I finished reading Breaking Up with God by Sarah Sentilles this morning. Once in a while I find a book that so matches my experience that I think maybe I actually wrote it and just forgot. While I didn’t know where Sentilles’ journey was going to end, each segment of her life was familiar to me: the upbringing in a dogmatic church, the beginning of questioning the tenets of her faith during her college years, the process of choosing her words as she worked for a church, the searching out religious expressions different than the one she was raised in, and, finally, settling in after her long sojourn. It seems to me that she didn’t actually break up with God, she broke away from an image of God that stopped working for her, that didn’t match what she was actually witnessing in the world. This has been my experience also.
When you let go of an image of God that you once embraced, it can feel strange at first. It is like flying in an airplane and suddenly the engines stop and there is this silence but you are still gliding along. You expect that there will be a sudden descent and then a crash, but the glide lasts and after a while, you forget to fear. Gliding feels good. It is quiet. It is smooth as the plane rides over the air currents instead of depending on its own thrust. Theologies, explanations about the who of God and how and where and when of God were so noisy, literally. When people with strong convictions talked about God, their voices often got louder and they would start to interrupt if you questioned them. I experienced voices of theologies all around and in places where it didn’t seem particularly necessary.
Yes, I think I am enjoying the new ride better.