Matt: Deconversion of a Missionary

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, Dones, ExVangelical, Missionary, Podcast, Secular Community
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Matthew. Matthew grew up in the Pentacostal tradition and went from being a youth leader in high school to a full-time international missionary as an adult. He had all the right answers to all the important questions. 

The missionary life, however, didn’t turn out as he’d expected. He and his team did everything in their power to tell people about Jesus but nothing supernatural was happening. Year after year, “the hiddenness of God” became too much for Matthew. 

It hasn’t been easy for Matthew to arrive where he is now—living a freer life, not having to have all the answers, not having to wait for the supernatural to happen. He loves the people closest to him, enjoys his friends and acquaintances without judgment, and those small things are what can slowly change the world.

Tweet-worth Quotes

“For a long time, I was doing mental gymnastics to make things work…”

“I was asking everybody, ‘How do you know?!’ And all of the answers were so unsatisfying.” 

“I’m trying really hard [to communicate clearly with my kids] and I’m not able. But God, by definition, is able but doesn’t seem to be trying very hard.” 

Recommendations

YouTube

Religion for Breakfast
https://www.youtube.com/c/ReligionForBreakfast

Digital Hammurabi
https://www.youtube.com/c/DigitalHammurabi

Esoterica
https://www.youtube.com/c/ESOTERICAchannel

Paulogia
https://www.youtube.com/c/Paulogia

Organizations

The Clergy Project
https://clergyproject.org/

Books

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

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Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Drew: Community and Consciousness

Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Community
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Drew. Drew grew up as a Missionary Kid and has traveled to nearly every continent and all across the United States. Drew spent years of his life evangelizing and serving others through construction, farming and carpentry. 

Drew has since left mainstream evangelicalism, with its exclusivity and supremacy culture, but he is still using the tools he developed. He and his family serve their local community right in the Bible Belt with a market, concerts, a community center and so much more!

Humans don’t need a supernatural being to come to our rescue. We need one another. We need each other’s abilities and companionship. Drew and his family are changing the future by building intentional community right where they are.  

Quotes

“Everybody who doesn’t know Christ is going to hell? That didn’t sit right with me from a very early age…”

“I was growing more and more uncertain about my certainty.”

“Here was someone I knew…and here they’d had this radical transformation that didn’t involve Jesus at all.”

“I had a lot of hope for this [Christian community], that they were a group of people who had avoided the exclusivist issues within Christianity and were able to do the ‘love your neighbor’ thing.”

“…supremacy thinking is endemic. It’s part of the whole thing.”

“This gigantic ship of Christianity—it’s going down. You can rearrange the deck chairs, but it’s sinking.”

Recommendations

  • Rumi
  • Hafiz
  • Voices of Deconversion Podcast

Links

NOTE: Not an endorsement

The Perch
https://www.theperchcomer.com/

Rupert Spira Podcast Episode 47: The Weekend University
https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rupert-spira-podcast/id1494564673?i=1000571203239

Interact

Graceful Atheist YouTube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/c/GracefulAtheist

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Adria: Racism in the missionary field

Atheism, Autonomy, Deconstruction, Deconversion, Humanism, Podcast, Race
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Adria. Adria is a sociologist working in international development. Adria grew up in various multiethnic churches but each one seemed to worship whiteness more than Jesus. By the end of college, Adria was done. Years later, in atheist spaces, she would find racism to be just as prevalent. 

Her experience with the Christian missionaries showed her the inequity that must exist for missionary work to thrive. In the last decade she has since seen that Western nations continue missionary work; only as evangelists for “neoliberal economic systems” rather than the gospel.

Adria’s understanding of supremacy culture’s effects on humanity is invaluable to any community—church, atheist or global—working toward a more equitable world. She truly is a model of graceful atheism. 

We discuss international development, missionary work, economics, equity, racism, atheism, black non-believers and much more.

Recommendations

Organizations

Black Non-Believers
https://blacknonbelievers.org/

Books

Black Non-believing authors
https://the-orbit.net/blackskeptics/2012/09/11/books-by-black-atheists/

Tweet-Worthy Quotes

“The same reason that white women have less money than white men is the reason why black people have less money than white people. It is the system created for whiteness and white maleness.”

“We were really evangelists for this neoliberal economic system.”

“…my ascent into atheism.”

“It would mean seeing other countries, other entities, as equal, and that’s not the case right now.”

“…equity: Everyone does not get the same things because everybody does not have the same endowments.”

“I went to general atheist events…it was amusing but it definitely wasn’t welcoming.”

