I told Justin Brierley that I'd blog about how I lost my faith. I'm afraid we're going to have to start waaaaay back. This could take a while. More than one post.
My parents took me to church from the time I was a foetus*. The church we went to when I was a small child was a fairly solemn Anglican affair. I usually enjoyed the services (except for the rock-hard pews), believed in God and made my first commitment to Jesus when I was four, sitting on the edge of the bed in our spare room.
When I was seven, my family moved to Sheffield. Again, we chose a relatively sombre church to attend. Life went on.
When I was about nine, my family went to stay with one of my mum's sisters and we went to her church. The worship there was so different from anything I had ever encountered - lively, joyful, heartfelt. Instead of following a liturgical text, expression was free. At one point, we children stood in a circle in the centre of the room, while adults stood behind us, laying hands on our heads and asking God to bless us. During that time, I felt a peaceful warmth suffuse me.
I was blown away by this experience. This was the kind of Christianity I wanted! I read books about the Holy Spirit and asked God to fill me. One night, while sitting in bed praying, I began to speak in tongues. My parents - mum in particular - noticed a change in me and became interested in charismatic Christianity. A few years later, they moved to a more charismatic Anglican church.
In the meantime, however, my life was rocked by the discovery that I had chronic renal failure. I was ten. At some stage in the future, I would need dialysis or a transplant.
*Though probably not within a few days of my conception, since they were in Ibiza. Too much information, mum. Seriously.