Another Year?

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Dear Russell & Friends,

Another year.  Another year?  I remember us sitting at this table the Friday night before our first post setting up the parameters of the blog.  It leaked into Saturday morning.  We had picked our pseudonyms a week before.  No one has mentioned the connection to Ender’s Game.  Perhaps we have forgotten too – – am I Demosthenes or Locke?  I can’t remember.  I do remember the hesitation I had in titling my first post Why I am Not a Christian.  Would anyone get the irony?  It felt like an opening move in chess.  Then two weeks later, your post Why I am Not a Christian.  43 reasons.  Damn.  At least drop one and claim to have the answer to life, the universe, and everything.  Have I understood at least one of those reasons better?  The question has significance.  I used to argue. In honest truth, I enjoyed it – – probably still do.  What changed? Maybe years have added maturity.  I’m 42 now.  I do have the answer to life, the universe, and everything, so why flaunt it?  But I don’t think maturity is the answer – – maybe part of it, but not the answer.

You are the answer.  After two years of meeting we are becoming friends.  It takes time and we’re spending it. The more I know you, the harder it is for me to be irritated when I disagree.  You have no idea how much I disagree.  That’s not true – – I think you know very well.  But I see your motives, see your family, see you (African sense) and I’m not offended anymore.

What of our others – – those who join to read and write?  Where did they come from?  Our first other is your first other – – CC.  I hate that name, but love her.  She is an authentic doubter, not a Counterfeit Christian.  CC writes and thinks like me but with a woman’s perspective and with more talent.  She wanted me to befriend you, hoping I would change your mind.  That may never have been the goal – – we’ll have to ask her.  She loves you and wanted you to have another friend besides her.  I hope you know now that she’ll never leave you even if you never come back to faith – – and neither will I.

Why have others joined?  She brought some.  In the longest tail called the internet we have found an eclectic micro-niche of people who may wish to understand each other and build bridges.  We have called for and tried to model humility from both skeptical and believing perspectives.  Others just came.  You thought it was my posts on Romans.  Good gracious.  You could paper the walls of Grand Central Station with commentaries on Romans – – it was written almost two thousand years ago.  You may be right – – I’m just not sure.

Regardless of the reason, I have to balance my unattractive tendency to rejoice in growing statistics with a deeper and more noble desire to share what we’re building here.  I look forward to your post today.  It may be (insert sardonic smile) longer than mine.  It will be you – – someone I have grown to love.

Your brother,

Pascal

–1:16

 

photo credit:  old calendar, wikimedia commons, public domain

14 comments

  1. My goals in introducing you to my husband? One of them was definitely that you would change his mind. You haven’t, and I don’t have that expectation of you. You have gone so far beyond what I hoped for in the other goals I had when I brought him to you. You see him in a way so few do, and he doesn’t have to change anything about himself for you. I recognized that you were enough of a geek to enjoy talking to him over occasional shared meals—but I never expected this. What could you wallpaper with your own shared words? There will be many more. Thank you for staying with him, and for letting me join you here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You want the man to come back to faith? How does one get faith? Romans 10:17 ” So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That may be true, that faith cometh by hearing cherry-picked snippets of the word of God, but doubt surely cometh by sitting down and reading the whole thing. Certainly the wildly different accounts of the events after the alleged resurrection are food for doubt when you try to put them into some kind of coherent narrative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Linuxgal, I enjoy your presence here. You think like Russell does, but you’re more direct and vocal.

      Pascal does want Russell to come back to faith. So did I when I introduced them. The thing about Pascal is that he gets our doubt. He finds within his own story reasons to believe in spite of Russell’s 43 reasons to doubt (the 43 he wrote—there are more), but he doesn’t sweep Russell’s reasons aside. He doesn’t say as so many have, “Why can’t you just have faith?”

      He is the truest friend we have. He knows he can’t convince us that scripture is perfect, and he knows that his specific reasons for belief cannot extend to us. But he lives an authentic life—his strongest argument—and is persistently present in ours.

      I don’t think Pascal will ever convince Russell—but I love him for trying to, not with any one argument but with a friendship and a life well-lived. Why has Pascal stuck around when others haven’t? Plenty of other believing friends know of our doubt. That’s the more distressing thing to me than Pascal’s beliefs and motives—that others who think we will literally burn in hell have been so silent.

      Pascal is the only person who could ever say to me “Follow me as I follow Christ” without inducing a sideways glance or rolled eyes. We may never see things the way he does, but he hasn’t given us a timeline. We’ll listen to each other until we run out of words.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Good stuff Pascal. Hoping to see more posts for as long as you guys can keep it going. I can’t remember how I found your blog (I think it was through tag exploring in my wordpress reader), but very glad I did.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Pascal you used to run free, must have been during my year-long hiatus you linked up with a heathen. Anyway, I’m not in the pay of Satan if that’s what you think. There’s a gray side between the Dark Side and the Light.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe a different Pascal? Pseudonyms are tricky that way. I did blog 7 years ago and called it The Breakfast Table. Neither Russell nor I can find it – – not even with the internet wayback machine. I don’t think you’re in the pay of Satan. Honestly – – you fascinate me.

      Liked by 1 person

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