I came from a Christian background and was baptised and confirmed in an Anglican Church as soon as it was age appropriate to do so. I was too young to remember my baptism but I remember my Confirmation as being a purely logistical consideration as my Dad “forced” me to do the confirmation. My Old man was a regularly church-goer and very well liked in church. In fact, if it wasn’t for my Dad’s good standing in church, I would never have been confirmed as I probably broke every rule during the confirmation year. The little interest I had in the Confirmation process, was completely eradicated when on the confession day (day before being confirmed), the Priest gave me a real tongue lashing while working through my confession pages. Needless to say almost every sin on the confession template was ticked by me. In fact, I was so riddled with guilt about my confession session that I destroyed the pages on my way home. I therefore had the distinct honour to be the only Kid in my family who never brought their confession page/s home. An honour my older sisters constantly reminded me of. So in a nutshell, like probably a lot of “Christians”, my early days were filled with some exposure of the church through my parents but it was something I was made to do and not something I wanted to do. I indulged in some form of degradation but I never did drugs or got involved in gangsterism. In addition, I was taught to “FEAR” God and therefore there was never a denial to religion or questioning of God.
In February 2018, the leader of the Alpha group contacted me to consider doing Alpha that year. My response to her was that I was, amongst others, busy with my final phase of my PhD and therefore time would be a particular problem. However having been an acquaintance of this leader back in the day, I started observing her behaviour and was amazed to see the change in her. It was evident that some positive intervention was transforming her life. I spoke to my wife and we agreed to give Alpha a go. We agreed that we would be open-minded about Alpha. We got on well with the church community and most of the leaders of Alpha. I immediately noticed how new the leaders were in their spiritual journey. The most notable observation however was how much these leaders and participants acted with an unconditional love. There was no judgement, no expectations, no pressure, only pure, unconditional love and that was the tone for the entire course. It was the first such observation, I had ever experienced in church.
I never felt that I was forced to stay or believe in anything what they were saying or explaining throughout the course. In the discussion groups I felt comfortable to ask my questions without being judged. It was a platform where I could express myself and question beliefs and find answers to my questions. It was an exciting part of the course. However I realized everything I thought I knew about Christianity was turned on its head. Through Alpha, I came to realize that faith is not about make believe, it is about trusting God. To get my answers, I need to trust God as the basis for my answers. I now have a personal relationship with God through Jesus and have never felt more at peace. I no longer fit God into my life but fit my life into God.
Alpha has been the springboard for my “proper” spiritual journey and now the Lord has given me the wings to grow in an individual relationship with Him.