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Seas of Confusion

The sea was gray and foreboding under a steely sky. The wind – cool and treacherous – whipped up white-caps in the distance and made the laundry snap sharply on the line.

Her fingers traced lines of concern on the foggy window-pane. “Be safe, honey!”

It was a prayer.

The oars were rough and damp against his palms as he pulled with resolution against the lashing waves.

“Today. Today! TODAY! Yes, today I will conquer!”

He set a course by the North Star and turned a steely face to the wind and spray. In minutes, he was out of sight – deep in the Seas of Confusion.

A canon-blast rolled across the churning seas like distant thunder. He started and reached instinctually for his musket…but no…not today. He glanced longingly towards the island networks, lagoons and marshes of Apologetics. For a few moments he indulged himself in fantasies of fame, glory and crushing victories…but no, not today.

Today, there are other battles to be won.

He was in the high, rolling waters of Academia now. Fog was constant here, the North Star obscure, the waves rolling and deceptive. With a gasp, he wheeled his craft about and rowed furiously – barely avoiding a collision with one of the greats. He caught sight of The Good Doctor as he went sailing by – noble, strong, poised, confident. Lost to the Master, but found in himself.

He watched in silent longing as the craft made its circular, winding way out of sight. With a sigh he rowed on.

Perhaps someday.

Perhaps someday.

The waters were changing around him. They felt alive with power – fairly boiling with the anger of unseen battles, deep below. He stared in terrified wonder as the Barthian dogmatic passed alongside – huge, gnarled, forboding. Suddenly, the depths exploded in a shower of spray as Hegel flew high above the surface of the water, then came crashing back to it. Following in close pursuit, the smaller, lithe Kierkegard seemed at times almost to catch and destroy the latter, at times to be entirely ignored by the former. He watched in awe, pulling desperately to row free from their murderous conflicts.

They were out of sight now, but he had no chance to rest. Already he could hear it: that low, sinister roar pulsating over the waves. His stomach twisted into knots at the sound.

“Today! Today…today I will conquer!”….he was trying to convince himself now.

Closer, closer still he rowed. Now the pounding, the roaring, that horrid sucking were drowning out all that was. And suddenly, it was before him!

The pale, jaded spires of Kantian realism reached high into the clouds – while the sucking, churning whirlpool of Schliermachian romanticism sucked furiously against its base.

Where was it? That path around? That path through – it had to be there!!

Today he would find his answer!

He let out a shriek of terror or bloodthirst and pulled furiously into the current. She reached out to embrace him. Impossibly fast he was down in, through, past, around…now he was coming back again! This wasn’t right! SHE HAD HIM! He pulled hard against the current..a spire rose up out of the mist, and he pulled hard to starboard. But now she had him! He pulled away again, and an oar caught on a submerged spire and splintered like a match-stick. Ripping his other oar from its riggings he paddled furiously first on this side, then on that. All to no avail – she had him again, and now there was no turning back!

Down and down he spun! Light was dark, air was water, peace was rage it was over, over, over, OVER! He was going down!







All was white, all was numb, all was quiet. Where was he? What was he? How long had he been sitting there? What was time? What was being? What is thought itself?

His punch-drunk eyes rested on a gleaming piece of gold, wrapped in a band around his finger.

Slowly, his eyes focused.

A glimmer of recognition.

“Now there is one real thing.”

The North Star had long since disappeared from sight, but just over the waves he could make out a winking light.

With a sigh that was half defeat, half relief, and all exhaustion, he made for home.

She was ready to meet him at the door – relief etched in every line of her caring eyes. How many days would this go on? How many nights wondering if tomorrow would be their last?

She did not know, and right now she did not care. He was home, and he was alive.

Tonight, there would be music.


To a wife, friends, and church who loves me for who I am, and who pursue God with a whole heart:

“Thank you for lighting my way home.”


  1. That was so well written, Josiah. Beautiful. I know it’s not easy to go where you’re going and do what you are attempting to do. Know that we pray for you to “stay safe” in God’s will and love, through out all the reading, learning, seeking, studying. He loves you and holds you in his hand. May you feel it every single day.

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