Chapter 2: Into the Deep End

My name is David Robert Morrison. I am the son of Robert Darsie Morrison and Barbara Jane Morrison; I was born in Colorado Springs, and I was a week late. I was 9 pounds and some number of ounces, which I always thought was pretty normal-sized until all my friends starting having 9-pound babies and complaining about how large they are (it seems like if 9 pounds is above average, fewer people should have babies of that size, but maybe there’s just something in the water here). I don’t remember too much of my life in Colorado Springs, because my family moved to Idaho when I was six.

[Author’s note: I have since been informed that I was, in fact, not a 9-pound baby]

One thing I do remember, though, is that when I was five years old I went to a Vacation Bible School at a neighbor’s house (it was a blue house) where I heard about Jesus for the first time. On my way over to the house, I fell down in our gravel driveway and scraped up my knee really badly (I still have the scar, though it’s faded a lot). I started bawling (because I was five and it hurt), and I didn’t want to go any more. However, my mom made me go anyways. I don’t remember if there were any other kids there (I assume there were), but the lady at the house led us out into her backyard and we said a prayer. I don’t really remember too much else beyond that, but I do remember coming home excited, because I knew that somehow or another my life was going to be different after that.

I generally have good memories of my childhood and teen-age years. I was home-schooled for a while, and then I went to a private Christian school for a while. I’m sure I gave my parents and teachers no end of frustration for being pretty smart, and knowing I was pretty smart. I insisted on multiple different occasions that my way of spelling the words on my spelling list was the right way, and that my mom’s way was wrong, despite the fact that she had the correct spelling sitting in front of her. Once I started going to “real” school, I developed a keen knack for figuring out when my teachers were just wasting time, and I wasn’t afraid to tell them so. Needless to say, I was a stubborn, cynical little brat growing up. I’m still pretty stubborn and cynical, but I like to think that my maturity tempers that a little bit (don’t laugh).

Fast-forward a whole bunch of years. When I was eighteen, I was baptized into the Christian faith for the second time (the first was before I could remember anything, and I wanted one that I would remember, too). I’ve had a lot of people get really uncomfortable when I tell them I’ve been baptized twice. I’ve had people get angry at me because this is some sort of heresy. I’ve had people tell me that I didn’t actually get baptized twice, but that the second time was a “re-baptism” (no, I don’t really know what the difference is, either). I’ve gotten to the point now where I generally just don’t talk about it at all, because I’m tired of being told that my choice to publicly profess my faith is bad. But my second baptism was at least as important as my first; my first baptism was a dedication of my life to God by my parents. My second was a dedication of my life to God by me.

Anyways, after I graduated from high school, I went to a “liberal atheist” school in southern California (I actually had someone tell me a few months before I went to college that God didn’t want me to move to California because the state was full of heathens). Much to my shock and surprise, I discovered that there actually were Christian people in California, that many of them actually went to my “atheist” college, and most amazing of all, some of them didn’t vote vote for George W. Bush! This was the beginning of a long, and at times difficult journey in the evolution of my faith and of my outlook on the world we inhabit.

I learned many things during my time in college, but some of the most important lessons were about people. I’ve came to realize that people are people, wherever they happen to live, or whatever they happen to believe. When I first went to college, I had a hard time understanding and respecting the people I met who I thought of as “too liberal”. But as I spent more time with them, I began to realize that a lot of the things these people said and talked about resonated really strongly with things that I also believed, or at least things I wanted to believe. And, as I started to change, I looked back with frustration at the “conservative” ideas that I grew up with that I felt hindered me in some way. It was a much longer time before I realized that people are much too complicated to stick in simple boxes like “liberal” or “conservative”, and that by sticking people in these boxes, I was actually just judging them, when really I wanted to being showing them love.

I still struggle with this. One of the most important goals that I have for my life is to love other people. But so many times, I just look at them with disdain, and judge them, which just causes pain. So if I’ve done that to you, I am truly sorry.

Anyways, one byproduct of having experienced these two vastly different environments is that I now have a very strange amalgam of beliefs and ideas. I want to tell you what some of these are, because they are important to me. However, I’m not going to offer up any justification for them here; I just want you to see who I am, not why I am. I’d be happy to talk with you more about the “why”s in person sometime. You might notice that many of the things I state here are contradictory. I don’t think that’s a bad thing; I think that’s a part of being human.

I believe that my primary purpose on this earth is to love other people and care for them, though I am often a pretty selfish person. I am strongly in favor of gay marriage rights, though I recognize that many passages in the Bible appear to be quite opposed to homosexuality. I am uncomfortably in favor of (extremely limited) abortion rights, though I wish that we lived in a world where we didn’t have to ask the question of “When is it acceptable to destroy this unborn thing that may or may not be human right now, but definitely will be someday?” I accept the scientific explanation that life evolved from other life over several billion years; I also believe that God created the heavens and the earth. I am very glad to be living in America, but have deep misgivings about some of the fundamental attitudes of our culture, particularly with regards to sex (which we don’t talk about enough), violence (which we talk about and glorify way too much), and consumerism (which is rampant and disgusting).

I believe in a God who loves me deeply, and accepts me for who I am; I struggle with the idea of a God who commanded entire nations to be destroyed because they didn’t believe in him. I fight nearly daily against fear, doubt, and depression; I am a joyful person that dives into life headlong. I work as a scientist, yet I struggle with being careful and analytical.

I could go on. I think you get the idea, though. I am a human being, and I exist in a state of contradiction. I don’t understand how this works. I don’t understand how these contradictory ideas can all coexist in a single person, but I believe that this is because Scripture says that I was created in the image of God, and I believe that God is a contradictory being. I don’t understand this any more than I understand myself, but I have a few ideas that I’ll talk about next.

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