CLERMONT - “Don’t let Christians get between you and Christ,” David Field said July 15. In a Zoom interview from his home, Field shared advice given to him during a dark and lonely period.
Field, 58, shared his story to help encourage those wanting to return to their faith, but wrestle with doubt.
Childhood fears and hypocrisy of some church members took their toll on Field, spiritually and creatively. Chronic writer’s block plagued him for years.
How do faith and creativity combine? Field’s life and work are proof of divine forgiveness, grace, and the spark of creative fire.
Storm Clouds Gather
Born and raised in Clayton, Field grew up attending his local Methodist church alongside his family. During high school, Field said he began seeing discrepancies between what people said and how they lived.
“I began having doubts. I had conflict within myself,” he explained. Distracted, he looked at life and its hurts and found himself doubting God's existence.
Soon, Field claimed he was an atheist, but later settled as an agnostic. He believed something guided the universe, but was uncertain.
“Much to my mother’s horror,” Field said, describing his family’s response.
“I was open to other religions,” he added.
He pursued a teaching career after college, and taught English and literature. Life rolled on until Field married at 35.
Spark of Hope
As a teacher, Field said he saw students with no faith-based background. The line between right and wrong was blurred, confusing young people.
In the late '90s, Field said God’s providence led him and his new wife to purchase a house behind a Presbyterian church. His wife began attending, along with their daughter, Jessica. Field attended a service and said he enjoyed how the pastor acted out different Bible characters/stories.
When communion was served, Field said his daughter asked him why he did not partake. At that moment, Field said he experienced the Holy Spirit’s conviction. He spoke with the pastor, sharing his story. His intellectual struggle with faith found relief after 20 years.
“It’s amazing grace,” Field said.
Burst of Light
Today, Field and his family call Dennis Township home. He is a senior adjunct instructor (English) at Rowan College of South Jersey.
After battling writer’s block for years, Field said God helped him find his creative voice again. He wrote short stories in college, but pursued teaching the works of others.
“I’m not Shakespeare, or Stephen King,” Field said.
Now, he celebrates the publication of “The Canaan Belt War,” his futuristic novel. Field said he uses fantasy as a metaphor for today's issues.
“I realized when I regained my faith in my late 30s, that when I was searching for spiritualism in mythology and other religions, I was really looking for a way back to Jesus,” he explained.
“Religion is all about submission to God’s will,” he said.
“We are microscopic beings living on a speck of dust,” he added.
By accepting our place in creation, said Field, we will see life correctly.
“Christ is alpha and omega. We are stuck in the linear experience. He can see our destiny,” he said. He thanks God for the ability to choose Him.
Field and his family may leave Cape May County and move to Cumberland County. Until then, he is happy writing and amazed at how God has worked in his life, despite his past and wrong choices.
For those who are trying to find their way back, Field said to “be open-minded” and do not ignore the evidence of grace already at work.
“Perhaps 'The Canaan Belt War' may serve that purpose for some other lost agnostics in search of answers. Of course, as a Christian, I know that's not up to me; it's up to providence,” Field concluded.
Faith Matters is an ongoing series exploring the connection between individuals and their faith, impacting their families, community, and beyond. Those with a story of faith to share should contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.