Church is over now. We ate some pasta with artichoke in it (I love artichoke!) and we prayed and sang some psalms and it was a little intense but good. Now upstairs someone is playing show tunes, someone else is talking about Bill Clinton and his pants, I think, and I'm eating something called funfetti cake and thinking about this essay I'm writing about faith. Really, it's about doubt. The funfetti cake looks alluring but a little frightening - alluring and frightening like a costume party is alluring and frightening. It turns out the cake is delicious with whipped cream. I'm anxious about my essay because it's due tomorrow and it's a mess. I've quoted my high school physics teacher and an epistemologist and Campus Crusade for Christ's Four Spiritual Laws in my essay and there's a section about church camp and yeah, it's a mess. I go out for a drink anyway. I've spent the majority of my weekend in my apartment writing and I just want to hang out.
I talk to a guy from church on the way home who says what everyone says: New York can be a lonely place. Despite the 8 million people living in this city my life shrunk when I moved to New York. Suddenly everything is smaller: my apartment, my church, the number of my coworkers, my circle of friends. The only thing that has grown is my confidence in my ability to write and my ambition and, um, maybe my ego a little except that I've got this essay that is really not very good.
Peter Berger, whom I also have been reading for this essay, says this: "Every human society is an enterprise of world-building. Religion occupies a distinctive place in this enterprise...The socially constructed world is, above all, an ordering experience. A meaningful order, or nomos, is imposed upon the discrete experiences and meanings of individuals...The socially established nomos may thus be understood, perhaps in its most important aspect, as a shield against terror."
Sometimes the only way I know I have faith is that I have doubt. I still go to church every Sunday to fend it off, though, terror or meaninglessness or whatever, with rituals and funfetti cake and beer with my friends. It all worked out, anyway. Class was canceled, so I have some more time to figure out how to make sense out of my faith and my doubt. I'm sure I can figure it all out by next week.