When my dad first approached me about working with him to write a book, I’ll be honest—the idea made me nervous. There were a lot of “what ifs” that hung over my head. What if this turned into a giant time suck? What if we argued over every detail and ended up hating each other? What if my dad couldn’t write? But when your father, whom you love and respect, asks for your help, you do it. So I agreed.
A big concern I had at the beginning was the book’s subject matter. This book was going to be about my dad’s Christian walk, but I myself wasn’t Christian. To be honest, I was put off by Christianity. I wasn’t even sure I believed in a higher power, let alone Jesus Christ as my personal savior.
I’d been raised Lutheran, but going to church had always felt like a chore. The rituals, the drone of the pipe organ, the ancient hymns—none of it ever did much for me. The highlight of an average Sunday was reading the prayer requests on the back of the bulletin. In college I drifted away from the church, and over time I lost my faith entirely. That makes it sound like I set it down somewhere and then couldn’t remember where I left it—I think “cast aside” might better describe it.
Looking back I see how hard this must have been for my dad—for both my parents—to see their daughter turn away from Christ. But what’s really remarkable is how little my dad pushed me. Surely he must have wanted to, but he never did. Maybe it’s because his own spiritual journey has taken so many twists and turns, as you’ll read in the coming pages. But he must have realized—even if I didn’t at the time—that I was on a spiritual journey of my own, and he couldn’t make my choices for me.
So we plunged ahead with the book, me the skeptic keeping quiet about my doubts and just waiting to see where this thing led us.
Working with my dad on this book has affected me in ways I never expected. It’s brought my father and me closer together, for one thing. It’s a gift to be able to know your parent as an adult—to learn about his passions and motivations, his weaknesses and strengths. That alone would have been reason enough to do this project with my dad.
The other thing it’s done is slowly, gradually bring me back to Christ. Reading about my dad’s life and talking with him about his Christian walk, it’s like it cracked a door. And the more we talked, and the more I worked on the book, the wider the crack got.
When, about a year and a half ago, my dad brought up visiting a church in our neighborhood, the crack had gotten wide enough that I said yes without much hesitation.
This church was unlike any I’d ever been to before. For one thing, it wasn’t a “church” in the traditional sense of the word. The congregation met in a loft space that doubled as an art gallery, with secular art adorning the 20-foot whitewashed walls. Neat rows of plastic chairs stood in for pews. If it not for the sign on the front door, you might not have even realized it was a church at all.
But what an experience. For the first time in my life, I truly felt like I was worshiping during a worship service. I wasn’t just drumming my fingers, waiting for it to be over so we could go out to lunch. I actually connected with the words the pastor was saying during the sermon, and I couldn’t get enough of the music.
It’s interesting. I always had this idea that finding God would feel like being struck by a bolt of lightning. It would be overwhelming and undeniable and it would happen all at once. And maybe it is like that for some people, but in my whole life nothing like that has ever happened to me. Not even close.
But what I’ve come to understand is that sometimes it’s quiet and gradual, and it’s no less powerful for being quiet and gradual. For many years I wondered how faith worked—how did people just blindly believe? How did they set aside their doubts and fears and reservations and just believe? What I’ve learned is astoundingly simple: If you want to believe, you just have to let yourself.
I am incredibly proud of the work my father and I have done together on God’s Faint Path, and I hope you are able to take something meaningful from this book, as I have.