My good friend Ian has two podcasts out on how he moved from Christianity to atheism. It is powerful and honest stuff (find it here http://voicesofdeconversion.com/home/ . His name is Ian Redfearn and the podcasts are 34 and 35- I get a lovely tribute at around 31:30 on number 35).
My friendship with him has often caused me to question things that I believe. I can often hear his voice in my head if I preach or prepare to preach. I can hear him if I slip into ‘Christianese’ or get too far into the Christian ghetto.
I was listening to his story and reflected that although lots of his friends sent him books when he ‘deconverted’ or tried to argue him out of it, I don’t think I ever did. I’m not always good at this, but I try to keep at the forefront of my mind something that a minister once wrote (I’ve slightly adapted this) ‘You tell me your beautiful names for God/Life and I’ll tell you mine’. It removes the alpha male aggression from apologetics and it is really lovely to experience. Also influential to me is the idea that you listen to someone so closely that you run the risk of being won over by them.
It has got me thinking, because there are parallels between his story and mine of leaving and loss; what still sustains me and how could I talk about it in a way that anyone could read (I’ve read enough angry Christian blogs or ones that just preach to the crowd)?
One thing in particular struck me when I heard him talk (and these are my words, not his); he referred to that sense of panic when he had left organised religion: how do I live and what do I do as I can’t see any models for where I am. I experienced something of the same sense myself: how do I live- what do I do?
What I’m hoping to do for a while is talk about some of the stuff that keeps me going in this new place that I find myself.
To be continued…