In 1997 I was unemployed and recovering from some serious illness. I was disenchanted with the church, and more wounded than I knew. I'd had huge commitment, some talent, and the beginnings of some wisdom. I thought I was beginning to be useful as a minister. All that was no match for fear and lies. The whole experience showed in sharp relief the pointlessness of much that churches were doing- all the busyness and shifting of deck chairs.
Struggling back to work, badly lacking in perspective, I had no answers. I had no language to communicate what little I knew. I could see no future for the traditional parish I had grown up with. I wanted to explore and search, but felt like I was been asked to shout the old words even louder so they would somehow work, and to embody a lie to help people feel safe and happy about things they could no longer believe.
I couldn't do it. I no longer had the energy or the patience for parochial pieties. I was getting grumpy even over the good things. So l left church employment.
I tried to find on my own way of saying what is important. One Man's Web, which had begun life as Jan Struther's Home Page, was an attempt to continue to say something, to force me to articulate what I was thinking, and to keep some kind of faith with my calling. I wanted to model living a faith where the way is not clear, and to model being patient as answers develop over time. I wanted to encourage people to trust their instincts and experience of life, as well as being probing and questioning about the old traditions. I wanted to model growing and changing, and not being ashamed of previous ideas that we can no longer espouse, but which helped "then."
The only "grand plan" for One Man's Web has been the paragraph above! My priorities have changed with time. And as always, my cynicism, and my liking to start things more then maintain them, has shaped what has happened.
After 10 years I was slightly surprised to find I was still online; it's now been 26 years. I am encouraged and blessed to have found a way forward, and to find despite all my cynicism and doubt, that the Divine still is.
I was born in Australia in 1955. I grew up on a mixed farm, did a degree in agricultural science, and worked as a community development person with Pitjantjatjara people in the late 70's and early 80's. I worked in numbers of congregations, mostly part time or doing supply, and spent 7 years working for an IT company. I had some of my most profound theological conversations as a minister late at night whilst maintaining network servers!
I've resisted the urge to remove earlier articles from this site; we spend to much time curating our public selves. But I have removed some of the less helpful posts. In other articles you may occasionally find addenda added years later, usually in blue text.
Andrew Prior 2023