Faith and Other Flat Tires is the story of Andrea Palpant Dilley’s journey through her religion. Raised in Kenya by Quaker missionary parents, Dilley had assumed her religion was already laid out for her. Her father was a priest, and her mother was a devout Christian. She dressed up as Amy Carmichael, a Christian missionary, for Halloween, stayed involved with her church community, and chose to get baptized herself. After her baptism, Dilley felt spiritually fulfilled. She describes the experience, “In that moment, I felt the blessing of a priest upon me. The feeling of being known and understood. The feeling of belonging to God’s great cosmos” (Dilley 53). However, as Andrea Dilley matures and learns to recognize the problems within the world, she loses sight of her devotion to God.
Before Dilley’s high school graduation, her father brings her to a Hi-Fi shop to purchase a laptop for college. As she is roaming the store, she confronts a television broadcasting ...view middle of the document...
All that Dilley longs for are answers, ones she can’t seem to find from her highly religious father or her childhood Presbyterian church, Knox.
Years later, Dilley scrapes the the fish icon, Ichthus, from the back of her car, representing her removal from her Christian faith. Dilley stops attending church, and feels a sort of angst towards the church. She is frustrated that she cannot find answers to her everyday questions. She ponders the distance of God, the suffering of innocent people, and the seemingly flawed Church. She began to search for answers among her rather quirky college friends. Unable to reach a resolution she is content with, Dilley ran into an old friend who influenced her to attend church again. Despite her years of skepticism, Dilley decides to attend a mass at Knox with her parents. Although Dilley cannot determine exactly what triggered her return to the Presbyterian church, she explains, “I left for a while, burned out by faith and church. Then I came back, driven by a completely different kind of fatigue. I was tired of myself. Tired of being an overwrought, introspective twenty-something trying to undertake the search alone” (Dilley 233). In this particular service, Dilley reaches an epiphany, that her doubt was her desire. She had been longing to reach the unreachable, to possess the presence of God. Dilley began to attend Bible study, and continue her search for answers not only from God, but for her love life as well.
Dilley marries her Bible study instructor at Knox Presbyterian Church, and decides to move to Arizona. Although Dilley never completely finds out the answers to all her questions, she learns to be at peace with God. Rather than spending her time searching for answers though faith, she accepts that she never will. Describing herself as a melancholy Christian, Dilley claims that “My theistic beliefs are unwavering. I can’t get away from my belief in God; I think I know that now. But my Christian beliefs are always wavering” (Dilley 296). Nothing could fully satisfy her spiritually, because her faith had directed her into the depths of her doubts.