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Reform Magazine | August 19, 2017

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Commitment-Phobe: Home group

Commitment-Phobe: Home group

commitment-phobe-crop“Early Christians opened their houses – sharing food, singing and praying. That appeals to me.”

So I got baptised. What do I do now? If I was a child I would join the Sunday school, but I’m an adult and my class is the church service. A great effort is made there to teach us to look at our faith, the Bible and the Christian lifestyle, but I feel like I am missing something. Perhaps it is the debate of the Alpha evenings last year – their intimacy, or their sense of community. After eight months, I am slowly starting to make friends, but there is long way to go. I still suffer from a feeling of unworthiness that even my baptism hasn’t quite shifted. I know that praying and communing with God will help me with this, and I tried to really go for this during Lent. I planned to go to sleep early and wake up an hour earlier than usual in order to pray and read my Bible. It turned out I was being overambitious: I ended up sleep deprived, and gave up after a week. Giving myself a hard time, I forgot to talk to God.

Rather than read the Bible every day, I have ended up reading Nick Page’s A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity, which is a bit silly and very informative. In some ways, this is a really bad move at such an early stage in my Christianity, as I am realising a lot about why the Christian religion is practiced in the way it is, and not much of it seems to have anything to do with Christ. On the other hand, I am comforted by learning that early Christians would not have had access to the New Testament. What did exist from the beginning was the “home group” – I guess it was the first church. People opening their houses to fellow Christians – mainly the disenfranchised of society – sharing what food they had, giving comfort, singing, praying and talking.

That appeals to me. My vicar is keen to promote home groups. My church has two, held in a pub, which sounds like heaven to me, but I am too old for one of them and the other is only for men. (They drink pints and discuss politics and faith. Why this is men only, I have no idea.) The other home groups are mysterious affairs: They appear on the church handout and have names like John and Jane, Greg and Linda – but other than time and place, no more is explained. How do you ask to join one? And do you want to join a group of people you don’t know in a small confined space?..

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This is an extract from the May 2015 edition of Reform.

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