'I thought most churches were filled with moralising geriatrics'

Mike’s story | From mockery to a liberating faith

“I grew up in a secular home in suburban Australia, where religion was categorically rejected; it was seen as a crutch, and people of faith were derided as morally deviant hypocrites. I remember, as a teenager, writing poetry mocking belief in God. My mother threw enough profanity at religious door knockers to make even a sailor blush.

Many years later, however, I was invited to church by a colleague in the military. I went along out of boredom, wanting to do something different. I thought most churches were filled with moralising geriatrics. I was very, very wrong.

I began to read the New Testament for myself. The Jesus I encountered was far different from the deluded, radical – even mythical – character described to me. This Jesus – the Jesus of history –was real. He touched upon things that cut close to my heart, especially as I pondered the meaning of human existence. I was struck by the early church’s testimony to Jesus: In Christ’s death God has vanquished evil, and by his resurrection he has brought life and hope to all.

“Faith has been liberating and transformative for me.” – Mike

When I crossed from unbelief to belief, all the pieces suddenly began to fit together. I had always felt a strange unease about my disbelief. I had an acute suspicion that there might be something more, something transcendent; but I also knew that I was told not to think that. I ‘knew’ that ethics were nothing more than esthetics – a mere word game for things I liked and disliked. I felt conflicted when my heart ached over the injustice and cruelty in the world.

As faith grew from seeds of doubt, I came upon a whole new world that, for the first time, actually made sense to me. My life changed immediately. I wasn’t always on the town with the guys looking for a good time in bars and clubs. I cleaned up my life, my language, and my attitudes to many things. I took to reading the Bible daily, and started reading about Christian theology, learning about the lives of important men and women in church history.

I was very touched by Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” That verse has always remained with me wherever I’ve been, in the good times and the bad.

To this day, I do not find faith stifling or constricting. Rather, faith has been liberating and transformative for me. It has opened a constellation of meaning, beauty, hope, and life that I had been indoctrinated to deny. It has compelled my lifelong quest to know, study, and teach about the one whom Christians called Lord.”

Mike’s story is part of Eternity’s Faith Stories series, compiled by Naomi Reed. Click to read more Faith Stories.

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