More religion: Religious faith seems to be a kind of affection. One of the more thought-provoking (read that with shades of “annoying”) people I ever talked to on the subject of religion was D— the Iowan. When I met him, he had been recently divorced: his wife had announced to him, out of the blue, that she’d been having an affair and she wanted to end the marriage. D— seemed intelligent, if a bit loopy. And he like to talk about religion. I love talking about religion, oddly enough, as long as the conversation doesn’t proceed to conversion. I’m fascinated by what people believe, and how they feel about what they believe. Or by what people think they believe. D— said that after his divorce, he felt like he needed to renew his faith, which had become routine.
Over the course of the next few months, I saw him begin to fall in love with his faith. It seemed like an infatuation at first. He would walk around, telling everyone He was a Christian Now and inviting them to his church. He extolled the pastor to people who made remarks about the weather. He made fun of his ex-wife. He was on the rebound. He got Involved. He took over as youth leader. He got a crush on his (admittedly cute) female co-leader, asked her out, and got shot down.
At that point, he started to think about what he was doing. His discussions with me changed from a simple, blind praise of his faith to something a little deeper. He started asking questions of himself, whether this action or that was right or wrong according to his faiths. He stopped shouting the glory of his faith from the rooftops, as it were. He struck me as having somehow earned a little humility.
And then I moved, didn’t hear from him for a time. He e-mailed me a month or so later. It was the sort of exchange where I said something that didn’t fit into his idea of faith, and he said he’d pray for me. I haven’t heard from him since. Although I don’t really know what went on, I felt like the romance of his faith was over; he’d become committed to his faith. It was no longer necessary to do anything but take it for granted.