top of page


A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice.... Isaiah 42.3

Those who were raised in Evangelical circles sometimes emerge with a personal legacy of bitterness. It seems to happen when they reach a moment of revelation, when they wake up to the distressing realisation that they have been faking it, pretending to go along with the religious hype but not truly buying into it. It may not be their fault. Belonging is attractive - whether it is to a gang, a team, a band, a tribe - but it can lead to conformity and, before you know it, the pressure to believe and behave in ways that don't ring true. Resistance to conforming can be interpreted as failure or betrayal. Doubts and objections may be dismissed as signs of weakness or rebelliousness - in religious circles sin. And the consequence can be rejection, both ways - of the group/ by the group.

It doesn't have to be this way; it shouldn't be this way. But it is complicated, charting a course between discipleship and maturity. There must be space for questions, respect for alternative opinions and perspectives. Isaiah's prophecy about the Messiah suggests one who is gentle with us in our struggle to believe, in our desire for meaning, in our wrestling with past experiences or worries about the future. With God there is no need to impress nor the pressure to conform. Instead we are called to be genuine, humble, compassionate, adventurous and kind. Were that to permeate the way we do church - youthwork, midweek groups, pastoral visiting - perhaps there would be fewer disillusioned ex-believers and more mature disciples, growing in grace and faithfulness?



bottom of page