When I first “came out” as an atheist in Mississippi, the reception was not warm. In fact, it was sufficiently scandalous that more people didn’t talk about it than did. Just last night, in fact, I spent an entertaining evening with a family I’ve known for a while but who to this day has no idea I’m no longer a Christian. Apparently no one told them. I was there for a birthday party, and I spent a good chunk of the night listening to diatribes about the president, liberals, neighbors who complain about cannon fire, and whether or not the New Testament was originally written in Aramaic (don’t ask). My Facebook friends enjoyed a blow-by-blow chronicling of the evening, which made my sides hurt to read back over. I’ll just summarize it to say that, in Mississippi, if you drive as little as twenty minutes out from the city you will be treated to a culture you thought only existed in books and in bad Hollywood stereotypes.
But where I live you don’t have to leave the city to feel surrounded by religion. So needless to say, when I first came out I needed a lot of support (still do, really). Pretty early on, I received help from secularist organizations like the American Humanist Association (in the form of legal advice) and Recovering from Religion (for moral support and encouragement) and both have gotten me through some rough patches. They both reached out to me at a time when I needed help, and I remain deeply appreciative of all they do for people like me.That’s why I’m happy to announce that Recovering from Religion has started a new blog on Patheos!
Ex-Communications (clever name, right?) is a blog for people “recovering from religion” and it’s a team blog featuring several writers with plenty to say about what it’s like coming out of a very religious background. Contributors will include Sarah Morehead, Teresa MacBain, Nathan Phelps, Justin Vollmar, Captain Cassidy, Kiran Opal, and myself (more about each of us here, and for the record, I didn’t select the pictures). If you like the stuff I talk about on my blog, you should be sure to follow the XCom blog as well to hear each of us talk about how we’ve processed our own journeys out of our respective religious traditions. Speaking for myself, I’m looking forward to seeing what this group has to say, and I’m happy to see them on Patheos!