“Right turn Clyde.”

You ever have that experience where you are going about life, seemingly minding your own business and something suddenly stops you in your tracks; that moment when you have to look around and ask yourself, “What the heck? How did I get here?” Now, I am not talking about blacking out or waking up in a strange place after a night of unfettered debauchery. No, rather I am referring to those odd moments of lucidity that force you to pause, look around at your life, and marvel at the unlikely reality of your situation. Really, in my experience this is just an occasion – unbidden mind you – to consider the mysteries of life.

Sometimes, in my experience, said event is just a momentary flash of wonder and insight… something along the lines of skiing alone on one of the local trails and coming across a moose, feeding just feet away. We each pause, look at and consider each other for a moment to make sure there is nothing devious about to happen, and then go about our own business. Sure this is just a factor of where and how I live, but for me the marvel is in cross-referencing such an event with the reality that I grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago and in then coming to the realization that it is really fantastic that I was at that spot in that moment and was able to simply pause and briefly connect with the moose. What a thing you know?

Other times, in my experience, said event is more along the lines of what is suggested in the title reference. There you are going about life, minding your own business and something knocks you upside the head initiating a whole new series of events… something along the lines of taking a university course on a whim, discovering that the professor is an actual archaeologist and that yes people do actually get paid to do that, then rushing home, changing your major that night and “suddenly” …BAZINGA…a whole new, wholly unexpected direction for life. In the words of The Helping Friendly Book, the trick is to surrender to the flow.

I think it is truly, vitally important to be open to these sort of events. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not talking about some sort of cosmic, mystical alignment or anything, but rather the ability to accept and appreciate such moments of self-awareness. Sometimes that is all it is, just a chance to become more aware of your surroundings and your situation within both your environment and the reality of life around you. Other times it is something a bit more complex. Other times this self-awareness is vital to being able to identify, evaluate, and interact with change and opportunity.

Certainly I accept that on the one hand we can make our own way in the world… to a certain degree. This is a tricky issue to deal with in many ways because one must consider the preposterous variation in realities across the world. Opportunities presented to me are not going to reflect in anyway the reality of existence of a teenage girl in war torn Afghanistan, an aging casteless laborer in India, or the son of a British Duke. But then, that is not really my point. What is my point you ask? There is no point really. I am just trying to share my own experience.

I have not gone through life following any sort of grand plan. I grew up fascinated by books on the life and times of ancient Mayans and Egyptians. I grew up marveling at the fantastic museums of Chicago… history, art, and science. Then, Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. You bet your britches I wanted to grow up to be an archaeologist. Made sure to get me a hat and a bull whip ASAP and started burying stuff in the backyard so that my friend and I could dig it up later in order to marvel at our grand discoveries… far from planning a route through life though. Nope I was more of a dreamer, a loafer, a mild-mannered goof-off. Went through life after high-school as a sort of modern-day roustabout… a jack-of-all-trades, working at whatever kept me going.

In that time I had a lot of the former types of self-realization. “What the deuce am I doing at the Arctic Circle?”, “How in the blazes did I end up in Cape Town?”,  “Sturgis… really!?” I swear I stumbled into most of these things. Sure there was some last minute planning that led up to the actual events, but in writing this and thinking about the two different types of self-awareness I have been discussing here, I realize that at times the two types are intrinsically related. Take the second event just mentioned for example; I certainly never planned to go to Cape Town, South Africa. Period. That said, there I was working at the Roadhouse in Talkeetna and the owner let us know that we had to close for the winter because there was not enough business. POW, knocked upside the head. OK, so off I go to Death Valley, I still had some contacts there and there happened to be work… turns out there was a lot of work and so I made good money. My sister had found her way to New Zealand and I thought to take advantage of that… one thing led to another and “suddenly” there I am staring up at Table Mountain and pondering the fact that all of Africa lay beyond it. Yes, the river knows.

So then here I am in the ‘banks, freezing my arse off because it is -45 degrees, driving to work at a rip-roaring 25 miles per hour because my tires are all square and if I drove any faster I would get bounced out of the driver’s seat. I know how I got here… a slow steady descent into madness. Ha Ha, no really, even this gives me pause… what an odd reality to consider. It is not the sort of thing one sets out to do, but it is a part of life around here. An odd life it can be to be sure and there is no doubt that if one goes about living in such a place as this with eyes and mind wide open there is no end to the situations one might pause to marvel at.

