I recently finished reading the book, “Living With a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search For the Truth About Everything” by Barbara Ehrenreich. It was a fascinating read for me, truly a wild ride for the woman steeped in belief in God to read the memoir of a woman steeped in nonbelief, science, and rationality.
With fourteen years difference in age between us–Ehrenreich born in 1941 and me in 1955–the two of us experience some of the same historical times and events, yet we can not be further apart in how we live and write our way through them. At age 13, writes Ehrenreich, “I set my goal for life, which was to find out why. What is the point of our brief existence? What are we doing here and to what end?”
At age 13 I was finishing years of learning the Heidelberg Catechism in order to sit before a church board room table filled with male elders who had taught me the answers to What are we doing here and to what end?” I give the answers back to them and finally stand before the church to make profession of my faith.
While Ehrenreich spends years searching for answers, I spend years breaking down the answers. Ehrenreich discovers an “unquenchable playfulness” at work in the world. My own discovery is of an unquenchable belief that will not let me go. The Other pursues Ehrenreich as much as she pursues me.
“To ask why is to ask for a motive or a purpose, and a motive has to arise from an apparatus capable of framing an intention, which is what we normally call a mind. Thus the question why is always really the question who.” (Barbara Ehrenreich, “Living With the Wild God”)
Who is the question we are left to live with. Who is pursuing you?