Luke, you’re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view.
I’ve tried to think about how to sum up everything I’ve learned in the last 40 days. Ultimately, though, that’d be the wrong thing to do. Yes, I’ve learned a lot, Atheism for Lent was rich beyond belief (pun intended), but the purpose of the course was to engage with these works as a decentering practice. Intentional disorientation, designed to knock you off balance. Why? Because it’s easy to slip into ruts, to start treating the way you see things as the only way to see things.
This course definitely did that for me. At the outset, I had grand plans to follow a daily reading and a weekly blog from the Slate Project people, but I realized about halfway through that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t read or engage with anything else (I also tried starting a new book), because everything I was reading was trying to pull me back to center. I could only sit with the daily reflections in this course, and let them push up against the cognitive grooves I’ve worn in my mind from years of use, until I eventually popped out of them.
With every retreat or camp or conference I’ve been to, the hardest part is always the return, and this has been no different. I can’t sum up the last 40 days, I don’t even know if I can articulate the change. I can only say that it did its work. At the end of it, I’ve been pushed and pulled off center, and have been left with a much more open and expansive, as well as firmly grounded, paradigm than what I entered with. I began the journey deconstructed, but, oddly, am more whole and put back together at the end of it.
Can’t wait to do it again next year.
Peace and tenacity,