My new place.

My new place. August 31, 2012

I’m standing on the porch holding a small cardboard box.  The wood beneath my shoes shows many signs of age and is neither painted or stained.  However, it’s a pleasant change from the overgrown grass creeping up over the walkway and giving the chiggers a springboard up to my calves.

The house itself is a pale yellow.  It strikes me as a little lopsided, so tilt my head a bit to check.  It’s slight, but it’s there.  The rusty mailbox next to the door still bears a stained piece of paper with the name “Libresco.”

There’s a note on the door from Bob Seidensticker.

I just wanted to welcome you as a fellow blogger in the Atheist bin here at Patheos!

I’ve not met Bob.  I need to fix that.  He’s apparently just a few houses down, so I’ll have to make it a point to swing by as soon as I’m settled.

I put the key in the lock, take a deep breath, and turn it.  I’ve already turned in the keys to my old place, so I’m hoping this one works.

The key does, in fact, turn.

The place is simple, no bells and whistles.  I slip my shoes off to feel the wood floors against my feet.  The paint on the walls looks almost like someone chucked it on with a bucket rather than a paint brush.  I trot up the stairs and peek out the window (which doesn’t have a screen) at the Friendly Atheist’s digs.  That fucker has a pool and a tree house.  But he’s a big name, I hear, and he’s been here for a while.  Besides, I really don’t need much to be happy.  This place is new and it’s mine; mine to build up to be whatever I want, and that thought gives me a tremendous smile.

I’ll hang a disco ball in the living room for starters.  I’ll bet he doesn’t have one of those.

Anyway, I guess I should introduce myself to everybody in the ‘hood, as it were.  I’m JT (or “J.T.” if you feel like doubling the amount of keystrokes to get your workout in.  Me?  I’m lazy as hell).  I’ve been an atheist activist for the majority of my adult life.  I believe human beings have a moral obligation to do their best to be reasonable.  I also think religion, particularly faith-based religions, tell people the opposite: that it is ok to be irrational.  Religion seems to be the only institution spreading that idea or, in the case of faiths like Christianity, spreading the idea that you must be irrational and believe ludicrous things (like someone rising from the dead) on faith or be punished for all eternity.  Insofar as unreason is my enemy, so too is religion.

As far as activist things I’ve done that’ve gotten a lot of attention go, when I was in college I co-founded and led what will likely be the largest atheist/skeptic convention in the USA this year, Skepticon.  Also, up until last week I was the high school organizer at the Secular Student Alliance.  I spent twenty months there and the number of high school groups quadrupled.  It was a very good time.  And up until today, I blogged at Freethoughtblogs, which still feels like my home.

I set down the cardboard box I’ve been carrying and start hanging up pictures of all my old friends; Jen McCreight, Greta Christina, PZ Myers, Ed Brayton, Ian Cromwell, Stephanie Zvan, Dan Fincke, Brianne Bilyeu, Ashley Miller…some of them used to be my heroes, but somewhere in the time I spent at Freethoughtblogs they became friends instead.  I don’t have any furniture, but hopefully the pictures will make this new house feel a little bit the same as my old one.

Anyway, I usually write about religion and how it sucks, so I guess the atheist portal is a good spot for me.  I also write about politics, gay rights, mental health (I’m a recovering anorexic and gave this talk at Skepticon last year), gaming, and whatever else is on my mind or pissing me off at the time.

Speaking of criticizing religion, I’m looking down the list of other residents and I see some familiar names…Elizabeth Scalia, Ben Witherington, and Timothy Dalrymple (Christina criticized the same post).  Awkward.  Ah well, I love awkward situations.  Seriously, I thrive in them.  So no worries there.

What else about me?  I’ve been an opera singer, and now do my best to be that guy who ruins karaoke for everyone else.

Here’s the vid of Poor Unfortunate Souls.

Here’s me with CASH in Minnesota a little inebriated, a little sick, and trying to sing.

Moar Josh Groban.

And now getting into Columbus karaoke outings.

I take requests and will often ask for them on the blog if I’m going out.

I’m a public speaker, and will be taking more speaking gigs now that I don’t have a full-time job.  Here’s a recent talk of mine.  There are more on youtube.

If I’m ever in your area, I will totally karaoke with your group.  My next one will be at Rose Hulman University next Saturday.  I’ll be speaking about atheism and morality.

I also have some contributors to this blog.  You can learn about them by clicking the contributors tab up at the top.  They rule!

What else about me?  Um…I’m honest.  Whether I’m saying that you suck or that you’re amazing, you can be sure I’m sincere and maintaining no pretense.  I think frank communication creates a better world, and that a lot of tact is expected just because we’re unaccustomed to honesty.  I am blunt because I care.  Also, the ninth commandment doesn’t mean shit to me, but my integrity does.

So…yeah.  Hi Patheos.  The door’s always open if you want to stop by.  In the words of Tim Minchin: it’s not perfect, but it’s mine.  🙂

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