Well, the time has come once again: I’m to pass as a Catholic for a week. Remember the service trip I mentioned in my deconversion story? The one that got me started on the trail to a life of faith? It’s that same trip, led by my home parish of St. John of the Cross. I’ll be going with a number of other adults and a huge group of junior and senior high school students, some of whom I will be directly responsible for. These details are largely irrelevant; what is relevant is the fact that this is, in every regard, a Catholic event. We have prayer time built into the schedule. We’ll be attending Mass during the week. Discussions about faith will be the norm. I’ll be expected to plan evening prayer at least once.
I’m not looking forward to any of these things. So why am I going, you might ask? Well, one of my siblings is attending, so I’d like to spend time with them. But more importantly, I want to serve. Just because I don’t have God elbowing me in the ribs and saying, “Aren’t you gonna go help them?” anymore doesn’t mean I don’t want to care for my fellow human beings. If anything, atheism demands an even greater attention to human suffering, because there’s no great equalization at the end of life. If people aren’t treated justly here and now, they won’t be compensated in the future. So I want to be a part of bring about a more socially just world.
Nervous is probably the best word to describe what I’m feeling. I’m nervous. I don’t want someone to come up to me and ask my where I’m at with my faith, because I’ll be forced to do one of three things: lie, evade, or confess. Lying is something I try to avoid if possible. Evading is difficult. Confessing is the most ideal of the three, but doing so will lead to a much more involved conversation, one that I’m frankly not sure I’m prepared to have.
I guess there’s no real point to this entry except to vent. I’m worried about what will happen and kicking myself for thinking this would be a good idea. I’ve been away at college for years now, but the same youth pastor still works at the church. She knew me quite well back then. When the meetings began for the adult leaders, she instantly assumed that my beliefs were the same as before. And why wouldn’t she? I’ve given her no reason to think otherwise. I’m debating whether I should tell her or not. On the one hand, telling her seems like the honest thing to do. She thinks I’m someone that I’m not. But on the other hand, she was an integral part of my Catholic development. To tell her that all her efforts ultimately did nothing to prevent my departure form the faith may be an unnecessary blow to her ego. But maybe I’m over-thinking this.
I plan to write a bit while I’m away. I’ll post those entries when I return, but backdate them so they correspond to when they were written. Until then, peace.