As I write this, I have a specific song bouncing around my head. The specific version of it I’m humming is one made famous by a kid’s movie, for crying out loud: Rascal Flats – Life is a Highway. Kid’s movie or no, this song never fails to make me smile and feel gives me that little woosh of happy. To be fair, though, this song came to me today for less than happy reasons. Earlier this week I wrote about my current location on the Deconversion Highway and how I arrived here. I, perhaps naïvely, thought that my points might inspire honest conversation and a little debate. I underestimated the heat that my words would bring.
Today, I would like to do two things. The first is to say thank you. To be clear, the response to my post was not all bad; in fact it wasn’t even mostly bad, and would like to sincerely thank those who responded positively to it with comments on this site and with Facebook “likes” and such. Those of you who took time to simply hit a button on a website encouraged me greatly and I appreciate it. I would also like to thank those of you who were less positive. Your criticism has pushed me to think seriously about my “convictions” and about whether wading into this world of discussing heavy issues and opening myself to criticism online is right for me. I have decided that it is more important to go on, telling my story, dealing with difficult issues, thinking through problematic ideas so that those who are travelling the same road as me know they are not alone.
Second, I would like to make this point clear for those of you who may not have read some of my other posts or, perhaps, misunderstand my motivations for writing. I am on a journey. I grew up in the Deep South, Southern Baptist, Bible-worshipping world. I was on my way to becoming a college professor in that world. But over the last few years I have realized the untenable nature of those former beliefs. There was no “aha!” moment. There was a dedicated study of church history, church practice, and biblical interpretation that led to a gradual erosion of my faith. Not a single episode, not a short season, but a long process of unravelling that puts me where I am now. It’s not that I have been on a journey; I am still on that journey. I am not a believer! Maybe read that last sentence again if you still see some trace of Churchianity in me that has you triggered. But I am also not so dedicated to another faith (or utter lack thereof) that I cannot respond emotionally and critically to the scenery that I pass along the way.
If my writing has triggered you, I have a couple of suggestions. One, ask yourself why this has affected you to the point of being rude and throwing away civility to a person who is, essentially, on your same team. Two, if my thoughts offend you, perhaps my blog is not for you and I’m fine with that. If you don’t like it, simply don’t read it! Third, shouting down someone who is on a journey to discover truth is terribly unconstructive. You won’t change my mind by being nasty and you may hurt those who are silently reading, finding comfort in their searching, and will be put off by your harshness. Wouldn’t it be counterproductive if being difficult to me about semantics or some finer point of interest that you don’t fully agree with drove someone back to the faith community because it feels safer there?
In the end, I don’t know if this post will make things better or worse. I suppose this may just be another stop on the journey and I will take something from it as I move on. You live, you learn! Wait, that’s a different song!
8 thoughts on “Where I Am in the Journey”
A) I am very glad that I found your blog
B) Personally, I find that I have the most in common with people who are on journeys, regardless of their journeys directions… as long as they are forging forward in thoughtful and sincerely reflective ways without losing their connections to where they have come from.
I completely adree! I’ve always had great conversations with people who have had greatly different points of view. The key is to try and see from their point of view and to stay civil. Being curious is also helpful. I may not agree with someone but I can only be better off by seeking to understand them more.
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I found this piece of your blog bc of recently joining fb’s Mental Health for Exvangelicals. Good work, and keep it up.
I have a question, but first a brief intro:
I recently finished my MA in Social Anthropology; my research focused on “Personal Journeys of Exploration Beyond Early Learned Faith Subcultures”,
essentially reasons for and the experience of – exiting one’s faith. (I grew up a Seventh-day Adventist missionary kid in India; educated in private Christian schools until grad school the first time, back in the 80s.)
Spring-boarding off of my research, I’m now pulling together an anthology of autobiographical chapters of exiting, by people from many different faith backgrounds, including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and many different flavors of Christianity.
You are clearly articulate in sharing your thoughts. If you don’t feel that your story has been thoroughly told, and fairly broadly disseminated, might you be interested in telling your story, your continuing journey, for possible inclusion in this anthology? If you might be, I could send you the writing prompt. My email is email@example.com
Take care, and continue the journey of exploration and growth in understanding.
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Thank you so much for the offer. I would be happy to be involved. I will send you a private email in a minute.
Following up on your possible inclusion in this anthology of religion-exiting experiences… It seems I never received a private email from you. Did I miss something? Did you change your mind? Or would you genuinely be interested? firstname.lastname@example.org
Sorry, I’m confused. I thought you received my story a while ago. Should I re-send?
Sorry. What name did you use when you sent it? Presuming you have it saved, could you simply send it again? Sorry and thanks.
Hope your holidays are good to you.