About Vanessa Gomez Brake

Vanessa Gomez Brake is the guest editor of NonProphet Status. She does interfaith work on the Stanford campus, and is passionate about building humanist community. Currently, she serves as Co-President of the San Francisco Bay Area Humanists. Vanessa is a Filipina - American, by way of Arizona and Guam. She currently resides in Oakland, California. She is a vegetarian, folk dancer & musician, ping pong champion, dog lover, and bicycling nerd.

On Engaging Atheists on College Campuses – An Interview with a Sikh/Hindu Interfaith Activist

Meet Tahil Sharma.Although Tahil and I have worked together on the North American Interfaith Network for over a year now, we had yet to meet in person until last month, when we attended the Parliament of World Religions conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. As we sat down for langar each day, I came to learn of his inspiring interfaith work on his university campus, as well as his perspective on working across the religious/non-religious divide. And thus we have arrived here on Non Prophet … [Read more...]

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Indeed, There Is Still a Gaping, Atheist-Shaped Hole in the Interfaith Movement

A few years ago, I read an article by Rory Fenton, and adamantly disagreed with his assessment that atheists were missing from the interfaith movement.  After all, I was a living example of the contrary. At the time, I was employed at an interfaith seminary in Berkeley, where it was not unusual for atheists to be enrolled. I was 1 of 2 atheists serving on the Board of Directors at the Interfaith Center at the Presidio in San Francisco.  Around that same time, I was regularly invited to ‘preach’ a … [Read more...]

#ISTANDWITHAHMED & So Should You

In the last few days, its no doubt you’ve heard the story of Ahmed Mohamed. The 14 year old boy who was arrested at his school in Texas for bringing a homemade clock with him to class that day. He was proud of his creation and wanted to share it with his engineering teacher. Instead, he was detained for bringing a bomb on campus.  Naturally, the story blew up on social media because of its sheer ridiculousness. Some people asked, 'how is it that children at a banned open carry protest can walk wi … [Read more...]

Faithfully Feminist – Why Women Stay With Their Religious Communities

The book, Faithfully Feminist – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Feminists on Why We Stay, will be available for purchase later this summer. It features essays by 45 contributors from Abrahamic religious traditions. "Why do you stay?” It is a common question women are asked in relation to their faith. These are not women who buy into Candace Cameron’s biblically submissive theory; rather, these are women who claim a feminist identity, have membership in a particular religious tradition, and practi … [Read more...]

A Note on Dealing with Death & Dying, Trauma & Tragedy

At a recent workshop on ‘Trauma in Everyday Life,’ a psychologist spoke about big ‘T’ and little ‘t’ trauma. Big ‘T’ trauma is what we commonly refer to when speaking of serious accidents, war, death, etc. In its most severe form, big ‘T’ trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress. On the other hand, little ‘t’ trauma refers to the everyday violence we encounter, such as being teased, losing a pet or a job, being picked last in a group activity, receiving negative comments on a blog. While such exp … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Avoid Being a Jerk in the Workplace

Jerks --- we all know at least one person we’d describe as such. Because we have to deal with their ish from time to time, I thought I’d compile a short list of ways all of us can avoid becoming one of them. Using the context of my past workplace experiences, I will offer some anecdotal examples to tie in recent research from Stanford, Yale and the University of Southern California. Having been consistently employed since my early teenage years, I have quite a bit of work experiences to draw upon … [Read more...]

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San Francisco LGBTQI Pride: A Humanist Reflection

If you are anything like me,  last Friday's SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality completely overwhelmed you. Tears of joy were present with me throughout the day. Since not all NonProphet Status readers live in a city quite like San Francisco, where Pride is celebrated in a very major way, I thought I'd take this opportunity to share a few photos from my weekend.  Every year, the secular communities of the San Francisco Bay Area come together to march as a large contingent in the LGBTQI Pride p … [Read more...]

A Reason to Celebrate: An Incomplete List of Not-So-Holy Days

For some reason, when I first became an atheist, I began distancing myself from rites of passage, celebrations of life or anything that resembled religious ritual. Early on, my atheism took the form of rebelling against the dominant Christian norms that prevail here in the U.S. It was my way of living into my new label of choice. My phase of ‘opting out’ did not last long however, as I began to see the very real necessity of celebration.What is life without the joyous acknowledgement of this … [Read more...]

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