I have many friends and acquaintances who are not only life-long regular church goers, but also priests and bishops, including my college roommate, who was a highly-decorated soldier in Vietnam and eventually became the Episcopal bishop to the U.S. armed forces, and whose story is a large part of my book. Those were who I worried about: The widow of the bishop who married Karen and me, and who with him was like a second parent; the clergy friends of my parents, especially the widow of my father’s dear priest friend, with whom he founded a camp in the mountains outside San Diego for children from the diocese, where I went as a camper, counselor, and staff member from the ages of 8 to 19; my fellow board members of the camp, many of them clergy, all of them deeply religious. For many years I kept secret from them that I had slipped one of our strongest bonds.
Yet when finally I revealed my apostasy in print, instead of opprobrium, those wily Christians greeted me with…understanding and compassion! Though some said nothing, one priest wrote to say that he spent “hours everyday in a spiritual place you would recognize.” Other friends confided their own doubts and the accommodations they had made.
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