“That [evangelism] turned me off. Imagine how much what I do turns other people off.”

“The Church is just the world. It’s just people.”

Interact

Catch me on former guest, Robert People’s, Affinis Humanity, Instagram live Thursday August 4th at 5 PM EDT
https://www.instagram.com/affinishumanity/

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Photo By James Barry – http://www.treaty2u.govt.nz/images/impact-main-1.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12666818

Jenny McGrath: Embodied Sexuality

Adverse Religious Experiences, Autonomy, Podcast, Purity Culture
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Jenny McGrath. Jenny is a licensed mental health counselor, a somatic psychotherapist, and a movement educator specializing in religious trauma and sexual abuse. She believes “in the power of story and the wisdom of the body.”

Jenny’s work stems partly from her evangelical upbringing in Colorado Springs. She was steeped in the world of purity culture. Her work also comes from a broad understanding of the history of purity culture—women’s disembodiment, trauma, gender erasure, systemic racism and more. 

Jenny guides and support others in their journeys to liberation and hope after years of harm and trauma. She is truly living out secular grace! 

Tweet-Worthy Quotes

“A lot of times in psychology, we’re looked at as though we are ‘floating heads’…that’s not enough. We are deeply embodied beings.”

“I really wanted to be good…and I dedicated myself to it.”

“…started to unpack more of the systems—white supremacy and Christian supremacy—and how they impact the body.”

“…these insidious messages: Your body is dangerous. You are dangerous. Cover it up.”

“[Purity culture] for young women is this crazy-making experience. You are completely sexualized while being told, ‘Don’t be sexual.’”

“Young white women are really taught to be objects of sexuality. We aren’t taught to be subjects of sexuality.”

“I always view healing not as just individual, but I think especially as white-bodied folks, our healing needs to also look at how we’ve also been complicit in systems of harm.”

Links

Counseling website
https://www.indwellcounseling.com/

Embodied Sexuality Course
https://www.indwellmovement.com/embodied-sexuality

Purity Culture Research Collective
https://puritycultureresearchcollective.com/

Recommendations

Podcasts

Straight White American Jesus podcast
https://straightwhiteamericanjesus.com/

Books

The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti

Virgin Nation by Sara Moslener

Shameless by Nadia Bolz Weber (progressive Christian perspective)

#AmzonPaidLinks

Interact

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Deconstruction
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/#deconstruction

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Arline Interviews B

Agnosticism, Autonomy, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, Purity Culture, Secular Community
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is B. B grew up homeschooled in a large evangelical household and spent nearly thirty years in the church, determined to fit in.  He felt like leaving for a while, never having belonged, and then in 2016, he knew it was the end for him. He hit the door running. 

One of the most destructive forces within his Christian upbringing was Purity Culture. Since deconverting, he’s learned that he isn’t alone when it comes to loving yourself and exerting your autonomy. B’s story is one of great evolution and freedom.

Tweet-Worthy Quotes

“…I thought, It’s real to everyone around me. It should be real to me. I need to keep trying. If it’s not real to me, then something’s wrong with me.

“I had been edging towards the door, and 2016 got me walking full-speed towards the door.”

“…consciously making that choice to say, ‘I’m not going back. I’m done.’…it was the biggest relief.”

“Now I feel free not to care. Is there a god? I don’t know, but more importantly to me, I don’t really care.”

“I sat down and looked at that picture and thought, I really like this picture. That was a whole new feeling. I had never felt that way.”

Podcast Recommendation

Go Home, Bible. You’re Drunk
https://www.irreverent.fm/show/go-home-bible-youre-drunk/

Links

B’s Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/happyinmyownskin/

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Bob Barnes: BAHACon 2022

Agnosticism, Atheism, Dones, Humanism, Podcast
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Bob Barnes. Bob is a lifelong atheist and an organizer with BAHA, Bluewater Atheists, Humanists & Agnostics. BAHA “is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the image of Freethinkers and Atheists and to give back to our communities.” 

BAHA is hosting its annual conference, BAHACon, with speakers and events you won’t want to miss! August 26 – 28th, 2022 in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.

Links

BAHACon
https://bahacon.com

Bluewater Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics
https://bluewateraha.com/

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Paul Is Done

Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Spirituality
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

After years in the mission field and in pastoral ministry Paul is done. Paul is Deb’s (last week’s guest) husband.

Deb’s episode
https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/06/26/deb-is-done/

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Deb is Done

Agnosticism, Autonomy, Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Purity Culture, Spirituality
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Deb. Deb “asked Jesus into her heart” at six years old and remained a devoted follower of Jesus for decades. She married her high school sweetheart, started a family and found herself living the missionary life on the continent of Africa.

