Supporting a Christian Friend

Last year, my friend Anne Jackson published a really neat book called Permission to Speak Freely. It was like PostSecret for Christians. She asked her blog readers to respond to the question: What is one thing you feel you can’t say in church? The responses poured in and I don’t think any atheist would be surprised by what they said:

I love the book because it shows that there are Christians in the pews who have the same thoughts which led some of us to become atheists.

It shows pastors that their congregations have serious doubts about what they hear in church.

For purely selfish reasons, it also shows that atheists might have our work cut out for us when it comes to convincing some Christians that we’re right about the whole “no God” thing.

Anyway, Anne wrote that book last year. (In case you’re wondering, yes, she’s still a Christian.)

She’s working on a different project now. One that’s very different and much more personal. It’s a collection of short stories, poetry, essays, photos, etc.

I wrote a book a few years back… I had the good fortune of getting an advance to write it, too. That allowed me to take a few months off of work to finish it without distraction.

Anne doesn’t have that luxury. She’s working a few different jobs at the moment and that doesn’t leave a lot of room for writing. So she’s asking for donations via Kickstarter in order to help her transition out of one of those jobs:

Before you complain, yes, I know she’s a Christian. (See everything I wrote above.) But Anne’s awesome and a great writer and that trumps my initial reaction to that label. Plus, she’s one of the few Christian writers I know who really gets where we’re coming from and why we are atheists. She doesn’t agree with us but she understands us.

Yesterday, I heard that some Christians — friends of hers — didn’t want to help her out (or ask others to) because asking strangers for help like this goes against what they stand for. (Who knows, maybe they expect Anne to ask God for help instead… because, you know, Kickstarter as the work of the devil.)

Most of the project is already funded, but I think it’d be kind of awesome if atheists (rather than Christians) pitched in in $5 increments to help her cross the finish line :)

I realize supporting Anne isn’t quite the same thing as supporting someone like Damon Fowler, so spare me that criticism. If you don’t want to help out, I *totally* understand. But if you think her project is worthwhile and you want to help a fantastic writer do what she does best, feel free to donate. That’s all.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Tenley

    Gah, I know what it’s like to have sought help, only to be smacked with an ‘ask Jesus’ answer. When i was a christian, I saw this as a test I was always failing. I like your idea, though I unfortunately have no money to spare at the moment. I love how liberal she is about her faith, reminds me of my catholic brother that has said he can understand my views, though we disagree. We should definetely encourage these type of Christians…it makes us all better people!

    • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

      thanks for the kind words and love. i think mutual understanding & respect is not common enough in the christian world, and i know i have a lot to learn and grasp. i also know there are times when i have wondered about god’s existence, my own faith, etc. even as recent as last year. having faith isn’t easy whether it has to do with believing a god or not. 

      • http://twitter.com/gordongoblin Gordon

        I’m confused. If, as Hemant says, you get where we are coming from and why we are atheists, and you’ve had doubts as recent as the last year… why not walk away? Faith isn’t easy because you are always having to shore it up.

        I’m glad someone is there trying to make christianity better from the inside, but I’m more glad every time someone leaves religion for good.

        I guess what I’m asking is: what is it you think we are missing that makes it worth staying christian?

        • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

          I don’t think you’re missing anything. I just know for me, I have seen things I cannot attribute to anything but a higher power, and for me, that’s the God from Scripture. There is joy where there shouldn’t be, and growth in darkness, and everything is very paradoxical. The western culture has neutered the original texts and historic art of “religion” that was actually lived during the times of Jesus – the caring for those with needs, and simply living an honest story…it’s not about church services or shows or how “good” you can be — if anything, the Bible says those things piss God off a little bit. :)

        • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

          I don’t think you’re missing anything. I just know for me, I have seen things I cannot attribute to anything but a higher power, and for me, that’s the God from Scripture. There is joy where there shouldn’t be, and growth in darkness, and everything is very paradoxical. The western culture has neutered the original texts and historic art of “religion” that was actually lived during the times of Jesus – the caring for those with needs, and simply living an honest story…it’s not about church services or shows or how “good” you can be — if anything, the Bible says those things piss God off a little bit. :)

        • Leo Buzalsky

          Should have known it would be “argument from ignorance”.  It’s not what we’re missing; it’s what she’s missing.  (Sounds like an “it’s not you; it’s me” claim, huh?)

  • Drew M.

    She seems like a great person and I want a copy of her eBook. Win-win.

    • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

      thanks so much drew!

  • Annie

    The next time someone comments that Hemant is not a friendly atheist, I think you should send them a link to this post.

    • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

      agreed :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/joequincy Jon Peterson

    I always wonder when someone tries to argue with a request for donations. You asked, it’s up to us to decide whether we want to comply. HOW IS THAT AN ISSUE.

    Thank you for being the friendly atheist. :)

    • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

      that is a very good point :) asking is one thing – it’s not like we hold a gun to your head. and yes, thanks, hemant for being  so friendly :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=15608799 Joshua Oxley

    I love the idea of people chipping in to help anyone pursue their dreams. Happy to back this- thanks for pointing Anne’s work out Hemant.

    • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

      Thanks for the support, Joshua.

  • Julian from Cologne

    What is all that ‘She’s a christian, but still…’-Stuff abot? Why do you even feel the need to defend yourself? Yeah, I am an atheist (or at least an agnostic) but does that mean I have to feel guilty for liking and respecting people who are not? Don’t do it… please…

    • Parse

      Hemant has previously gotten some grief for raising awareness/funds for ‘non-secular’ causes.  I read that as Hemant’s acknowledgment that some people will disagree simply because Anne’s religious, not that he feels bad about supporting her because of that fact. 

      • http://twitter.com/NackteElfe Juju Budkeson

        Ok, but it does leave a bad taste in my mouth. I can’t help but to feel it is discriminating to treat people differently just because of their belief. And we’re doing excactly that by pointing out that she’s a christian but still good.
        Would we like it if someone would say “Yeah, he’s an atheist, but not thaaat bad…”. (I admit that some people might say that but should we make the same mistakes?)

      • http://annejacksonwrites.com Anne Jackson

        He also helped when I went to Haiti after the earthquake. I love that we can have a mutual respect for what we believe, but I know when I’ve asked questions on his behalf, people get ticked — and evidently it is the same with when he speaks on my behalf.  C’est la vie.

  • http://twitter.com/DangerousTalk Staks Rosch

    I have an idea, maybe you can help other atheists to get published. I know at least a dozen atheist writers who do the self-publishing thing because they don’t know how to get published by a real publisher. Writing book proposals is difficult and finding a writing agent who will work with an atheist author is even harder. Sam Harris did a great blog post a few months ago which helped to get atheist writers moving in the right direction, but he didn’t go far enough. Maybe you could help.
    BTW, I have only seen your book in an actual book store once and it was in a discount bookstore. It would be great if non-atheists could see in on the bookshelves of their local bookstores too. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/RevOxley Matt Oxley

    I’ll probably end up contributing a small amount to this project…I want to review more of Anne’s work first though.   I think it’s great when anyone is willing to deal with the questions of the faith in an honest way, I think it’s even better when Christians do it.


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