Diary of an Exile

Thanks to various events, today was the first time that my self-imposed exile from church required me to stay at home while my family went off without me. It’s a very strange feeling.

The first (and hardest) question was what to tell the boys about why Daddy isn’t coming with them. I wanted to say that I wasn’t enjoying church at the moment (which is simple and accurate), but that would invite the response that they don’t enjoy it, so they don’t want to go either. I’m not sure how I feel about them going to church to be taught things I don’t believe, but nor do I want to be responsible for them not going. At least, not like that. So we just told them I was busy doing things at home. We’ll need to come up with something better soon.

Explaining to other people was easier. Short version: I need a break from church. Long version: and here’s why, and what I think about it. I don’t want to make a big deal about anything, but that should do the trick for anyone who asks after me.

I don’t know what to do with myself on a Sunday morning. On the rare occasions that I’ve not been in church, it was because I had something else to do, and there were other people around. I feel like I’ve suddenly got some free time, but I also feel like I should be doing something useful with that time so that I can’t be accused of being lazy. Maybe I’m a slave to other people’s perceptions, but I want it to be clear that I have clear and principled reasons for what I’ve done.

So what did I do? Some work around the house, a bit of reading, and a bit of messing about online. I’d call that partial success.

Staying at home felt liberating, but also strangely lonely. Like it or loathe it, I’ve turned my back on a community, and at the moment, I have nothing to replace it. That’s rather unsettling, as if I’ve cast myself adrift and only then started to look around for some oars.

It’s not that I have any regrets, just that it’s going to take a while to get used to the new situation.

Photo by kevinrosseel, used under morgueFile License


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About Recovering Agnostic

I'm Christian by upbringing, agnostic by belief, cynical by temperament, broadly scientific in approach, and looking for answers. My main interest at the moment is in turning my current disengaged shrug into at least a working hypothesis.

6 responses to “Diary of an Exile”

  1. rodalena says :

    You’re not the only one. The solitude is important; embrace it. And then, embrace your loved ones when they come home.

  2. Heretic Husband says :

    I experienced the same thing for a while. Currently my wife is not attending church either – the small Anglican church she was going to no longer has a pastor (he became sick and his family moved away to be closer to extended family).

    My oldest daughter (four) hasn’t yet asked why I stopped going. She did ask me if God made it rain, to which I responded, “I don’t know, kiddo.”

    But the conflict is coming, of that I’m sure.

  3. M. Rodriguez says :

    I agree and empathize with you whole heatedly. Even though Christianity is a delusion, it is a loving delusion, with a community of delusional people who I enjoy being deluded with every sunday and wednesday. And many cases more often than that.

    Even though it is a delusion, I do not want wish to myself, my kids, and my wife out of this community and replace it with nothing, even if is a delusion.

    However, I have considered a Unitarian Universalist Church. I have heard very good reports by other fellow agnostics and atheist about it. However trying to convince my wife to go, seems to be difficult

  4. Sabio Lantz says :

    1/2 of the year, I couch a team of girls and my son is on a similar team and all the parents and kids meet often (Odyssey of the Mind). When that ends, it feels empty and lonely. I just don’t have the temptation of confusing all that with “God”. Fortunately, I am outgoing and invite myself to friends houses !! 🙂
    Solitude is great, but playing together is often much better! (Ooops, am I suppose to say that?)_

  5. Recovering Agnostic says :

    Thanks all. I don’t want to overplay it – just musing on the strange feeling of being at a bit of a loose end all of a sudden. I’m sure I’ll get over it.

  6. Daniel Digby says :

    I suppose I must be fortunate to know exactly what to do with my time off. I’m glad you’ve broken free of the bullying by CofE.

    Oh. And I’ll add my completely disingenuous “I’ll pray for you.”

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