For the rest of my school days I was very wary of people around me; I acquired a keen sense of how scary and unsettling life could be. But time moved on, and so did I.
Towards the end of school I had started to read books like Marx’s Das Kapital. But apart from finding them “interesting” they didn’t help much at all. So when I went out to work, and needed to travel by train each day—forty minutes there, and forty minutes back—I turned to reading all sorts of books like Buddhist Scriptures and the Koran to fill in the time. After all, packed trains are notorious places for people not talking to one another.
Now to be honest, when I was reading the Koran I didn’t take much in—at least not in regards to its content. But I do remember an encounter one day with a man who was most irate that I should be reading such a book. I don’t know what he thought he would achieve, carrying on like he did, but his behaviour was appalling. It also left me with a very negative view of Christianity. So I stopped reading on the train. I also stopped searching for God.
Well I say I stopped, because what I did was to stop going out of my way to look for God. But it didn’t stop me being aware of his presence, or being sensitive to others searching for religious truths around me. After all, this was the time of the Maharishi, and the exploration of eastern religions. Furthermore, the music of the time would sometimes have a religious slant; and, perhaps not unrelated, a friend of mine took a keen interest in the demonic (which made me very uncomfortable indeed).
Yes they were interesting times. But then I swapped jobs, I even moved seventeen thousands kilometres away from home and family. Indeed I started a new life in a new country—away from the old routine. And somehow God got lost in the process.
I then moved again. This time only five hundred and fifty kilometres away. But this time I found that it wasn’t me looking for God, it was God looking for me. I was like God was saying to me, “Come back. Come back.” And he was most insistent.
Unfortunately at that time, it wasn’t that simple. There had been news of false Messiah’s, and there had been at least one mass suicide. As a consequence, there was the issue of how to know whether a church was genuine or not. And the last thing I wanted to do was to get entangled in one of those strange cults. So I ignored God’s prompting for a time. Yes, I remained aware of God’s presence, but I tried to push it aside. Despite that God’s prompting became more earnest, until it was a call I could no longer ignore.
So one day at work I checked out the local churches in the Yellow Pages. And to be honest some of the listings surprised me. The Salvation Army I had always understood to be a welfare agency, not part of the Christian church. And there were other “Churches” I had never heard of before. So I became very suspicious of the genuineness of the listings. But in the end I decided that I needed to play it safe; I’d pick something with which I was familiar—a church that had a connection with the churches back home. So I wrote down the details of a couple of the churches, I then promptly forgot to take the list home.
However, not to be put off, I drove around that night, looking for a church close to home. And I found a church I thought I might be comfortable with on top of a hill. It had a cross lit up for all to see. And the following Sunday I went there for the first time.
Now I am probably being unfair (once again), but I don’t recall ever having heard the Christian gospel before. But then maybe I just hadn’t been ready. Yes, I was a bit suspicious and uneasy about the (charismatic) nature of the church, at least to start with. But as I began to attend more regularly, and even got into the habit of going, I grew increasingly more comfortable with their style of worship.
Then having found my spiritual home, at about twenty-four years of age, I died …
Posted: 3rd July 2016
© 2016, Brian A Curtis