When you go off to university, it’s easy to think that it’s harder being a christian. First of all there’s the awkward getting-to-know-people phase where society tells you to try and downplay your personality and everything with it, in order to fit in and make people like you, then there’s the peer pressure associated with the general ‘unaaay’ lifestyle, where drink and sex are offered to you on a plate, not uncommonly at the same time, and then there’s just everyday life away from your comfort zone of long established christian friends who you always fall back on when stuff hits the fan. However, being at home, back in the safety zone, I’m slacking.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being at home, there’s no pressure to drink and be that guy all the time, I know who my friends are and have so much more control over my own life, I watch tv on an actual television, there’s food in the fridge; I can have lunch! But what I’m slowly seeing is that all these things perceived to be obstacles, stumbling blocks, are really stepping stones in expanding your faith. As always, the bible puts it in much better terms than I: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4.
I guess, when the world is really hostile, you’re dropped into somewhere unfamiliar and forced to fend for yourself, your faith is really tested, and this is definitely a good thing, although for me it didn’t seem so at the time. This year I’ve grown a lot, spiritually, but it took a chance meeting (more like an extremely impromptu living room jam session) with an old friend to make me realise that ever since I’ve come back, everything has slowed down, and I guess God puts people like those in your life sometimes to just give you a kick in the right direction.
Nefyn – a summer camp I’ve gone to since I was a child, is coming up in a week’s time. For the last two years I’ve gone as a tent leader to two absolutely fantastic groups of lads and I hope this year will be no different. I’m praying that they really take something from this year, but not only for the week but to last them all the way through. Nefyn, as my best friend describes it, is a little piece of heaven on Earth, and this couldn’t be closer to the truth, except, well, it ends, and, as I experienced many times, you are left in the lurch of the dreaded Nefyn hangover. So as we were talking, and thinking up songs for the set this year, Dave told me about his idea for a Facebook church. He was right on the money when he said that church shouldn’t be restricted to a building but is about people getting together to build each other up, get taught and worship God. Coming home from Nefyn, one of the biggest things was the difference you feel when, at least in my experience, return to your home church. It feels like being at home does for me now, everything just slows down, the congregation is stiff, the music may only be an organ playing pre 1960s hymns and you may be the only young person there. This meant, for me, God was once again confined to an insufferable, lie-in destroying two hours on a sunday morning instead of an everyday relationship as He wants it to.
So could he be on to something? Only time will tell. All we can do is leave it up to the Big man and see what he has to say for now