Fat Girl,

The journey in and out.

May 15, 2015 5 Comments

There had always been a dis­con­nect between what I was taught and what I observed and expe­ri­enced, between blind faith in invis­i­ble things and repeat­ably testable evi­dence. But as a child, as a teen, even into ear­ly adult­hood, I wasn’t giv­en the words to rec­og­nize the dis­con­nect, or even the tools to inspect or decon­struct my beliefs to see if there was any mer­it to them out­side of want­i­ng them to be true.

Read More

Let me hide myself.

March 30, 2015 3 Comments

I was 15 years old, sit­ting in the front row of the church, star­ing skep­ti­cal­ly at the woman who was preach­ing to us. This wasn’t my youth group, of course—the assem­blies would nev­er allow a woman to speak like this. I deter­mined that per­haps she was like Balaam’s don­key, and did my utmost to pay atten­tion to what­ev­er word of the Lord she might iron­i­cal­ly speak despite her unfit­ness for lead­er­ship.

She walked over to her pro­jec­tor and held up a trans­paren­cy sheet. “This rep­re­sents you,” she said sim­ply. “Your lives.” She picked up a few dif­fer­ent mark­ers and start­ed doo­dling on the sheet, explain­ing that our sins and deci­sions and actions were like the marks on the page. “Every­thing is here—from the clothes you wear, to the words you say, to what you do in your every day life. They all show up here.”

The speak­er placed the sheet back on the pro­jec­tor and turned on the light. “This light is Jesus,” she con­tin­ued. “Notice how you can’t see him through the ink, only through the clear parts?” I stirred in my seat, aware of how it seemed the Spir­it was mov­ing with­in me.

She took an eras­er and slow­ly began mov­ing it across the mark­er draw­ings. I watched, mes­mer­ized, as the marks dis­ap­peared. “This is what the blood of Christ does”—she point­ed to the now-clean sheet—“so that all that can be seen through you is Jesus.” She spent the rest of her time with us explain­ing how impor­tant it was to make sure that our trans­paren­cies remained clean, that our deci­sions and words and lives were so clean that we would only reflect Christ to those around us.

As I got in the van with the car­pool that brought me to church that night, I was deeply con­vict­ed to start chang­ing my life so that I would bet­ter reflect Christ. It occurred to me that this meant becom­ing a dif­fer­ent per­son. But wasn’t that what Chris­tian­i­ty was all about to begin with, becom­ing a new cre­ation in Christ?

Read More

No more faith: the whys and why nots of my deconversion.

December 31, 2014 22 Comments

It’s real­ly rather rare for peo­ple to ask me why I decon­vert­ed from Chris­tian­i­ty. Like, real­ly rare. It’s far more com­mon for them to assume they already know, whether they’re talk­ing to me while they’re express­ing this assump­tion or not. How­ev­er, in a sin­gle week, I’ve had two sep­a­rate unaf­fil­i­at­ed peo­ple ask me a vari­a­tion of the same ques­tion about the role fun­da­men­tal­ism had in my decon­ver­sion. Of course, I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure this out for myself on a less-spe­cif­ic scale for the bet­ter part of two years, though much of it has been in my own head. Per­haps it’s time for me to work out of my thoughts here with you.

Read More

Black lives matter.

December 24, 2014 1 Comment
Read More

Introspection: the impact of religion on personality.

December 11, 2014 10 Comments

When I first took the Myers-Brig­gs per­son­al­i­ty test, still thor­ough­ly embed­ded in the fun­da­men­tal­ist Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion of my youth, I scored as an INTJ, rather than an INFJ. In ret­ro­spect, it’s no won­der I skewed more heav­i­ly to Think­ing rather than Feel­ing, since I was taught to fear and dis­trust feel­ings. Feel­ings were often con­sid­ered sin­ful, bring­ing guilt and shame, where­as Log­ic (Accord­ing to the Word of God) was holy and true, bring­ing sta­bil­i­ty (sup­pos­ed­ly). I didn’t under­stand that divorc­ing feel­ings from think­ing the way I had been taught to do was utter­ly dam­ag­ing both to myself and oth­ers, not to men­tion rip­ping con­ver­sa­tion­al rhetoric out of its con­text and real­i­ty.

The thing is, I could nev­er total­ly erad­i­cate my Feel­ings.

Read More

Online as in person: basic etiquette, boundaries, & choosing your own team.

November 26, 2014 1 Comment

With the advent of social media, I’ve found that such inter­ac­tions are no longer rel­e­gat­ed to hol­i­days and reunions, but are now part of our every­day dig­i­tal lives. What sur­pris­es me more often than not, though, is the atti­tude with which peo­ple approach social media. In recent days alone, I’ve heard that block­ing some­one on social media is nar­row-mind­ed, pri­vate walls are pub­lic forums where all opin­ions ought to have equal air time, and online inter­ac­tions aren’t <em>real</em><em> life</em> so every­one needs to just calm down. Per­haps I’m a bit a biased, con­sid­er­ing the sheer num­ber of friends I’ve made through online-only inter­ac­tions, but in my expe­ri­ence and from my obser­va­tions, <strong>online life <em>is</em> real life.</strong> It’s an unavoid­able part of life in the 21st cen­tu­ry, and it amazes me that some seem to think online inter­ac­tions sud­den­ly stop hav­ing mean­ing because they’re hap­pen­ing on a screen rather than face to face. It’s as if being phys­i­cal­ly removed from a per­son gives one license to ignore bound­aries and assume a far clos­er rela­tion­ship to peo­ple than actu­al­ly exists. This sort of thing is incred­i­bly famil­iar to me, hav­ing spent 25+ years in <a href=“http://www.patheos.com/blogs/excommunications/2014/11/i-belong-to-me/” target=“_blank” rel=“noopener noreferrer”>a cul­ture that total­ly ignores bound­aries and consent</a> in per­son (let alone online). This fur­ther solid­i­fies in my mind that the same basic eti­quette you ought to show to some­one in per­son is how you should treat peo­ple online.