So there is that, and then there is this other reality that I am marveling at… a new life, a new dream, a new right turn. Life is changing and I couldn’t be more happy about it. That said, when big changes are on the horizon facing them is a bit like getting up and dusting yourself off after being decked by a trained orangutan.

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“Say, friend – you got any more of that good sarsaparilla?”

Preface

So, in previous posts I have briefly discussed the fact that I am a federal bureaucrat. I have also noted that I strive to keep this world and that separate, which I still intend to do. However there is a subject that is relevant in recent considerations which I will mention…briefly. There is this structure, a five stage program in fact, called “Fundamentals” which all employees, full-time permanent ones in particular, are encouraged to take part in. As I understand it there are two, one week long site visits interspersed with online “training modules”. It is jokingly referred to as “drinking the kool-aid” by people I have talked to that have participated. It is, as I understand it, a sort of initiation into “the Service”… sounds kind of like brainwashing, but perhaps it is not so nefarious as all that.

Anyways, like the Stranger from the Big Lebowski, I would rather drink sarsaparilla.

Back in high school, I made the decision at some point to not participate in traditions such as reciting the pledge of allegiance or singing the national anthem. I no longer did the hand over heart thing and would not even stand up for said carryings on. I just did not get it, did not feel that I needed to be a part of it. My friends would give me grief about it until they got used to it. Or maybe they just gave up. Remember that business when Rosanne Barr got a WHOLE LOT of grief over her rendition of the national anthem? Man some people got worked up over that. I thought it was funny…she is a comedian after all.

Likewise, and even more-so, I never had –nor understood- “school spirit”. I mean really, what the hell is THAT all about? Quasi-nationalism. I had gotten enough of that business in scouting… which as I have mentioned before was all about the big guys beating up on the little guys. Stupid. Team sports = same thing. Go us. Rah Rah Rah. Thhhppbbffttthh!

I just wanted to ride my bike…and read comics and listen to music on my Walkman and play Dungeons and Dragons when the opportunity arose. I liked getting out in the world and experiencing it on my own terms, but I also liked checking out and immersing myself in imagined realities. Ultimately I have never really been much of a “joiner”. So, where is all this going you ask? Well, I have some intention of making this a part two to my previous post. For good or ill. In the wake of making that thing public I got a series of responses, all of which I greatly appreciate as they have all given me more to ponder…as if I needed more. Seriously though, as I said previously such a topic is not to be taken lightly and I do not intend to. On the other hand, neither is it wise to take one’s self too seriously.

dude

 

Part I

“Confucius is like the Torah, rules to follow. And Lao-Tzu is even more conservative, saying that if you do nothing you won’t break any rules. You have to let tradition fall sometime, you have to take action, you have to eat bacon.”

― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

There was a time where I thought God was out to get me. Not in any sort of underhanded, wicked, domineering way, but more in that I kept finding myself in situations that gave me the idea that I was being strongly invited to “join the flock”. First there was a couple in Death Valley. They decided that I needed looking after and tried very hard to take me under their born-again wings. Not wanting to be rude and unappreciative I would spend time with them; I worked with her and would go to their place for dinner on occasion, or go golfing with him (once…silly game). They would preach at me and I would smile and nod. A  friend of mine asked me at one point why I kept up the charade and I responded something like “Well, I have nothing against them. I just think they are weird.” He agreed, but still did not understand my actions. Maybe I was curious, but something about them and their behavior seemed forced. I think theirs was more the charade than mine.

Then I found Siddhartha, an event which I have described previously. Not long after I parted with most of my worldly possessions and moved back to Alaska. I stayed my first winter with another family. These folks were not born again, they were the real deal as far as I could tell…but they did not go to church. They said they were “Baptists” in the sense that Jesus was baptized and they followed the teachings of that tradition. They were really into the bible and studied it to its esoteric roots…as far as I understood it. They were gentler in their means, but I still got the sense that I was being sought after… or something. Either way it made me jumpy…especially that both scenarios came to pass in such close proximity to one another.

Somewhere along the line I started mucking about in Eastern traditions. Buddhism, Taoism, etc. On the one hand I liked a lot of what I found and I delved deeper in the wake of the previous years’ events… maybe in an effort to divert, or attempt to control whatever influence seemed to be swirling about in the ether around me. I think that I had decided if I was to fall into some sort of faith I would do it on my own terms and not be coerced. So I read and I wrote and took long walks in the wilderness trying to connect with some sort of spirituality. No dice. Not really.

