We had a significant first at Patheos this morning. At least it hasn’t happened before to my knowledge. One of our bloggers converted.
Conversion is always a big deal. It’s a huge personal transformation, and despite the story of Saul on the road, conversion doesn’t happen in a flash but is a long process. Converting isn’t easy, and those undergoing such a conversion need all the support they can get.
So one of our fabulous atheist bloggers, Leah Libresco, has converted to Catholicism. She writes about the turning point in her post this morning:
I believed that the Moral Law wasn’t just a Platonic truth, abstract and distant. It turns out I actually believed it was some kind of Person, as well as Truth. And there was one religion that seemed like the most promising way to reach back to that living Truth. I asked my friend what he suggest we do now, and we prayed the night office of the Liturgy of the Hours together (I’ve kept up with that since). Then I suggested hugs and playing Mumford and Sons really, really loudly.
After I changed my mind, I decided to take a little time to make sure I really believed what I thought I believed, before telling my friends, family, and, now, all of you. That left me with the question of what to do about my atheism blog. My solution was to just not write anything I disagreed with. Enough of my friends had accused me of writing in a crypto-Catholic style that I figured no one would notice if I were actually crypto-Catholic for a month and a half (i.e. everything from “Upon this ROC…” on) . That means you already have a bit of a preview of what has and hasn’t changed. I’m still confused about the Church’s teachings on homosexuality, I still need to do a lot of work to accept gifts graciously, and I still love steam engines.
I find it fascinating that Patheos is able to support Leah in her transition. Knowing my colleagues, I’m certain that instead of consternation over losing an atheist blogger they offered suport and understanding. They introduced her to Elizabeth Scalia, who warmly welcomed her and gently helped her come up with a plan for transitioning her blog from one section to another. I am curious how her header image will change and will follow her posts to see how her spiritual transformation is coming along.
Leah may be the first, but in a site as big as Patheos I feel pretty confident she will not be the last. After all, a surprising number of our writers are already converts. Every Pagan writer except for Eric Scott is a convert. Return to Rome is written by a convert, and Carl McColman was a Druid before becoming entranced by monastic mysticism. Conversion happens, and when your faith and spirituality are hanging out in public as a religious writer, conversion can suck. Luckily, Leah is only leaving her atheism behind and gets to keep her blog and it’s prescient title.
I am impressed this morning by the ability of Patheos to embrace writers undergoing a conversion. It was not something I had ever considered before, but now I know I will need to keep in mind that one day I may be surprised to find one of the Pagan bloggers converts to another faith, and I will need to let them go with love. Or a staunch Christian blogger may discover the Goddess and I will need to graciously make room for them to explore Paganism. Our community here is dynamic and we are bearing witness to that this morning. I wish Leah much joy and spiritual fulfillment in her transition.
In the weird way of the universe, I had been thinking about conversion before I read Leah’s announcement this morning. My crisis of faith/Saturn’s Return fallout/spiritual breakdown has evolved into the process of conversion. Rest easy, it’s all taking place firmly under the “Pagan Umbrella” (although Cara Schulz might disagree with me) but it’s still a significant change. I have grieved and mourned what I am leaving behind, and now I’m in the scary process of moving forward in my new path. I have spoken to very few people about it, and I’m not yet ready to discuss it on this blog. You’ll have to stay tuned for a bit longer to find out where my practice is taking me.
Reading Leah’s post this morning reminds me also of how my views regarding Patheos have changed. I used to have these lists and worry that I didn’t have enough Druids or enough GLBTQI folks or enough Wiccans. Now I just focus on having great writers. The liberating thing about that focus is that if one of my Druid bloggers becomes Heathen, then it doesn’t mess up some arbitrary system I have put in place.
So here’s to being dynamic and embracing change! Life just keeps on changing and it’s good to be able to adapt, respond and grow!