I’m going to lead with my conclusion. It is still forming, but the meditation has captured me over the past decade and is becoming the center of my logic. I am a sinner. I know, that is strong even archaic language; surely it can’t be that bad. Perhaps I just made poor choices and don’t we all? Thank you for your kindness, but I am a sinner and it is far worse than you think.
I have been forgiven. Before I even truly repented I was forgiven. It is hard to write that without tears. My middle-aged sentimentalism is worse than I thought. It was not repentance that drove me to goodness. Mercy drove me to repentance. I have been forgiven much. He who has been forgiven much loves much. That’s what this is about for me.
I haven’t always been ready for a friend like Russell. I’ve failed such friends before. Slowly, however, my greatest weakness is being redeemed by following Christ. My greatest weakness is pride. My greatest desire now is humility. Russell and I come from similar backgrounds. He knows the Scripture as well as I do and his mind is just as keen. I agree with much of what he says. I find his criticisms of the church and faith to be incisive. The unexamined life (or faith) is not worth living.
He needs to talk. I need to listen. Why have this conversation? Why have it in public? Why adopt pseudonyms? We don’t think that we are alone. Many in our generation need a safe place to come and reason together. My orientation to the skeptic, agnostic, and even atheist has changed. It has changed like a compass needle with the orientation of my heart. As I follow Christ I realize . . . he loved me, I will love them.