Then I fell in with a group of more like minded folks. Folks my age; artists, poets, musicians; well-meaning vagabonds. They were more fun. One of them was a sort of frustrated gnostic…in a sense. He, like myself, actively sought some sort of truth. Angry with Christianity for some reason he cast about seeking another way. I do not know what, if anything, he found. I have not spoken to him in many years… do not even know where he is. He used to tell me that I was “moody son of a bitch” and that I should probably learn to lighten up. Instead I went back into the wilderness. Over the course of the next few years these vagabond friends of mine started settling down. Not all of them mind you; some are still on the move. Eventually I tried that as well, settling down. Maybe it was not intentional, but I think I might have just been trying to squash this searching, seeking, unsettled side of me. Did not work… and I have discussed this previously as well.

Over time, not finding anything in particular that gave me any satisfaction I guess I gave up. Eventually I found school and through that found science. An interesting foray to be sure but it did not give me what I needed…what ever that may be. Science is an absolute necessity. It is the best means we have to understand and explain the world around us in a neutral, rigorous manner. I just do not believe that it is the end all be all of human understanding. I like to believe in a little bit of magic. Science is so sterile. There is likely no flying teapot…but it would be kind of cool if there was.

Part II

“Blessed are the Cheesemakers.”

― Monty Python, Life of Brian

I used to revel in the mockery of religion. In a way I still do. Politics too. John Stewart and his band of merrymakers are genius.  While in Death Valley I stumbled onto Discordianism and that was good fun. Hard to take seriously though, despite the fact that I like some of their silly ideas. Later I would discover Pastafarianism and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Good stuff there, but again not really meant to take seriously… well not as any sort of actual spirituality. Both of these “belief systems” offer fantastic directions for social consciousness certainly, but neither really offer any means for genuine faith…in my opinion.

Today I found the Church of the Latter-Day Dude and the Spiritual Path of Dudeism. It is a cross between Zen, Taoism, and the way of the Dude from The Big Lebowski. I love it. Very reminiscent of the Tao of Pooh… which I liked very much as well. But I have been here before. I genuinely like many tenets of this sort of thought. Live simply, peacefully, in the moment. Listen to and learn from the River.

 

The Stranger said, “Take it easy, Dude–I know that you will.”

“Yeah man.  Well, you know, the Dude abides.”

The Dude Abides.

― The Church of the Latter-Day Dude, The Dude De Ching

Part III

 “Faith isn’t an act of intelligence, it’s an act of imagination.”

― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal

So, years of searching, a bit of running, a bit of hiding, and a fair bit of anguish. A lot of thinking and wondering and not understanding. A lot of questioning, denying, accusing. More than a little drinking.

Then yesterday I find this:

“Come to know what is in front of you and that which is hidden from you will become clear to you.”

It is from the Gospel of Thomas and I have been pondering it quite a bit of late. It is almost a koan, an imponderable position, a paradox. You cannot THINK your way around it. I THINK I am starting to come to terms with the idea that I cannot THINK my way through this stage of faith. I have beliefs about the world and the human experience. They are based on what I have done and learned in my life. What I have read and thought, seen and heard, what I have experienced. I have no intention of casting these beliefs aside…for anyone. They make me who I am. So the big question then – given what I have written here and previously – is I think, why am I considering exploring Christianity (or any organized religion for that matter) now? To be perfectly honest…I do not really know. On the one hand…it has presented itself again. I did not seek it out, nor was I really looking for anything…but there it is. In front of me, and at the same time hidden. Without analyzing it too much, I think that I am curious. The idea of Christianity is intriguing to me now for some reason. I am attracted to the structure, the tradition, and the community. To the ritual and the mystery. There are parts I do not like…period. I cannot ignore that. Yet, I think that there is only one way to find out if the parts that interest me would make it worthwhile. To what end I cannot say, but then that is why one explores. William Least Heat Moon has a perfect quote for this concept. I have it written on a small white-board on my fridge at home;

“Adventure is a putting into motion one’s ignorance.”

So perhaps I am just on the verge of an adventure. I can take what I feel and know of myself and my own experience and bring it with me as I go. Maybe I will end up taking it easy (or learn to). Learn to abide with some new beliefs. A Dudeist Christian perhaps? Who knows. Either way, there is no need to get all worked up about it.

