2. I’m a Relativist
The bishop I grew up with, Wesley Frensdorf, he allegedly said that there are few absolutes. He helped me exit fundamentalism and return to my roots as an Episcopalian. I think he was right. I don’t really do absolutes. I don’t think I would be good at defending or guarding the faith-one of the bishop’s tasks- because I don’t think God needs defending or guarding. God doesn’t exist because of my construct of God. My construct of God exists because others have articulated it and promoted it and shared it and imposed it and threatened with it and done great good with it and great evil with it and all of that. The faith of the church, or any other religious body, has more to do with its practitioners than with the object of the faith.
I don’t understand completely. I don’t need to. It’s all myth as far as I am concerned. It’s myth in the very best sense of the word, in the sense that the Christian story has intersected with my story and in that intersection I have found great meaning, comfort, hope, purpose, and only a little bit of anxiety that I’m going to get in trouble after I die for using bad words and saying that things are relative (see reasons 3 and 4). The story I believe in and the myth I claim have given me access to that which is beyond story, myth, reason, faith, etc. Whatever the truth is, it is, I don’t need to defend it or guard it. I don’t want to defend the truth. I want to access it more fully.
I’ve just spent a month in Central Asia, surrounded by Islam. They got a different myth. They got a different story. I want to learn more about these strange people called Muslims who dare to pray five times daily and do better than Christians do, living life without alcohol. During Ramadan, they spend a whole month fasting and giving their money to the poor (I’m a little curious about what poor people do the other eleven months of the year). And the only liturgical rubric they got is pray toward Mecca. That’s easy. You get a map, a compass, a GPS-whatever you need-find and pray toward Mecca. I’d make a lousy bishop. Maybe I’d make a better Imam.