Quick, hide the Dawkins!
The in-laws are coming to stay. This means that through a combination of pragmatism and cowardice, I’m tidying up my recent reading matter to ensure that they don’t see anything that would be likely to cause trouble. It’s not that I’m feeling guilty or ashamed of reading things that they wouldn’t approve of, but I’m not sure of myself, not ready to “come out” if I was, and I’d much rather keep control of how and when the subject comes up.
So I’m avoiding confrontation, playing my usual game of fitting in and keeping my head down, but on a much bigger scale. I hate it, I hate the way it puts me on edge, and I hate the way it reminds me of the things I go along with, and the parts of my life I need to sort out. Clearly, I can’t go on like this, but at the moment the few alternatives I can see look even less appealing, so I’ll continue to stick it out for the time being.
The funny thing is that I quite like them as people (as much as any man can like his in-laws), and I’m happy to disagree with them about various things, but I still get very uncomfortable when the conversation turns to religion. It would probably be easier if I were to meet them for the first time now. They first knew me as a young, enthusiastic (if rather green) evangelical, so I feel like they’ll consider it a disappointment that I’ve changed, and regard me as a patient, a backslider, or even a target for evangelism.
I’m probably being unfair to them and worrying over nothing, but as long as I’m confused in my own mind, I have a good excuse for avoiding the difficult conversations, so that’s what I do. One day, when I’ve got my thoughts together, I’ll have to work out a proper strategy, but for now, I’ll carry on “doing my thing” by gritting my teeth, keeping quiet, and avoiding the issue.
And hating myself for it.
Photo by .Larry Page, used under Attribution License