“Who is this God Person Anyway?”

Disclaimer… This post is really long, more than a bit rambling, hopefully not offensive, and likely a bit disjointed and confused. Just the nature of the subject matter as far as I am concerned.

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Part I

“The story so far. In the beginning the universe was created. This made a lot of people very unhappy and has widely been regarded as a bad move.”                      Oolon Colluphid

I have a problem with religion. When it comes down to it, I think I really always have. I have this memory of being in Sunday school in the Baptist church I went to when I was a kid. I might have been 8 or 10 years old or something like that. The instructor or whatever (more of a babysitter in my mind at the time than any sort of teacher) asked us all to answer a question, but we had to whisper the answer to him as it was supposed to be a personal thing. I do not remember the exact question, something along the lines of “What does it mean to believe in God”, or Jesus, or something like that. If we gave a satisfactory answer we would get a present. I had no idea what to say for an answer but of course being a kid, thought that getting a present was a rather keen idea. So in the stairwell heading down to the church from the classroom there was a tapestry-like thing hanging on the wall that said “Jesus is the light of the world.” My friend came up to me and asked me what we were supposed to say. I looked at the tapestry and said something like “I am going to say that.”

So both my friend and I followed through with this plan. The instructor saw through it all and told us that he had wanted us to find a personal answer and that he was disappointed… but gave us each a present anyway. I think we both got the same thing, at least I remember that I got a little metal pencil sharpener in the shape of a lantern. Light of the world indeed. Not long after that, I started ditching Sunday school to wander the halls and explore the building. I also started bringing comic books and eventually even my “Walkman” to church. I never listened or paid any attention anyway. This was frowned upon. Eventually my mom asked me if I wanted to keep going to church and of course I said no, having no interest in it whatsoever. So we stopped going.

You see I did not grow up with the idea that religion was necessary. It, much like school, seemed mostly an inconvenience to me. I saw them both primarily as systems of control rather than guiding or helping hands; sit down, stand up, sing this, write that, eat when you are told, go to the bathroom only when allowed and often not even then… it was all about obeying just because someone was on a power trip. At least that is how it seemed to me. I was not raised this way at home. My dad was mostly not around, my mom was both busy and not very strict, and much of my early childhood was spent with my sister and/or brother who looked after me as a sibling and guided me rather than ordering me about. Much of the time I was left to my own devices and I spent a lot of time reading and dreaming and I think that this was encouraged. I stayed out of trouble because it seemed like the best way to go about navigating the world. Or, as the old Gaffer said, “Keep your nose out of trouble and no trouble will come to you.”  Church and school were so rigid, so structured, and I did not like most of the people involved with either institution…at least the versions that I was exposed to. The same friend I mentioned above went to a Lutheran church with his family and I went with them a number of times (they were largely a surrogate family for me then). When I stopped going to church his response was that I would go back eventually. “No”, I said, “I will not.” I said the same about school once I finally wrestled my way out of high school. “Never again”, I said.

clever-sheep

That is not quite how it worked out. I did go back to school but it took three tries to get the hang of it and to convince myself to stick with it. I finally graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree 18 years after I got my high school diploma.  And now here I am 30 some years after walking away from Morgan Park Baptist, staring down the aisle of St. Matthew’s Episcopal, confused about spirituality and faith and belief. I accept them unreservedly as part of the human condition, but much like society in general I have gone a loooooong time not really knowing where I fit into the structure. As a student of anthropology I whole-heartedly reject the idea that there is a “right way” that all people are supposed to follow; I felt this way before I knew what “anthropology” was. I find the idea offensive really as it suggests superiority of a few over all of the “others” and leaves no room for variation in culture, interpretation, belief, personality. Humans are not sheep. Yet those in power, those that rule the organizations – the governments, the economies, the religions – want just that and they fear those like Harold, the most dangerous of animals…a clever sheep.

 

Part II

“I love mankind, it is people I can’t stand.”

mankindHumans have this incredible knack for self-aggrandizement. This, combined with an over-developed sense of self-promotion, has facilitated the idea that whatever “it” is, or may be, we have “it” all figured out, or have the means to do so. When these traits are encouraged and promoted within a group over those of mutual respect and empathy for others we start to get power structures that spin out of control; nationalism for example, or the unfortunate reality of politics getting mixed up in religion. The powerful few try to influence and coerce the sheep to support their harebrained ideas. Then we get war and oppression and society becomes too rigid and the structure too strict. Then things break.

