And so it has come to this. I’m going to leave for awhile. For a time. For an unspecified sabbatical. Maybe forever. Who knows? It certainly has a forever feel because I’m going out into the wild woods of the world and I’m not leaving bread crumbs behind me.

For now I still count myself among you. If asked I’ll say I’m an Episcopalian carved from untamed liberal Baptist stock. An iconoclastic Heyoka sort of character. The crazy cousin. The madman down by the river. Huck Finn on a raft with Jim and never comfortable wearing shoes or being indoors. If asked that’s who I’ll say I am. But I don’t expect anyone will ask. Why would they?

But the bottom line is I can’t give myself to a church anymore. I just can’t. I can’t give to any church what they require before opening the secret door to their community. I don’t blame them for being cautious either. They’ve been hurt before by people like me who appear out of nowhere and then disappear when the wind changes. So I don’t blame anyone. And I have nothing bad to say about churches. I’m just feeling selfish with Gordon and not inclined to give him away so easily again.

I pray that you won’t forget me. And I hope you won’t forget to pray for me sometimes. Now and then when you think of it. I think of you every single day and still can’t quite figure out what went wrong between us.

If you think of me sometimes, I want you to imagine me facing a broad horizon. In one hand is my battered black New Testament, the one beaten into a ploughshare by a thousand sermons, each of which I gave myself to as honestly and completely as I could. I really did try to be right with that calling. in my other hand is a wooden rosary that I made myself and cling to on dark nights. Think of me that way.

And think of me happy and free.


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