The Mountain Missionary

While traveling through this great land for the holidays, I stopped at a gas station in southern Tennessee to refuel and purchase the requisite snacks and 5-Hour Energy to artificially sustain my waning alertness.  The lines for the gas pumps were 2 and 3 cars deep and the store was packed with people.  On my way out a short man in the 55-65 demographic looked me straight in the eye and said “Good afternoon, sir.”  I’ve seen the look and heard this type of delivery many times before, thinking it would be followed with a story of loss and subsequent need.

If you have spent any time in the hills of Tennessee or Kentucky, the people have a certain look and way about them and this gentleman fit that description perfectly.  His thick country accent native to this region, his worn jeans, boots, and jean jacket, his weathered face, his trucker-style hat sitting proudly and lightly atop his head, and his kind and polite approach were a testament to his origins.  In other words, he appeared to be a local. Continue reading

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Music For The Deconverting

I haven’t posted in awhile due to such a busy schedule.  I apologize to the 5 or 6 people a week that read my blog for not getting out more material 😄.   But almost everyday I come across another idea or topic to write about so I hope to do more in the next few months.

So, to today’s topic….music that made a significant impact on me while I was deconverting.  Could anyone really live, I mean really live without music?  I love it.  When I’m low, it’s there for me.  When I’m high, it takes me higher.

You always run the risk of alienating people when listing music you enjoy, kind of like talking about religion.  But I’m doing it anyway.

Although I’m a product of the 80’s, my taste has varied while leaning more towards heavy rock.  I can enjoy a Beatles, Rolling Stones, or Patsy Cline from the 60’s, Boston or the Commodores from the 70’s, The Cars, Tears for Fear, or Cult song from the 80’s, a Soundgarden, REM, or Dwight Yokum song from the 90’s, Eminem and POD from the 00’s, and I can’t help but enjoy Adele and bounce my head to Taylor Swift when my wife or kids put it on in the car…say what you want…her songs are damn catchy.

But there have been certain songs that made a significant impact on me as I struggled with doubt and the failure of faith.  In no particular order, here we go….

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My Salvation Experience

After growing up in the church and being the son of a pastor, I became a full member of Christianity at the age of 13.  This is the recounting of that day 32 years ago and is an excerpt from my de-conversion letter.  Enjoy.

The pastor giving the sermon that day in our Christian School chapel service was a family friend, my dad’s pastor, and the man who would officiate my wedding 9 years later.  He presented the gospel message we had all heard so many times. 

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What Christians Think When Someone Leaves the Faith

The following contains excerpts from my de-conversion letter.  The damn thing is so long I’m sure many people who find this blog won’t read it all.  So I thought I would post portions of it that cover specific topics.

Having been a Christian for decades, I did occasionally hear of an old friend of mine who left the faith.  I couldn’t help but feel sadness and concern for them.  More commonly I would hear that someone’s life had gone off the rails.  The immediate assumption was that they had “fallen away” or “back-slidden”.     So I know what goes through the head of a Christian and why. 

Based on my own experience and the experiences of others, the following is a description of what I expected to encounter as people found out about my apostasy.  Enjoy…. Continue reading

My Marriage, Post-Christianity

If you’ve read my blog you know that I continue to attend a nondenominational evangelical church with my wife and kids.  It’s the latest breed of evangelical Christianity with smoke machines, light show, multimedia presentations, and passionate musicians sporting plaid shirts, skinny jeans, and emo hair.  I enjoy a good concert as much as anyone, but in this setting it smacks of trying too hard and carries a tinge of desperation.  Some people I have interacted with online have questioned how I can continue to attend church.  The simple answer is family unity and the love I have for my wife and kids.

My wife and I continue to have a great relationship despite my non-belief and I don’t feel it necessary at this time to push it any further than I already have.  For my situation, it is the right thing for right now.  Jesus is no longer number one in my life.  My wife has taken that spot.  If she wants to continue to attend church and feels it meets a need for her I will support her.

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Support for ex-Pastors

i had the pleasure to briefly connect with a member of The Clergy Project recently on Twitter  (see description at end of blog if you are not already familiar with The Clergy Project).  If you are on Twitter in the atheist/agnostic circles, it is likely you have also done so without even knowing it.  This quick post is a direct request to do what you can to help former women and men of the clergy when they come out as non believers, both with encouragement and monetary support.  This will only make the transition easier for them and those that follow in their footsteps.  
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6 Predictions for Evangelical Christianity in the Next 5 Years

Greg Forster, a Christian author and commentator, recently provided this list in an article on the Patheos/Mission:Work site.  I took It upon myself to correct him where necessary.  So it took awhile.  The article is predictably overly-optimistic and ignores almost all current data on social trends and beliefs.  I guess I wasn’t surprised.  After spending over 30 years as an evangelical, I know their optimism stems from their belief that Jesus is returning soon.  So while it may get bad in the short term, it will always turn out best for the believer.  Mr. Forster surprisingly doesn’t invoke Jesus here as most evangelicals would, but the thought process is nontheless the same.  Enjoy.
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