Religion, like politics, is a means to organize people, and people like to have order. Humans are not sheep needing to be herded or penned up, but we are – in point of fact – trying to live in a society here, and really that means having some sort of structure that allows everyone to be on the same page, to have a common language and framework that facilitate communication and understanding between individuals. At least that is the ideal… as I understand it. I think it is supposed to be the same with religion. The idea – as I see it- is to give folks some structure, some guidance in the ways of how to treat your fellow people, how to understand the human condition. When it comes down to it, religion (in whatever form, be it mystical, philosophical, scientific, or whatever) and society are sort of inseparable; they are INHERENTLY entangled…or at least they tend to function as cogs in the same machine. Given this metaphor if you try to take a cog from one machine and stuff it into a different machine things are not going to work. Modifications will have to be made.  Like machines both society and religion are systems; they have rules and laws and hierarchies…and useful purpose…potentially. As tools for guidance and structure I like the idea, but oftentimes both enlist language that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end. You start talking about who or what I am “supposed” to “obey” and I instinctively bare my teeth, ball my fists, and get into a defensive stance… if you know what I mean. It is not so much that I have a problem with authority but rather that authoritative structure makes me bristle. If I can understand the structure and move about within it, mostly unnoticed, this then allows me to keep to my dreaming. See, I am not trying to convince anyone else to do one thing or another. I truly feel that each of us has free will and thus has the UNDENIABLE RIGHT to choose our own way.

Now I am not saying that I am like Harold, a clever sheep, and I am not wanting this to turn into some sort of manifesto, these are all just my own harebrained ideas. This is just an attempt for me to make sense of the world around me. It is half-baked and largely ill-informed and in no way do I mean any sort of offense. I am just baffled so much of the time and writing this way helps me to try to figure it out. Really I am writing this because I have to; I have to get it all out of my head. Like Morpheus said, these questions that I have are “like a splinter in [my] mind.” I experience this kind of angst about why this structure which works for so many and would in fact to seem be a perfectly acceptable, reasonable, sensible, and comfortable foundation for living (and in many ways for life itself) does not seem to work for me. It leaves me feeling cold and foreign… an outsider, as if I am doing something wrong. And that in itself bothers me.

 

Part III

“Mostly harmless.”

Many were increasingly of the opinion that they’d all made a big mistake in coming down from the trees in the first place. And some said that even the trees had been a bad move, and that no one should ever have left the oceans.”                            Douglas Adams

Once upon a time people all over the world lived in small, close-knit, communal “societies”. Populations were much smaller and the world was effectively MUCH larger. Human life and existence was much more closely governed by interaction with the environment around it. Humans were a part of the ecological reality within which they existed. They acquired what they needed to sustain life from the world around them. Some still do… more or less. Certainly, as anthropology has taught us, this lifestyle had structure; there were taboos,  rules and regulations, there was society and religion and all was based on the necessities of sustaining life. In some places and situations people eventually began to congregate and learn to manage a more sedentary existence. Something in the environment allowed them to do so. Something provided and promoted a different sort of lifestyle, a different sort of equilibrium with the environment, some sort of stability. As such the structure changed, the rules and regulations changed, the society and religions changed. All of this was INHERENTLY grounded in the time and the place. In some instances the variables came together in such harmony as to further promote the growth, stability, structure, and in certain cases expansion of the population and thus the ever developing “culture” tied to it. You will note that I am shying away from details here. The reasons for this are many but suffice to say for this current, long-winded and admittedly somewhat self-aggrandizing (I am in fact human…) purpose, they are beside the point.