As the years passed, Deb’s faith was tested—praying and watching children die on two continents, her husband pointlessly fired from their church, meeting different types of Christians and the reading of diverse books. Deb had more and more questions about her lifelong faith.

Today, Deb’s spirituality is one that stays curious and open to new thing, no longer holding tightly to any one creed. Her story is a beautiful one filled with compassion and love and a desire to meet people wherever they are. She is truly living out secular grace. 

Deb’s husband, Paul, tells his story.
https://gracefulatheist.com/2022/07/03/paul-is-done/

Tweet-worthy quotes

“I just knew the more we prayed, the likelihood of God answering was higher.”

“That’s what we needed. We needed to get kicked out of the church to begin being more honest with our doubts and our questions.”

“After sixty years of feeling like I have to go [to church] every time the doors are open, it was just amazing—the release that was!”

“…it’s so important to be curious and to be a lifelong learner. That’s my purpose for living, to just be a learner.”

“I want to be a lifelong learner. I’m seventy-one. I want to learn. I want to be teachable…and curious. That’s really my desire for the last years of my life.”

Recommendations

Podcasts
Youtube

Tara Brach’s guided meditations

Books

Brian McLaren’s Books

#PaidAmazonLinks

Brian McLaren’s Books

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Ruby Gets Real

Agnosticism, Bloggers, Deconstruction, Dones, ExVangelical, Podcast, Secular Grace
Click to play episode on Apple Podcasts
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is Ruby. Ruby is an author, blogger and YouTuber, living her journey out loud for the benefit of her followers. Lutheran to her core, Ruby spent her life committed to the institution of the Church. It took multiple heartbreaks and difficulties in life before she began to wonder, “Is any of this true? Is any of this real?” 

She threw out the formal church experience first. Then, through her impressive consumption of non-fiction books, she was able to be rid of the Bible and finally Jesus. 

Now, Ruby’s life is all about love and kindness toward her fellow human beings. As far as supernatural beliefs, she looks to “the flow,” of the Universe. She’s able to define god in her own terms and her life—and the lives around her—are better for it.

Quotes

“Confirmation was a social experiment for me.”

“I found that [enacting my faith] was what this was about…It’s always been about people.”

The Shack…was pivotal in my journey because all of a sudden, God doesn’t have balls.”

“If [all the Old Testament people] aren’t real, then what happens with Jesus?”

“People matter.”

“Love blossoms in the manure of my life.”

Links

Poetry
https://thepreciouspoet.blogspot.com/

What do I believe?
https://thepreciouspoet.blogspot.com/p/what-do-i-believe-may-7-2022.html

Book blog and recommendations
https://rubygetsreal.blogspot.com/

Atheistic Lent
https://authenticlent.blogspot.com/

Interact

Post on satisfaction
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/01/19/i-still-havent-found-what-im-looking-for/

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Arline, Marissa and Raven

Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, Purity Culture, Race, Spirituality
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Community manager, Arline, guest hosts. This week’s guests are a couple of fabulous black women who’ve come a long way in their journeys away from white evangelicalism. They’ve known one another for over a decade and their conversation is both information and so much fun. 

Marissa grew up in church and loved it as a kid. As a college student, however, she found herself in a ministry that was a little bit “culty.” And then as an adult she watched all the white friends she’d served alongside fall for a new savior, Donald Trump. 

Raven grew up in a “culturally Christian” home but dove head-first into campus ministry in college. By 2012, when George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin, she began to see whiteness, not Jesus, as the true god of people she’d known for years. 

Marissa and Raven are currently in different spiritual places but neither can go back to the Christianity they knew as young adults. Their lives are freer and fuller than they’ve ever been before, and they see that it is good. 

Tweet-worthy Quotes

“Trump was the second Jesus to them.”

“Christians are ‘pro-life,’ and I wasn’t seeing that. I wasn’t seeing the grace and generosity extended to people who looked like me.”

“I feel like I’m on a path to enlightenment…What feels good to the soul? What is good for the soul? What is good for other people?”

Recommendations 

Books
#PaidAmazonLinks

Interact

Join the Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group!

Deconversion
https://gracefulatheist.com/2017/12/03/deconversion-how-to/

Secular Grace
https://gracefulatheist.com/2016/10/21/secular-grace/

Support the podcast
Via Anchor.fm and Stripe
Via Paypal: paypal.me/gracefulatheist

Podchaser - Graceful Atheist Podcast

Attribution

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats