Note: This post was originally on a now-defunct blog of mine, called faithedout. I closed that blog and imported all of the posts to this one.
What’s This Blog?
Some of us know what it’s like to reach out through the darkness at the end of a day, begin a habitual bedtime prayer, and for the first time admit that it’s been a long time since we’ve sensed anyone or anything there.
Some of us have burned with devotion for our particular theological construct, only to watch it irreparably crumble under the weight of reality.
Some of us are hiding our true thoughts and feelings from everyone, including ourselves.
Some of us would rather have a root canal than go (back) to church (and some of us keep doing it every week anyway).
Some of us have been badly bruised by religion. Some of us are tired of theological debates in any shape or form, and yet still drawn to pursue God, whoever or whatever or if-ever that may be.
Some of us are faithed out, and this is a place for us to talk about it, to “out” ourselves, to own both our faith and our doubts.
Only some of us are faithed out. Many – probably most – of the people in my life are confident and fairly certain about their particular take on faith. Many of them are evangelical or post-evangelical Christians, and some are non-religious. They are people I respect and love, and they inspire, encourage, and teach me, regardless of our agreement on any particular point. They are welcome here.
But I want to be very clear up front that this is not a place for those who feel certain about religion to try to convince the rest of us. I’m speaking to both believers and non-believers. There are plenty of other places for that to happen, and this is not one of them. Honesty and respectful debate are welcome here, but not propaganda or one-sided diatribes. This is a place to think out loud, not shout out loud.
This is a place for those who are worn out on religion, whatever their particular experience has been with it; but who still hope or at least consider that there may yet be some meaning, intelligence, information, being, presence . . . something – beyond, behind, within, underlying, throughout . . . somewhere . . . somehow.
How’s that for a defining statement?
Who’s This Blogger?
My name is Julia, and I grew up a conservative Christian, in independent fundamental Baptist (IFB) churches throughout the Eastern and Midwest United States. My father worked in various pastoral and Bible college positions, while my mother worked office jobs to help fill in the always-meager income of a husband in “full-time Christian ministry.” (Then she steeled herself for the yearly Mother’s Day sermon where she was reminded that truly godly women stayed at home with their children.)
So much about my life at home and in church and Christian schools was very good. I’m grateful for the positive values that were modeled for me, faithfulness to spouse and children being high on that list. I didn’t experience physical, verbal, or sexual abuse; compared with so many people, religious or not, my childhood was truly charmed.
I attended three different Christian colleges and graduated from the last one with a degree in music. I met my husband Nathan in a Bible study and married him in 1998. I’m a singer/songwriter and he’s an engineer and multi-instrumentalist who arranges, produces and records the music we make together. We have two school-age children. Over the course of our 14-year marriage, we have researched and discussed and changed our minds on all sorts of issues, including gender equality, political and economic ideologies, environmental issues, theology, evolution, and gay rights. We don’t agree about everything, but we share a common background in conservative Christianity and a common vision for “human flourishing.” Nathan holds onto a hope in the kingdom of God as ultimately redemptive of all creation, and I have my doubts. (I suppose he does too – they just surface more often for me.)
My adult life has largely been about healing from the major abuse I did suffer in my childhood – what some have labeled “spiritual abuse.” I learned early on that my destiny was in the hands of a “loving” but apparently capricious and violent God, one who loved me so much he killed his son for me (because my sin made me detestable in God’s sight, and only a perfect human sacrifice could appease God’s wrath); and that if I didn’t accept this “free gift” of the dead but risen son, I would suffer in torment in hell for all eternity. I learned that especially as a female, it was important for me to learn and follow the rules in whatever context I happened to be at the moment, to do my best to please everyone around me. I mostly succeeded at doing this, but discovered in my young adult years, especially early in my marriage, that I was miserable, afraid and ashamed of sex, and barely aware of my own personhood. I recognized that it could kill my marriage and maybe me if I continued to live this way.
For most of my life, I’ve held on to a belief in God. The past couple years, I’ve tried to hold my beliefs and ideas with a lighter grip, trusting that the best life will be found in the solid light of reality, not in complicated attempts to deny the plain truth. I am grateful for my current faith community (a small group that honors and draws from the Christian faith tradition), where I can be open with my doubts and questions, and where no one feels compelled to provide solutions or fix me.
I’ve endured some restless dark nights of the soul, but these days I am feeling more at peace with my loss of certainty about God and “eternal life,” and more inspired to live the life I have been given for all its worth. I am still amazed every day by the intensity of beauty and tragedy that exists everywhere life exists. Though I barely resemble the “believer” I was at one time, I often find the teachings of Jesus to resonate more deeply with me than they did in my days of religious fervor.
Some of my evolving faith-and-doubt journey can be traced through the “faith and doubt” blog posts at my other blog, juliabloom.wordpress.com.
Who Are You?
Now, tell us about you. And please, share this blog with others you think may be interested. It’s my hope that we can build a safe place here for conversation. Maybe your story has some commonalities with mine, maybe not (though I come from and know best the conservative Christian tradition, this blog is open to people from any – or no – faith tradition). Maybe you’re at a similar place in your journey, or maybe you’ve arrived at a very different place. It’s your story, and you are welcome here.
If you want to join in but are afraid of “going public,” feel free to make up names and email addresses when you submit comments. This “coming out” process is not easy, I know.
Of course, you’re welcome to simply read and keep your thoughts to yourself, if you prefer.
Peace to you. And thanks for visiting here.