Hello. I’m Michael Hallett.
The first time I read Matthew 5:32, I exploded with rage and threw the Bible across the room.
It was the early summer of 2018—the most tumultuous year of my life, and the year I was brought to Christ.
When I calmed down, I realised that Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount—“But I tell you not to divorce your wife unless she has committed some terrible sexual sin”—related to my maternal grandmother, who had an affair in 1932.
My grandfather, a WWI pilot twice decorated for bravery, went to court for custody of my mother. He won, and my grandmother was expelled from the family. But the shame that her own mother had abandoned her emotionally crippled my mother. She was a shrunken and diminished figure for the rest of her life—what we now call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
I’d experienced the pain and shame of an event that had lain dormant in my family’s genetics for over 80 years. I acquired them through inherited trauma, what the church calls ‘generational sin’—an inter-generational form of PTSD, scientifically known as epigenetic inheritance.
The sins of the father [and mother] had indeed been visited upon their children (Exodus 20:5).
I had a rootless childhood. By the time I was 13 I’d lost three whole sets of friends, spoke three languages, lived in four countries, and been exposed to five religions.
My parents had no spiritual persuasions or practices. My religious education began at a Church of England primary school in Jersey, Channel Islands. When I was 9 my father went on a business trip to Thailand and came back a Buddhist. One of my step-grandmothers was a devout Methodist, the other a Wiccan.
My introduction to Christianity came at a Catholic school in the Italian part of Switzerland. Nuns taught maths by getting children to stand at the front with a hand extended. We were bombarded with rapid-fire times-table questions. If you got it wrong or answered too slowly, the ruler smacked down. I was 8 years old and didn’t even speak the language. To this day I do mental arithmetic in Italian.
The cumulative effect of this toxic brew of fragmentation, abandonment, rootlessness, shame, and spiritual confusion was a profound disconnection from the world. The older I got, the more painful it became. I had to find the way out.
I had no idea that way would lead to Christ—“I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6)—and to this site.
First, it led to manufacturing. I became a software engineer at a factory in New Zealand, the largest cannery in the southern hemisphere. I learned to analyse processes in the very specific methodology of process manufacturing. This proved to be a brilliant tool for deconstructing seemingly haphazard human emotional processes.
I ended up living out of a suitcase as a $300-per-hour IT consultant in America, cashing in on the pre-Y2K hysteria. Yet I had no meaningful emotional relationships—not with myself, not with family and friends, not with God.
One of my fellow consultants was found dead in a Super 8 motel somewhere in the mid-west one morning. That was a wake-up call. I started analysing my own behaviour and discovered a world of damaged conditioning beneath a patina of unconscious shame.
I didn’t know it, but God was teaching me to stare into the darkness without blinking—to glimpse, faintly at first, the “log in your own eye” (Matthew 7:3). There were many logs, a whole forest. I would need that skill when I penetrated the foggy world of generational trauma.
My first experience of it came when I researched my father’s mother. She died in 1926 when my father was 4 years old. I ordered a death certificate to learn the cause of death.
I can remember the sound of the letterbox opening the day the certificate was delivered. Picking up the letter. Tearing open the envelope. Then there’s a blank in my memories.
The next thing I remember I was lying on the floor, in a foetal curl, howling in pain. I knew with absolute certainty this was not my pain. It was the pain of a 4-year-old boy who couldn’t grieve for his mother. The Great War had only ended a few years earlier. Showing grief meant showing weakness. It wasn’t done—not even by a child.
My father was left feeling abandoned, angry, and unable to grieve. He carried those feelings all his life and, with no healing framework, passed them on to me.
Later, reading the Bible for the first time, I was struck by the similarity with descriptions of casting out demons: “Jesus ordered the evil spirit to be quiet and come out. The demon threw the man to the ground in front of everyone and left without harming him” (Luke 4:35).
I saw that Jesus spoke the language of trauma with uncanny accuracy—an understanding that casts the New Testament in particular in a whole new light. Jesus is telling us how to heal the collective trauma of the Fall. The Bible was all about genetics! Hence the title of this site—the Regeneration of Christianity in the 21st Century (ROCI21).
Brought to Christ
With that, life began to make sense. I’d felt lost for 50 years. I’d struggled to find my identity, personal and spiritual. Yet with hindsight can I see that God was always there, leading me through my brokenness, my damaged and damaging behaviour. There was a plan.
And the plan brought me to Christ, through a colleague who showed me the true light of Christ through her words and deeds. “Caught, not taught,” she used to say. I caught it, and it blew my old life to pieces.
As I dug down through the layers of trauma, I came to see the truth of Matthew 10:26: “Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known.”
My father’s father walking out of his second marriage, abandoning my father. My mother, physically thrown onto a coal barge to escape the Nazi occupation of the Channel Islands in 1940. My great-grandfather’s tax fraud trial at the Old Bailey in 1922—the family’s moments of darkness and despair systematically came to light for resolution.
As I healed, my family healed, and the words of John 9:2-3 shone through: “‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.’”
There are words and actions I wish I could undo, apologies I yearn to make. But God is relentless and leads us ever on. To all those who were part of my journey, whatever role you played, I thank you with all my heart.
To those who visit this site, may it help the “works of God” be displayed in the lives of you and your family.
Photo: Michael Hallett at Launde Abbey, Leicestershire, 2023.