Today’s show is a Deconversion (not so) Anonymous episode. In these episodes, people like you who have gone through a faith transition can tell your story either anonymously or in all your glory. It is your choice. If you would like to tell your faith transition story anonymously or otherwise get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or @GracefulAtheist on Twitter.
On today’s episode, Amanda Holloway is on the show. Amanda is months into her deconversion. Things began to unravel watching the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during the Kavanaugh hearings. This brought up her #MeToo past and she bravely reached out for help in a time of crisis. Ultimately this process led to her deconversion. She tells her story with exceptional honesty and forthrightness. She describes finally being accepted for who she is and continues to discover things about herself without the constraints of Christianity.
This episode deals with serious adult topics including sexual abuse, childhood neglect and thoughts of suicide. Please plan accordingly.
Have you noticed on this side of faith, you cannot escape references to meditation? I have to admit I am a bit of a skeptic when it comes to mediation. So I decided to have my friend and colleague, Andrew McLeod, on the podcast to help me understand what the practice of insight meditation is all about.
Andrew McLeod has been practicing meditation for 20 years, he has been on multiple silent retreats and he has had the unfortunate task of trying to teach me meditation.
Andrew makes compelling arguments for the usefulness of insight mediation. It helps one become more accepting of oneself and not mired by emotional reactions. It encourages one to live in the moment. It helps jump start loving kindness for others.
On today’s episode I am finally getting the opportunity to discuss the topic I am most interested in: Humanism or what I call Secular Grace. It is ultimately about answering the question, “how do we live life well post deconversion?” Rather than looking backwards, it is looking forward to learning to thrive as a human being.
My guest today is Jim Palmer. Jim is an ordained minister, receiving his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Divinity School in Chicago. After serving several years as the Senior Pastor of a non-denominational church, Jim left professional ministerial life on a quest for more authentic spirituality and has authored five books about his journey. In addition to writing, speaking and his spiritual direction practice, Jim is an adjunct professor in the areas of Ethics and Comparative Religion. He is the Co-Founder of the Nashville Humanist Association and is a certified Humanist Chaplain with the American Humanist Association.
On today’s episode, my guest is Matt Cook from Toronto Canada. Matt was a former evangelical missionary to Pakistan and a preacher who lost his faith about six years ago. Matt is not your typical deconvert. He calls himself religious but not spiritual. Several years after deconversion, Matt chose to live a year “Christianly.” During that year he prayed, he read the bible daily, he went to church and practiced other spiritual disciplines. Although, it did not change his mind he has found continued value in these disciplines and practices some of them to this day.
In the show we discuss the possibility of becoming a humanist chaplain (or celebrant or officiant), if you are interested in exploring that role or if you are looking for a humanist celebrant to officiate a wedding, dedication or funeral find the humanist organization for your country. In the US, it is the American Humanist Society. In Canada, it is Humanist Canada. Wikipedia lists more organizations.