In Good Faith is about the promises we make and the promises that are made to us. And “In Bad Faith” is the reality that it’s always more complicated than promised. How far off things are from the promises matters, and this needs to be addressed (thus this blog). For example, mom wants me to be in church this Easter Sunday. Being back in Las Vegas after a short SoCal visit this past week, she’s not really in a place to see that I’m in church. I told her that I would be spending Sunday morning with friends. I didn’t tell her that it was my non-believer friends at Sunday Assembly. Either way, she worries that I’m not going to do “the right thing,” which begins with going to church and probably ends with me marrying a nice Latina Catholic (who has never married and is very traditional).
Yeah, I’m spending Easter Sunday with my tribe, my community, so I won’t be alone, but I’m afraid I won’t be fulfilling my mother’s other wishes any time soon. This isn’t some hopelessly delayed teenage-rebellion but an attempt at carefully respecting my mom’s traditions and being my own person (which was also part of what she taught me). At the same time, I have to be honest that for whatever reason this time of year has always been important to me.
I have memories from my teenage years during this time of year reading Michener’s “The Source” and some modern Catholic version of Genesis and being entirely confused from the experience. My “conversion” from traditional Catholic to Jesus-freak happened when I was 15 around this time of year. Over the next 15-years I took my faith to Loyola Marymount as a Religious Studies major and studied with the Jesuits than got my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies at Biola University and then started a Master’s program in Theology at Fuller Seminary. All of which got derailed when I got divorced (around Easter time) in 1987. Everything I believed in got derailed.
I spent the next 15-years making my way in the world without my Christian heritage. I didn’t do the angry-with-god thing because I’d already spent that energy when I converted from Catholicism and saw a lot of that from former-Catholics at Biola University. But I was in uncharted territory for me. At the time there weren’t any “unbeliever” groups and I noted that something was missing in my life. I don’t doubt that I would have stayed on that unbelieving trajectory if I hadn’t fallen passionately in love in 2001 with a married college sweetheart and some how that affair translated into renewed devotion to my Christian roots. Yeah, I don’t do anything normal.
During that extended period of insanity, I fully plugged into my Biblical roots and was absolutely amazed at all of the computer tools that had emerged in the years when I’d walked away from my faith. Sadly, all these years later after that madness ended the only thing that remains from those years of self-torture (being in love with someone who couldn’t or wouldn’t return the favor), is that I still get emails from the Bible-study software vendors with whom I’ve invested hundreds of dollars. And I’m tempted to update said Biblical studies software because there’s a part of me that still loves the study for meaning and for that part of our shared human history.
So, this time of year means a lot to me. For the things I’ve gained, for the things I’ve lost and for trying to balance the good with the bad and trying to maintain my sanity in the midst of my loneliness and recognition of the importance of community, I endeavor to renew my move into a better future. As I said a few years ago, to my Christian friends, Happy Easter and to the rest of us, enjoy all the chocolate.