Date: Mon Mar 23, 1998 9:53:11 AM
Hey Ravi, I apologize for this duration of silence since you last wrote. Rather coincidentally, since that letter, I have been caught in the throes of a major christian crisis, a crisis you no doubt will not quite understand based on some of the things you wrote in your letter about the US being great because of figures like Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. I met Oral Roberts once, and beg to differ with you; he is NOT the reason America is great. America is a world power driven by money, expansion, natural resources and exploitation of people and these resources. This is accomplished under the guise of freedom. Now make no mistake about this, there is more individual freedom in the US than probably any other place on the globe, but that observation in itself is the very essence that drives other societies like the former Soviet Union, fundamentalist Islamic despots, and a smattering of hip materialist philosophers to rage at the decadence and satanic natures of this culture. In other words, you can't please everybody all the time.
Which brings me to the crisis I mentioned above. One of my brothers, Allan, fourth son of my mother and father (I am the oldest of six kids, five male, one female), 37 years of age, has begun believing that God wants him to renounce his US citizenship (man's law) in favor of God's government. He currently drives an eighteen wheeler, a cross-continental transport truck in his most recent and most successful attempt to make a living to date. His "defection" will no doubt jeopardize that current job and his ability to subsequently work anywhere. He says he is willing to pay that price. He has four children and a wife to support, and has often failed to do that very thing in his decade-long "search for God's will."
I have written at length this past week to his wife Lianna and also to my sister Laurie Anne in an attempt to ferret out the true meaning of faith and God's will, as they are also strong believers, each a member of a different church. As a foreigner from India, you may well be deceived at how sectarianism has throttled the so-called love all christians are presumed to have for each other, but in your own country, the vast number of competing Hindu sects no doubt offers a good example of what goes on over here under the christian banner.
I will send you copies of these letters written just last week, if you think you can handle the "honesty" of true seeking the diligent pilgrim must endure over the course of a lifetime buoyed by experience and study, but your recent letter suggests you are perhaps not quite prepared for the spicy meat of mature doubt, the earnest freedom of honest interpretation, and the iron resolve that these letters represent.
I am not willing to risk sandbagging your own faith just to parade my own seemingly heretical theology in front of you. In fact, I am certain that the best approach in this matter is to insist upon your own calm collectivity on these matters, or else you may find yourself out on a limb of no return. Twig by twig we build a language, and while Christ may be the trunk of that tree, there are many knotty obstacles hidden along the path of an honest believer.
I must insist you note with caution, any desire to plunge ahead unwittingly. These are treacherous waters for the simple believer, but waters you will no doubt be required to wade at some point in your life. That time may indeed be right now. It is your choice, and your choice only. You initially contacted me, Ravi. I responded. Now we must take the next step, or softly fade away into our own respective fates...