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.
photo credit: old calendar, wikimedia commons, public domain