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Coming to Faith

When I was a teenager, I thought I could be a Christian all by myself. This was probably inspired by cultural factors such as the American belief in the “rugged individualist pull yourself up by your bootstraps” thing conflated with the church of my childhood’s emphasis on having a personal relationship with Jesus. It wasn’t exactly a “spiritual but not religious” kind of thing; it was more like an “I don’t need anybody” kind of thing.
I did not particularly succeed at being a Christian all by myself, and not only church but faith sat at the back of my interior shelf, gathering dust.
One day, though, twenty churchless years later, I was visiting a cathedral in England where there was beautiful sacred music being sung upstairs and on display downstairs were some relics of St. Cuthbert, a 7th Century monk who once served as the Bishop of Lindisfarne, a holy island hugging the coast of northeastern England. The music was familiar but I’d never heard of St. Cuthbert, and I was fascinated by…

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