My resolution for 2017 was to publish something. I failed to meet the deadline. But this past February, I finally did submit my first manuscript for publication. I had been working on this paper since about August of 2015, when it began life as the opening chapter of a book. The last little bit of work was easy, and yet so difficult. I had put a lot into this project, and a psychological block was preventing me from closing this chapter and moving on. I finally did.
Then, I took some time off. I kept writing daily. But nothing specific, and not very imaginative. My mind needed a break. I needed a break. Sending off the manuscript felt like victory, even though I can’t really celebrate until it is published. It has been two months, and I haven’t been rejected, yet. My fingers remain superstitiously crossed.
One of the things preventing me from blogging more had been this paper. I needed to finish it before I could say anything meaningful here. Until it is published, I can’t really discuss it in detail. But this manuscript was a personal thesis. The more I put into it, the less there seemed to be to say here, until it was done. Blogging about this unfinished project felt self-defeating. Why? I would ask myself. Am I writing for this blog when I could instead be finishing one of my dream goals?
Now that the work is behind me, I have had a chance to re-orient. The thesis is finished. Now I want to test it out. I want to challenge how we see religion.
My parents raised their children Catholic. I began life quite devout, but with a burning desire. I wanted to understand my world. I wanted to understand my faith. Originally, when I began this journey, I began with the assumption that my faith was true. This is what I had been taught as a child.
For years my mother defended Catholicism as ‘the one true faith.’ How could this be the one true faith? I would ask. How do you know which version is true Christianity? I have met Protestants who steadfastly proclaimed that their own versions were true, and who condemned Catholicism as everything from misguided to the work of the devil. I would ask them the same questions. How do you know that your beliefs are true beliefs? I could never get an answer that made sense. People defend their faith in many ways. I was looking for something rational. When I realized that there was nothing rational about it, I let go, and my faith fell away.
Letting go of my faith was perhaps one of the most important decisions of my life. It forced me to confront my own spirituality more directly. I was changing my thinking by challenging my assumptions. I wanted to be able to defend my words. This meant discarding indefensible beliefs, in order to speak truthfully.