Read More

Online as in person: basic etiquette, boundaries, & choosing your own team.

November 26, 2014 1 Comment

With the advent of social media, I’ve found that such inter­ac­tions are no longer rel­e­gat­ed to hol­i­days and reunions, but are now part of our every­day dig­i­tal lives. What sur­pris­es me more often than not, though, is the atti­tude with which peo­ple approach social media. In recent days alone, I’ve heard that block­ing some­one on social media is nar­row-mind­ed, pri­vate walls are pub­lic forums where all opin­ions ought to have equal air time, and online inter­ac­tions aren’t real life so every­one needs to just calm down.

Per­haps I’m a bit a biased, con­sid­er­ing the sheer num­ber of friends I’ve made through online-only inter­ac­tions, but in my expe­ri­ence and from my obser­va­tions, online life is real life. It’s an unavoid­able part of life in the 21st cen­tu­ry, and it amazes me that some seem to think online inter­ac­tions sud­den­ly stop hav­ing mean­ing because they’re hap­pen­ing on a screen rather than face to face. It’s as if being phys­i­cal­ly removed from a per­son gives one license to ignore bound­aries and assume a far clos­er rela­tion­ship to peo­ple than actu­al­ly exists.

This sort of thing is incred­i­bly famil­iar to me, hav­ing spent 25+ years in a cul­ture that total­ly ignores bound­aries and con­sent in per­son (let alone online). This fur­ther solid­i­fies in my mind that the same basic eti­quette you ought to show to some­one in per­son is how you should treat peo­ple online.

Read More

I belong to me: learning agency & consent outside Christianity.

November 15, 2014 28 Comments

<p>By and large, Chris­tian­i­ty as a sys­tem in the West­ern world teach­es peo­ple to run rip-shod over the bound­aries of those with­in and with­out their camps under the guise of love.<sup><a href=“http://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessindixie/2014/10/15/your-love-is-toxic/” target=“_blank” rel=“noopener noreferrer”>25</a></sup> The con­sent of its mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike isn&rsquo;t required, as clear­ly demon­strat­ed by the past almost 28 years of my exis­tence. And that&rsquo;s a <i>massive</i> prob­lem, enabling (and at times <i>commanding</i>) the manip­u­la­tion, mis­treat­ment, and abuse of count­less people.</p> <p><b>In fact, I&rsquo;d say one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Chris­tian­i­ty today is that it has a con­sent problem.</b></p>

Read More

I belong to me: learning agency & consent outside Christianity.

November 15, 2014 28 Comments

By and large, Chris­tian­i­ty as a sys­tem in the West­ern world teach­es peo­ple to run rip-shod over the bound­aries of those with­in and with­out their camps under the guise of love.25 The con­sent of its mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike isn’t required, as clear­ly demon­strat­ed by the past almost 28 years of my exis­tence. And that’s a mas­sive prob­lem, enabling (and at times com­mand­ing) the manip­u­la­tion, mis­treat­ment, and abuse of count­less peo­ple.

In fact, I’d say one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Chris­tian­i­ty today is that it has a con­sent prob­lem.

Read More

Lessons Learned at the Fortress of Faith: Part 3

August 25, 2014 0 Comments

As I’ve stat­ed before, Bob Jones Uni­ver­si­ty habit­u­al­ly cre­at­ed spir­i­tu­al moun­tains out of cir­cum­stan­tial mole­hills. We were to strive for per­fec­tion in every aspect of life, and any­thing less than that was an offense to God and the admin­is­tra­tion.

There’s a say­ing from the founder of the school…well, I mean, there’s hon­est­ly a bajil­lion say­ings from the founder of the school. They’re so revered that they are lit­er­al­ly engraved in plaques in every class­room across cam­pus, and you can even buy a book filled with his quips of wis­dom. But one say­ing in par­tic­u­lar was quot­ed quite a bit when I was there: “It is nev­er right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” On the sur­face, and espe­cial­ly when I very first arrived on cam­pus, I agreed with this 100%.

Again, I’m faced with the dif­fi­cul­ty of explain­ing a sub­cul­ture when some of my audi­ence has nev­er expe­ri­enced it, and some of it may think there’s noth­ing wrong with it. It’s dif­fi­cult to know where to begin or how to explain things that I intu­itive­ly learned through var­i­ous cir­cum­stances, oth­er than to talk about the var­i­ous cir­cum­stances that taught me that some­times, it’s good and right to do “wrong.”

Read More