Dear God – It’s me, David. I’ve been working on a new book lately and, well, a lot of it is about sex. Not like a smutty romance novel, but sex as a theme. I wanted to give you a heads up, but you’re God, so you probably knew that. I’m writing to you tonight because a lot of what I’m writing is putting me in a position to dust your book off my shelf and at least tell you I’m thinking of you. I’m reminded that the pursuit and maintenance of faith in a God-fearing man is as central to his life as his own heart. At its deepest, and within its most earnest pursuits, that’s a statement that is absent of bluster.
But along the way, the spiritual realm gets crisscrossed with the tangible, the existential with the physical. Occasionally, these collisions result in transcendent, awakening experiences, like that night I sobbed in a Jeep in Costa Rica over the plight of your orphaned children there. I felt you that afternoon. But other times, I haven’t felt you. Unfortunately, your absence feels more palpable than your presence. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t been to church in moons. I don’t know the exact moment I checked out. As I write this, I haven’t been a regular attendee in close to three years, but in retrospect, I probably left the church even when I was still a Sunday morning fixture.
For the record, I never left you. I’ve come close, if I’m honest. I’m farther away from you than I am close to you. But you’re God, so again, you knew that.
I just want you to know I didn’t want things to get this bad. But there was the time during my junior year of high school when the wife of a high-ranking leader in church called my mother on an idle weekday and told her that she’d learned of my plans to have sex with a church deacon’s daughter at my prom in a few weeks. I sobbed in my bedroom that night, because at that juncture in my life, my ‘purity,’ my vow to wait, meant as much to me as anything did.
My mother told me – thank you for her – and explained that she wasn’t even concerned with whether it was true. But she knew that it meant a lot to me, this notion of saving sex until marriage to honor you, and she thought it was best that I hear it from her instead of down the line in a game of telephone that might come to life at youth group.
It wasn’t true. I had no intention of having sex at my prom. But you’re God, so you probably knew that.
I was dedicated to abstinence, to the greatest degree I knew possible, and it was a point of pride for me even in the face of my high school peers who occasionally mocked it. And yet, even the suggestion that I intended to break that vow was enough to rattle me to the core. I mean, it was literally half a lifetime ago and I’m telling you about it now, tonight. The fact that my accuser was a church mom, a woman who was supposed to be admired and confided in, only added insult to injury.
And there was the time another woman in church told me, in a hallway near the church mailboxes, that it must be hard to model myself after you because I didn’t have a Christian father in the home. I told her to kiss my ass, and I probably shouldn’t have, but she deserved it, right?
I still loved you then, and even when an unnamed church leader told a friend’s mom that talking to me alone – in plain sight, for all to see, no less – was inappropriate. That people might get the wrong idea. Did I ever tell you how much that hurt? That she was the only person I could go to, to confide in about all of that other stuff I just mentioned?
So you can see, years later, I can’t pinpoint when I stopped caring about “Christians,” or smoke machines and repeating acoustic guitar refrains, or the weird obsession with other people’s genitals. But I’m sure you can put the pieces together. I stopped caring. The mini-world of guilt-induced church culture was no longer my cup of tea.
So today, there are two broken pieces in my hands; one was a relationship with Church as a haven for communion and worship, the other was a relationship with you. Neither is intact, but I want you to know I never left you. I still haven’t. I don’t want much to do with church, or the people who profess you as theirs. I know that the shortcoming of a few won’t warrant the abandonment of the masses; I don’t care.
But you’re God. You probably knew that.
The 26 Year Old Virgin, my sophomore self-published book, is getting closer and closer to a release date. This letter is a year old, but along with many other drafts of things I’ve written for the new book, it popped back up again today. Hope you enjoyed it.