The point, I guess, is that I think that society and religion – these frameworks or structural systems that are major elements of “culture” – have certain grounding in the ecological realities around us…at least they used to (and in my opinion work better when they do). Some of those expanding “cultures” through time have gotten too big for their britches. Power mongers, so convinced that they had “it” all figured out, forced their will upon all of those within reach, either through war or some other form of physical coercion, some sort of economic influence, or perhaps proselytizing. Again, this has happened many times, in many ways, all over the world. It is still happening. What you end up with are these gargantuan, unwieldy, overarching power structures that seek to be all inclusive in all scenarios and environments; Roman Expansionism, British Catholic Industrial Imperialism, Chinese Communism, Western Christian Capitalism, Middle Eastern Fundamental Islam. Remarkably many have worked… well they all “worked” for a time, in some manner or other. But many of the big ones are still going strong, often having overpowered and in some situations incorporating those that went before. Yet they leave folks like me, the ones that somehow or other have not drank the cool-aid as it were, on the fringes. You take Roman ideals and understanding of their native Mediterranean environment and try to imprint it on Germanic or Celtic tribal realities and things just do not really work out. Chinese communism forced upon Tibetan Buddhism, not a good match… I realize I am treading on some really thin ice here.

The point, at least a related point, is that “in the beginning” all of these religions and societies were just a means to understand and organize life and the world around us. They were all good – probably necessary and relevant – ideas in their own time and place. But at what point does the relevance start to fail? This is where we come back to my problem. The one at hand anyway.

Chapman_as_Brian

Christianity is a couple thousand years old now. It cropped up out of necessity, or miracle, or happy chance, or whatever… in a certain place, at a certain time, and under certain particulars. This is a fact and one that the Christian church is very specific about (for example the details of time and place as documented by the Roman Imperials recording the birth and life of Jesus). That is history, verifiable in multiple places. No point arguing about it. So this Jesus cat grows up in this specific environment and has some different ideas about the world he sees around him. People listen, for whatever reason. They believed in something, something bigger than themselves. A whole series of events transpired which were documented and have been spread around ever since… some more easily acceptable than others. Still we are talking about faith and belief here. There are facts and there is truth. Different games, different rules. Belief does not require that one have only facts.

Anyways, somehow or other this business has caught on. It took a while to get up steam, but when it did look out. Now, as a religion, as a means of trying to understand and explain the human condition, this guy wanting to ease the suffering of the people he saw around him and trying to convince them to be nice to one another and not dwell too much on the fact that often times life sucks…and even suggesting that there are ways around that…is a pretty damn good idea. BUT, then somewhere along the line politics got involved and over the years various societies and organizations have royally screwed things up… in my opinion. At various points along the way organized churches were created (and I am talking about the systems not the buildings); Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, the various European and eventually worldwide variants, and on and on and on. I am in no way a religious scholar or theologian…FAR from either. What I am trying to express is that these were institutions created in certain places at certain times based on the ideals of a situation from a completely different place and time. And THIS is what I do not trust. These socio-political interpretations of an essentially foreign (both spatially and temporally) reality make me nervous.

Ugh, OK this is becoming arduous… SO, in my hesitant, but increasingly undeniable, search for some form of spiritual faith and community I have not found much that makes sense to me. BUT, neither have I truly explored any of the various options which have interested me that deeply. I have pondered and read and discussed many times numerous systems of belief. I almost always have walked away shaking my head in confusion. So, once again here I am staring down the aisle of a Christian church. I listen to the words of the priest and often I like what he has to say. The ceremony is fascinating and I understand the appeal of being a part of something that has such ancient roots…but then I read some of the words involved and I feel my fists clenching, my leg muscles tightening, and my lips pulling back. Maybe this really is not for me, but what I am trying to understand (and remember this is mostly me talking to myself here) is can I really know without truly exploring it? AND here is the rub… I believe that the system is valid. I believe that belief validates belief; believing in a chosen system makes that system the basis of truth and reality for that individual, for that community.

Of course Christianity is real and true and genuine, the people make is thus. I do not doubt this. What I cannot get my head around though is, is it acceptable for one such as myself to join said community having such a strong foundation of doubt and mistrust for the structure of the system (not the underlying beliefs remember) simply as a test? But then I guess that this is truly the only way one could test one’s faith. Yet, somehow the whole idea just makes me feel untrue, as if I would be embarking on some sort of insincere, hypocritical charade. I do not feel that this is something to be taken lightly, and to be honest I am in many ways afraid to find out what might happen. I worry about the reactions of the people that have known me to this point. I do not know why this bothers me, something to do with having to explain myself, having to explain my actions. I do not understand the desire that I am struggling with, this curiosity and fear, this fascination with what is in many ways our oldest quest… to seek the unknown and try to look into the eyes of God.

 

Part IV

“Oh, I get it,” I said. “It’s a parable. Cute. Let’s go eat.”

― Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal