Ursula Schneider: Leader, Seeker, Artist, Woman

Artists, Autonomy, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s guest is artist Ursula Schneider. As a child, neither her charismatic church nor her unstable home were safe for her. There was a lot of mental illness at home and Ursula often felt abandoned by the church. Their family was simply “too much.” 

“I look back and everything is so clear about why it went the way it went, but as a child you don’t understand…”

Ursula grew up, married young and began going to church again. As an adult, she needed something real to her. She saw that something in the women at church, so she dove right in—daily prayer, bible studies, women’s retreats, all of it.

“I guess what I believed was that, if I did enough of the things that I was being told to do, the feeling would follow…”

But Ursula kept bumping up against a certain church doctrine: women cannot teach men. She was a gifted leader and teacher but church after church kept her out of the pulpit.

“That is literally what you get told: ‘You’re listening to the doctrine of demons if you think it’s okay for you as a woman to be able to teach men.’”

At the last church she attended, Ursula faced the greatest challenge yet to her faith. Over the span of a few months, she and her husband went from being well-respected leaders to losing their entire community.  

Ursula went through a depressive state and cried out to God, but no answer came. Over the next few years, Ursula would make beautiful art, write for herself and continue to question her religious beliefs.

“What happens when you start to question some of these closely held doctrines…is that things really do start to unravel.”

Since leaving, Ursula has dabbled in other faiths, wondering if any will fit her. Nothing has yet, but she is learning and growing as a whole person. She no longer has to squash part of herself or silence her own curiosity. 

“…as I go through life, and I try on new ideas, each of them has something to offer me that’s valuable.”

Ursula’s art and writing empower others to exist as their whole selves in the world and to see beauty and inspiration in the world around them. 

Ursula Schneider art exhibition through May 25th 2022, at D&R Art Gallery and Studio in Tucson, AZ.

My story is, I suppose, the story of a sincere seeker who, it turns out, is actually a huge threat to the organization of the church structure. Silly me, I thought the church was the place to be a seeker, but it turns out that they don’t want seekers, they want adherents. I was never a very good adherent in hindsight. But I gave my whole life to the church because I misunderstood that reality and in return, the church did its level best to silence me completely.

Links

Website
https://www.ursulaschneider.art/

Personal FaceBook
https://www.facebook.com/ursula.d.schneider/

Business facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ursulaschneiderart

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/ursula_schneider_art/

People can also email me at ursulaschneiderart@gmail.com

Interact

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

Andrew Pledger: Religious Trauma Awareness

Adverse Religious Experiences, Autonomy, Deconstruction, ExVangelical, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

CW Mental health and depression

This week’s guest is Andrew Pledger. Andrew has spent nearly his entire life in the Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Church—where the KJV rules and women do not. 

Andrew was homeschooled K-12 with a mildly white Christian nationalist curriculum, no sex education and no diverse friendships.

“If you’re not subjected to different worldviews and ideas, how can you even think critically about your own?”

For years, Andrew’s mental health suffered, but there were no resources for him. He was told that he wasn’t “reading the Bible enough” and “needed to get closer to God.”

“I was very emotionally dependent on those religious rituals…bible reading, praying, confessing…it has that emotional release because you believe that it’s really doing something.”

In college, Andrew knew he needed professional help but at a fundamentalist Christian college, there was only “biblical counseling”. The first two years were excruciating. Eventually, however, with a little community and a lot of research, Andrew took his mental health into his own hands. 

“It was really the first time I started listening to…and trusting myself.”

He started asking difficult questions about the Bible, and it was not long before the foundations began to crumble. 

“Is the Bible actually inerrant? Is it perfect? Are the stories original? Is this really inspired by God?”

Since leaving Christianity, Andrew has lived out secular grace. He is spreading awareness about toxic religion and working toward becoming a religious trauma therapist. His personal experience of freedom compels him to help others find the same freedom. 

“Trauma is a horrible cycle that needs to be stopped. We really need to do what we can…”

Links

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/

Josh Harris Interview
https://www.instagram.com/tv/Ca–9vFAxqs/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Photo Series
https://www.instagram.com/4ndrewpledger/guide/religious-trauma-photo-series/17999363926411608/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Website
https://4ndrewpledger.mypixieset.com

Link aggregator
https://liinks.co/4ndrewpledger

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

Phil Quagliariello: PK, IFB, Emergent church and Insurrection

Bloggers, Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Hell Anxiety, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Phil Quagliariello who blogs at Phil Q Musings. Phil grew up moving around often as PK in Independent Fundamentalist Baptist Churches and attending Christian schools even into college. Unfortunately, he saw the dark side of ministry when his father was removed from a church by its board for being too “new fangled.”

Phil eventually found himself in Calvary Chapel churches. They were were more exegetical, more focused on the Bible. He married and they both were worship leaders. Phil led worship for the service in which he was introduced to the idea of the “Emergent Church.” His marriage did not last, and Phil found himself seeking a church experience that was more authentic and “did not suck.” He found a faith community that met in the basement of a bar, and at first, it was satisfying.

Phil remarried a woman with two children. These children and the children they have together became the light of his life. When he became a father, he began to recognize the trauma of his upbringing: the fear of punishment and the fear of Hell. He focused on being parent who does not use fear as a weapon.

Phil began to seriously doubt Evangelicalism during the 2016 election. But he still hung on to the church experience until the Jan 6th insurrection when he could no longer call himself an Evangelical, a Christian or even a believer.

Phil has a particularly thoughtful answer to how he finds meaning in his life now.

Phil Q Musings Blog
https://philqmusings.wordpress.com/

Interact

Ginna’s Episode
https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/10/10/ginna-deconversion-anonymous/

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

Jack Robertson: Deconversion Story

Deconversion, ExVangelical, LGBTQ+, Podcast, Podcasters, Purity Culture, Religious Trauma
Jack and Higgins
Jack and Higgins
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Jack Robertson, host of the Musings of an ADD Mind podcast. He grew up with a deeply evangelical Southern Baptist mother, always going to church. As a teenager, he became decidedly religious himself until a confidant revealed a secret. They let the entire youth group know that he was having sex with his girlfriend. He then stopped attending church for a while.

Late in his 30’s, Jack became heavily involved in an Oklahoma City based megachurch. He read through the bible three times, but Jack always had questions.

“In the Exodus story god is the bad guy, not Pharaoh. If man was created in god’s image, then wicked pre-flood people that were so evil [that] he needed to destroy the world, would be a reflection of him.”

Jack asks himself now: Did I really believe or was it my ADD hyper-focus on Christianity that kept me in for so long?

After a friend asked him to pray about a job interview, it hit him, “How would god decide? Go with whoever had the most friends pray? The person whose friends prayed the most? Use a prayer version of a ‘comment winner generator’?”

Later, during a deep dive into Mesopotamian history, Jack realized it was all just stories.

“It is weird that history cemented my deconversion, but I guess that’s just me.”

Lastly, the results of the 2016 US election and his son coming out as bi-sexual finalized his decision. He could no longer believe.

Links

Website
https://www.podpage.com/musings-of-an-add-mind/

Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/musngsofanaddmind/

Interact

Deconversion Anonymous Facebook group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

Jon Steingard
https://gracefulatheist.com/2021/01/03/jon-steingard-the-wonder-and-the-mystery-of-being/

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

Emily: Deconversion Anonymous

Deconstruction, Deconversion, Deconversion Anonymous, ExVangelical, Hell Anxiety, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Emily. Emily grew up in an Evangelical Free Church in the rural Midwest. She was on the Cubbies-Sparks-AWANA track. Around age 10, Her dad switched careers, went into ministry and she became a pastor’s kid. Her early childhood church experiences were fairly positive, but from a young age, she struggled with a severe fear of hell and the rapture.

The youth group setting was horribly unsuited to a sensitive introvert like Emily. She was miserable, being forced to attend churches where she didn’t know anyone except her parents. This discomfort in Christian circles continued into college.

After college, Emily spent a year in London working on a master’s degree. She immersed myself in the city’s amazing performing arts scene and met a lot of people with totally different backgrounds and beliefs to hers. That year expanded her horizons; when she moved back to the US, she pursued a career in performing arts administration.

For the first few years after grad school, Emily wasn’t ready to reject everything, saying she didn’t believe in God. However, she had no interest in going to church, praying, reading the Bible, etc. Then the 2016 election happened. She watched with horror as Christians whom she loved and admired went all-in for Trump. At that point, she wanted nothing more to do with Christianity.

[The White Evangelical embrace of Trump] turned my indifference that I had had towards Christianity into a feeling of disgust.
I want nothing to do with this.
I was so disillusioned and just repelled by it.

In the past 2-3 years Emily has really done the hard work of figuring out what she believes now and addressing the harm that her Christian background has caused. Emily has had to work through the baggage of purity culture as she is in her first long term relationship.

Therapy with a focus on religious trauma has been helpful; Emily is discovering who she is–relishing the arts and experiencing the joy of being a human being.

I’m so much happier now that I’ve left Christianity. As someone with a deep appreciation of the arts, I’ve found so much joy in embracing the beauty that humans create – music, theater, literature, etc. – without the need to glorify God as the source of inspiration. I love being able to navigate relationships and shape my life on my own terms, rather than trying to fit into the prescribed narrative that evangelical Christianity boxes people into. I also like sleeping in on Sundays!

Interact

We are very excited to announce the new private Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group. The group will be administered by Arline from episode 71. Please join us in building a community of graceful human beings.

Deconversion Anonymous Facebook Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/deconversion

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

Thanks to Logan Thomas for the new Graceful Atheist Podcast art work

Geoffrey Wallis: A Voice From Inside

Adverse Religious Experiences, Authors, Book Review, Captive Organization, Deconstruction, Deconversion, High Demand Religious Group, Jehovah's Witnesses, Podcast, Religious Abuse, Religious Trauma, The Bubble
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Geoffrey Wallis, author of A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization. Geoffrey is Physically In but Mentally Out (PIMO) of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. After recognizing the religious trauma and the cognitive dissonance he was experiencing he found help through therapy. He remains within the Watchtower organization because it is a “captive organization” which enforces shunning by family members and friends.

Geoffrey’s book, A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization, is an evenhanded look at life inside a High Demand Religious Group. Geoffrey shows Secular Grace in his documenting his personal experience. It is incredibly well written and interesting to read.

Links

A Voice From Inside: Notes on Religious Trauma in a Captive Organization
https://amzn.to/3BRvmjv

Website
https://www.wallisbooks.com/

I Got Out
http://www.igotout.org/

Interact

Nominate and Vote for the Graceful Atheist Podcast on the Podcast Awards
https://www.podcastawards.com/app/nominations

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

Thomas: Deconversion Anonymous

Atheism, Critique of Apologetics, Deconversion, Podcast, Religious Trauma, Secular Grace, secular grief
Listen on Apple Podcasts

This week’s show is a Deconversion Anonymous episode.

My guest this week is Thomas. Thomas is a Missionary Kid. He was very close to his mother who passed away in her 40s when he was in middle school.

There were all these other people there [his mom’s funeral] talking about her being in a better place, but I knew she was just gone.

There is nothing else.

Thomas went through real depression for years after losing his mother and losing his faith. We discuss the hardships of grieving a loved one without comforting beliefs. He went through bouts of self-medication including being immersed in the massively multi-player online game, World of Warcraft.

It all just seems like symbols for human metaphors and common experience.

Thomas went on to become a professional scientist. The meditative nature of running was helpful. He also discovered actual meditation gave him peace. A rich and varied diet of podcasts also helped him along the way. He says he now experiences real joy that was only promised to him as a Christian.

Thomas’ Recommendations

Akira the Don, created a genre of music called Meaningwave, lofi hip-hop with themed lecture content made musical. On Spotify and YouTube, with some songs having full visuals.


Interact

Nominate and Vote for the Graceful Atheist Podcast on the Podcast Awards
https://www.podcastawards.com/app/nominations

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

Vanessa: Post-Traumatic Church Disorder

Adverse Religious Experiences, Agnosticism, Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Philosophy, Podcast, Religious Trauma
Listen on Apple Podcasts

One of the most difficult things about deconstruction, deconversion, etc. is feeling alone. It’s terrifying not only to go through a full blown metaphysical and existential crisis, but to do so knowing that the people who are supposed to love you the most can’t or won’t accept you as they once did. 

My guest this week is Vanessa. She describes herself as “born into a large family of fire and brimstone preaching, bible beating, in-tongues-speaking Christians in the Pentecostal Church of God faith tradition.” Her father, her grandfather, and her great grandfather all were pastors of her home church.

My full break from faith came in the form of rage when it hit me that I’d never had parents – I’d only had pastors.

She began to doubt at a fairly young age and discovered she no longer believed in god in her college years.

As a non-believer she married her believing husband. Recently being unequally yoked has become a discussion point as they negotiate how to raise their daughter. Vanessa is grateful she can be present for her daughter in a way she did not receive when she was young.

We discuss unequally yoked marriage, secular parenting and post-traumatic church syndrome.

Interact

Nominate and vote for the podcast
https://www.podcastawards.com/app/nominations

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

Additional music
Dakar Flow – Carmen María and Edu Espinal

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Reverend Bones: Escape From Heaven

Atheism, Deconstruction, Deconversion, ExVangelical, Humanism, Podcast, Purity Culture, Religious Trauma
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

My guest this week is Michael, AKA Reverend Bones. Michael is an Australian singer/song writer whose latest album Escape From Heaven is about his faith transition out of Evangelicalism.

Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll?
I only did one.

Michael talks openly and honestly about how purity culture affected him and the religious trauma it produced.

I entered a period of 18 months or so of really profound depression which verged on suicidal ideation. One of the things with Christianity, I call it the Nihilism Nazgul …

Michael is now a climate activist and anti-purity culture activist. Michael uses his TicTok presence to speak out on these topics as well as the need for separation of church and state.

Links

Website
https://www.reverendbones.com/

TikTok
https://www.tiktok.com/@reverend_bones

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/reverend_bones

Spotify

Interact

If you are interested in producing music for the Graceful Atheist Podcast, the sound I am looking for has a strong baseline and beat with gospel church organ, potentially with R&B or Gospel vocal samples. Here is a playlist to inspire you to Gospel R&B Beats. Get in touch.

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

Music by Reverend Bones from Escape From Heaven

“Waves” track written and produced by Makaih Beats

Caroline Schwabe: My Beautiful Cyborg

Deconstruction, Podcast, Podcasters, Religious Trauma, Secular Grace, Spirituality
Click to play episode on anchor.fm
Listen on Apple Podcasts

I begin every streaming interview with a question, “hi, can you hear me?” Never has an affirmative answer to such a mundane question been so profound as it was with this week’s guest, Caroline Schwabe. Caroline had progressive hearing loss and eventually could no longer speak on the phone even with hearing aids. Almost by accident, she was referred to a Cochlear implant program in Canada during a routine hearing test. January 28, 2018, was her last deaf day. She has been on a three-year journey of rediscovery after receiving a Cochlear implant.

I’m deaf-not-deaf.

Along with her husband, Andreas, Caroline co-hosts a podcast called My Beautify Cyborg about her Cochlear implant journey. It describes the hopes and fears leading up to surgery and the joy and rediscovery after turning on the implant. Caroline’s gratitude and joy is infectious and comes through in each episode.

Caroline and Andreas had experienced major disappointments and hurts from the Church. At the same time she was going through the implant process, both she and her husband were slowly leaving the Church. If not a full blown deconstruction, they have been asking very hard questions and wrestling with the answers. This episode is unique in that there are two parallel stories: one of regaining hearing and one of questioning one’s faith.

Podcasts have played an out sized role in Caroline’s rediscovery of hearing and language recognition, including this one.

Links

My Beautiful Cyborg
https://mybeautifulcyborg.com/

Links for Cochlear implant information
https://mybeautifulcyborg.com/links/

Interact

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