As I read Yolanda Pierce ’94’s answers in “Rethinking Theology in an Age of Increasing Doubt” (Princetonians, June 6), I remembered lying in bed in 36 Patton Hall late one night in 1954 talking with my father, who was spending the night with me and my roommates. Early the next morning he would be going to a meeting at the Episcopal Church headquarters in New York. He was Alabama’s Episcopal bishop, C.C.J. Carpenter 1921.
Late in the conversation, I said, “Dad, I am agnostic and I am dating an atheist.” “Son,” he said, “it seems like every generation has to kind of work that out.”
There was a long pause. When I spoke again, he had fallen asleep.
After staying awake an hour or two stewing over why what I had said had not seriously distressed him, I had an epiphany. He was confident about what he believed, and he was confident that I had the resources to find my way. I finally went peacefully to sleep.
Three years later, and after two years in the infantry, I was an eager student at Virginia Theological Seminary.