realised that I couldn’t be a Sunday morning ‘Christian’. I either needed to get serious or get honest. I decided to get serious, and took my first step along a path that didn’t lead where I expected it might.