I know it won’t come as a surprise to you, but my current WIP is a deeply personal piece. I’m trying to use it to come to some kind of cohesion of the various threads of my life. And, at the same time, I’m trying to make it something people will like to read. One of the big themes of Resumption of Darkness is that both Sam and Cassie are having a sort of worldview crisis. Before the tragedy that forms the backdrop of the story takes place – well, at least, before they met Eric, the instigator – they are quite comfortable in their Christian worldview. After they a pulled into Eric’s orbit, everything starts to fall apart. Then, during their trip to the rainforest, their worldviews implode.
Seven years later, they still haven’t put the pieces together.
In fact, their story mirrors mine. (I know, a big surprise! An author writes a story that has an autobiographical element!) There was an Eric of sorts, and a Sam and a Cassie. They are at once people separate from me – more or less – and they are also aspects of me.
Emotionally, I am still haunted by Eric. He’s about as dead as any ghost and yet, at times, he seems more real to me than most of the people I interact with on a daily basis.
Spiritually, I am torn between the way Sammy is responding to the crumbling of his faith and Cassie’s reaction. Sammy is slowly descending into pessimism. Cassie is trying to reconfigure her faith into something that isn’t so closely tied to the triumphalism she had before her Latin America tour
As I have been processing this, a friend sent me this link from another disillusioned Christian. The essay shows his path through intellectual disillusionment to the renewed worldview he has on the other side.
Here is a tidbit that I have found helpful:
People who doubt can have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith.
I learned that it doesn’t matter in the least that I be convinced of God’s existence. Whether or not God exists is none of my business, really. What do I know of existence? I don’t even know how the VCR works.
I am trying to pray as he prays the following:
God, I don’t have great faith, but I can be faithful. My belief in you may be seasonal, but my faithfulness will not. I will follow in the way of Christ. I will act as though my life and the lives of others matter. I will love.
I have no greater gift to offer than my life. Take it.
My faith doesn’t need to be tied to the existence of some supernatural entity, nor does it need to be tied to that question Cassie asked: Was the tomb empty that first Easter Sunday? Instead, my faith can be a form of faithfulness to this picture of Jesus – the teacher who hung out with tax collectors and sinners. As Eric says, maybe he’d even like a monster like me.
I don’t know about tomorrow, but for today, I am betting my life on the belief that trying to live a life that Jesus would be proud of is a good way to live. Tomorrow… Who knows? Maybe I’ll make my home in the infinite grayness of a universe without meaning. Or maybe I’ll take another swing at following Jesus. I’m better off not worrying about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough trouble to keep itself busy.
Anyway, sorry for the long, over-personal post. I hope to have Chapter 8 of Presumption of Darkness out soon. In the meantime, you can re-read it starting with Chapter 1.
As always, I’m eager to hear your thoughts.
People of faith, what do you think is the role of belief? And what do you think is the role of faithfulness?
People without faith, what are the principles by which you guide your life? What pictures drive you?
Writers, what role does writing play in the way you ask questions about who you are and what your life means?
Readers, what pictures renew you?