Growing up in an evangelical Christian home I have always been encouraged to wear my faith on my sleeve.
My struggle, both professionally as a lawyer and personally, is that those two words — evangelical and Christian — now carry with them a whole host of modern day implicit assumptions, often negative, that immediately create distance and cause suspicion.
So in my deep desire to embrace real friendship and to develop healthy relationships with colleagues and friends alike, I’ve tended to downplay my religious affections.
But that left me with a nagging sense that I wasn’t somehow being true to myself, and in turn others, as to a significant part of who I am and why it is that I believe what I believe.
In an effort to square this circle, I began to blog in 2010 under the title www.whatistruthbook.com. This way I could share heart, and if anyone wanted to know, my life literally was an open book. It also encouraged me in the discipline of writing for a real audience rather than maintaining the hubris of the half-drafted unpublished manuscript silently gathering dust in the desk drawer.
Knowing that will help you to understand why the chapters in this book are so short; aside from this also excusing my childlike attention span, and, in fairness, the limited time I had for extracurricular writing, particularly since being blessed with a family.
Nevertheless I hope both the online site, and this book as a printed collection of blog posts, goes some way to meeting the challenge of engaging 21st century readers through its succinct style and easy to put down and hopefully pick up again authorship.
The writing itself is not meant to be academic. And for the handful of people who suffered my laid back approach to supervisions whilst studying New Testament theology as an undergraduate at Cambridge University, that will come as no surprise.
But there is a verse in Scripture that I live by. It reads: “always be prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you;” 1 Peter 3:15, and continues, “yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
This latter direction is why you’re unlikely to find me on the God channel or preaching on a soap box. It’s not that I object to the proclamation of the Gospel in principle, or having the freedom to do so — I don’t, not least as a practising barrister who has to contend with human rights issues in court.
Rather, it’s that sometimes the underlying reason for publicly declaring the Christian faith appears to be motivated by the greed of priests and pastors seeking converts to pay their dues; or the accusational and finger-pointing judgmentalism that issues from those who are themselves afflicted with guilt or the mistaken belief that redemption can be achieved through attainment.
So in rejecting both of those reasons for speaking about faith, my prayer is that what follows in these pages truly is a defence; an explanation and a reason for the hope I have — a perspective shared with you, the reader, in all gentleness and respect.
No-one has a monopoly on truth and I acknowledge at the outset that my own viewpoint is flawed and imperfect. That said, I hope it is helpful or informative in some way or other.
And so I credit the One whom I believe enables me to live life, dream and love, and put pen to paper in the first place.
To Him be all glory.