(penned mid-august)

I think I need to back up to the beginning on this one. At least, the beginning of The Drift (as I have decided after very little thought to call it.) Somewhere during my tenure at Emmaus, I decided that the god the Christians believed in was not a god that I wanted to believe in, or for that matter to be associated with. Alternatively, I no longer believed that the Christian version of god I had grown up with (belated as I may have come to this) was the sort of god that might be true. I tried for a few desperate months to stop believing in god at all, in Houston (an easy enough place to dwell with that dark thought,) but to no avail. For whatever reason – at this juncture whether because it’s true or because I’ve been so well indoctrinated is quite beside the point - I could not stop believing in god altogether.

The interim time in Warrenville attending Rez, although a balm through friendships and the blessing of mundane physical labor, did not stop my mounting desire to distance myself from the Christian church in general. Although I wanted to disbelieve altogether, the familiarity of friends, of liturgy, of the rhythms of church seasons, and simply the habit and comfort of the subculture I found myself immersed in was something I needed around me to heal and grow in other ways (to whit: making good girlfriends, losing much fear and cynicism around marriage, working through some unfortunate choices I’d made with boys, raising a puppy.) For all the brilliant sermons and inspiring guitar riffs, Rez did nothing to further convince me of the authenticity of the Christian viewpoint. Attending a Bible Study geared to bring some girls into the Fold drove me from it at a run. By May I was restless both spiritually and psychologically. I could no longer stand selling The DaVinci Code (please, people, get it OFF the best seller list) day after day. I could no longer keep singing my way through the liturgy.

So I found myself running off to Alaska, hoping for distance and some kind of solid ground to stand on. It was here that The Drift began it’s transition from a vague, half-hearted meander to something more purposeful and less Drift-like. The conclusion I came to in the summer, wandering in the Chugach with the now quite large hound, was that God does, in fact, exist. Although it was a great relief at the time to come to some solid conclusion, this conclusion did not get me very far: So we are accepting that a god exists – we are even going so far as to assume monotheism at this point? Excellent! What is the nature of that God? How does God interact with humans, or does it even do so? Why are humans conscious in a way no other animal is? Is it soul, mind or something else? Is consciousness eternal or finite? What is our responsibility as conscious beings? How are we to live? Who or what are we to live for? How are we to interact with this creator-being, and respond to it? What are we to chalk up to Its doing and will, and what are we to blame on ourselves, on others, on falling barometric pressure? And none of this even begins to touch on the quandary that Jesus and the claims of the Gospel present. Without the framework of Christianity to fall back on, there isn’t much ready direction for a skeptical non-philosopher such as myself. And so I found myself falling back on my old framework when I came to gaps I hadn’t time (or brains) to work out yet.

And here’s the rub: I can’t disbelieve the old paradigm, while simultaneously falling on it for support. I believe this is called cognitive dissonance. I cannot (by way of example) disbelieve in hell, and simultaneously believe I am condemning myself to such a fate by my disbelief. Yet I do.

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