I didn't see it as anything else than looking more deeply to banish the doubts that were lurking.
Doubts over things like giving out condoms to prostitutes- a sin, I was told, putting me out of communion with the church (though that post vanished not long after I read it.)
Like whether Bishops who made statements that contained information that conflicted with accepted scientific research should be subject to criticism of that research (isn't what the Church says good enough for you anymore?)
And to cut a long story short, the exploring led to a shattering of the foundations.
On November 21st, I sent the request asking that my icon be changed. I was in turmoil inside, and the decision to deprive a senior member of CF of a Christian icon because of her beliefs threw up the fact for me that I, too, could not state I shared those beliefs..
I originally sent this to one of the mods and was told to send it to a member of Alpha
I've been thinking about this over the last few days/weeks really. I cannot put my hand on my heart anymore and declare that I believe/affirm the Nicene creed in all it's aspects and therefore should treat myself the same way I would have treated someone else when I was a mod. I have a lot of doubts at present but also, the decision about "H" and a couple of other posts I have read have convinced me that I need to do this.
What was interesting was that although I could not at that point say that I had lost all my faith, in fact in a message to a friend I said this..
"Just wanted to let you know I won't be posting in OBOB for a bit.I prayed for people still, asked for prayers and held on, to what I wasn't sure entirely, but held on I did.
Because of various things I've changed my icon to Other Church, which means I cant post in the CO section.
I'm still going to church and all that, I just don't like things about the way that CF has done some things lately added to which I am actually all over the place doubt wise
It hopefully will stop me being on so much and hey, it'll sure keep me out of Reilly's."
But as I explored more and could only read and not post, cut off, as it were, things got fuzzier.
Until finally, on December 5th 2005, after a weekend in which I had argued long and hard in GA about OSAS doctrine, I realised here I was actually talking about myself
"I think our understanding of another is difficult because we are coming from 2 different approaches.
I can see what you are saying. From a viewpoint that does not believe in the type of spiritual rebirth you are talking about, I would say that if you examined a "born again" Christian in minute detail- their thoughts, beliefs, attitude, prayer life, and their intimate view of their personal relationship with Jesus and compared it with the people who are posting on this thread when they were calling themselves "born again", you would find no difference.
To you, I think you are saying, it is because either they were not truly in a relationship with Jesus or that they were and will one day return, being inevitably drawn back to that which they cannot resist.
To someone who does not believe in Jesus anymore, they have experienced a great loss, because whatever you say cannot undo the fact that their beliefs, their relationship to them was genuine, full of meaning and often the be all and end all of their life. And not believing as you do in this spiritual rebirth, they quite rightly point to you and say, R, I was once like you.
Until suddenly, one day, it all became so much straw."
So I wrote once more to the patient alpha member and asked to be designated a non Christian.
I've come to the conclusion that the only honest thing I can do is ask for a change to a Seeker icon.
I cannot really say I believe anything anymore, which is probably the saddest thing I have ever written.
But I will keep seeking and hoping that one day what I had will return."
And now- I'm exploring again but in a new a totally different area of my life and this exploration is fascinating, frightening, at times exquisitely painful but leading me on relentlessly.
Who knows where it all may lead.
I don't think, sadly, it will lead back to faith, but as I bid a fond farewell to CF, a place where I gained so much friendship, but lost so much, I hope at least to be led to a place where I am not afraid to talk and tell about what I am thinking or feeling for fear of being condemned and rebuked, as happened at CF. Because that may lead to change, but not in a good way, in a painful, twisted, nightmare, where things plunge so far down so rapidly, so out of control.
So here is to exploring, but on my terms...
And here's to the "celebration" shortly coming up, of my first anniversary of that nightmare day when I looked in the sky and realised I no longer saw God there...
And in that celebration (ironic word) realise the pain of realising it was all so much straw is the same today as it was nearly a year ago.