I was at work the other day, and from across the building I watched a guy doing his job. There was nothing special about what he was doing, no reason in particular to notice him. I imagined that he went to church on Sundays and came to work on Mondays, and then didn’t think about church again until the following Sunday. At the formation of latter part of that thought, I felt a stab of jealousy that caught me entirely by surprise. For the first time, I found myself envious of someone who could simply turn on and turn off their spiritual life. I realize, that’s probably not the sort of thing one should aspire to. And yet, that sort of living seems like it would be such a relief.
Guys, I’m tired.
There was a time, when I imagined myself writing this blog like an embedded war journalist. I would do my best to experience God on the front lines and send home stories of what I had seen and heard. Four years later, my eyes are hollow; constantly reliving the atrocities my theology suffered at the hands of an Unknowable God. I looked too hard and now I don’t know if God answers prayers. I’ve seen too much, and now I’m not sure how likely it is that God is ever working for our benefit. Now I have the stare of someone who has seen too much and is constantly reliving the horrors of war just behind his eyeballs.
The Evangelical ghosts of my past are shrieking as a result of the previous paragraph. Despite all the changes my theology has gone through in order to draw a liberated picture of who God truly is, I’m still hounded by the voices of old pastors and teachers and over simplified ideas that all say the same thing: “You’re doing it wrong.”
They want me to believe in the God I was told about in second grade. The God who is a pretty nice guy, unless you cross him. The one that is all love and acceptance, until you go too far. Then he sends you to hell forever and ever. Despite my best efforts at moving past all of that, I constantly feel like I’ve gone too far.
I feel every moment I choose to do something normal instead of something the ghosts want me to. I feel it every time I choose to watch True Detective instead of locking myself in my “prayer closet”. I feel it whenever I spend one of the six hours of my day before I go into work (I get up at 7, go in at 1. Get home at 11:30, talk to Leah for a few minutes then we go to bed.) decompressing or doing something I genuinely enjoy. I feel it when it’s time to write a post, and I have nothing to say because I’ve learned nothing about God since the last one. That thing I’m feeling? Failure.
I’m surrounded by it. It fills my nostrils and stains my skin. I can feel it creeping into my lungs and entering my bloodstream. And rather than providing me an airlift, the blog has become a rucksack that keeps my back bent and my knees weak.
This isn’t what it’s supposed to be. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go.
The ghosts want me to try harder. They want me to read my Bible and pray more. They want me to repent from being human and instead become a two dimensional caricature of what they believe a Christian is supposed to look like. They tell me that if I do more, if I try harder, that will fix it. God will answer. Do something. Say something.
But I’ll be damned before I go down that path again.
I’m tired of this war. I want to come home. I’m going to be on the next chopper out of here.
In just a few days, my lease on huntingforgod.org will be up. I won’t be renewing it. Instead, I’ll be archiving all of my posts back at the wordpress.com website.
I’m looking forward to what I hope will be rest and relaxation. Returning to the “private sector” of spiritual life.
I’m still going to continue existing if you ever want to talk about anything. If I find myself with words upon words again, I’ll have no choice but to share them with you; it’s what a writer does.
Thank you everyone for following along. I truly hope that something I’ve said in the past few years has helped you get a different perspective on God. I hope I made you ask questions. May you all find the God you’ve been hunting for.