I love Oxford. I like the “dreaming spires” and academic town centre; its colleges, and bookshops,and museums. I am beginning to feel like this is where I should be. Like I belong here, somehow, even though I haven’t really been here that long.
Another part of that belonging, I think, is down to the people I’ve met – at work, yes – but also away from it, in Girlguiding Kidlington, at Brookes’ Lenten Reading Group (book review to follow), Oxford Brookes Chaplaincy, and at St. Columba’s URC.
I find, yet again, that I am blessed to be surrounded by so many ‘people of God’. I relish the discussions that we have in church Bible studies and reading groups, thinking through questions like “where is a Christian’s home?” or “why did Jesus want to keep His healing a secret? (cf. Luke 5)”. I am, at heart, an academic: I love debate.
I talk about Jesus, God and Christianity a lot. But I can’t talk to them. I had a difficult weekend – my father visited, and I helped him with online church-hunting in Llanelli, and in the Gower. He wants to visit the different churches – because he’s thinking of moving there. He’s even been thinking about what sort of property to get. Thinking of that makes me tearful – and it’s what I think of first, when I try to talk to God. So I don’t.
What’s the use of feeling confident in academic / theological debate – in being able to talk about God – if you can’t talk to Him? It’s just white noise. It feels, on reflection, like it doesn’t mean anything.