“Hello, fellow ex-Christian!” I stared at the words written on my Facebook wall. My first thought was, “Holy shit!” and my second thought was “Holy shit!” I’m just kidding. My second thought was, “my mother has just become my friend on Facebook and she is going to read this comment,“ which could actually be loosely interpreted as, “Holy shit!” Somehow, she didn’t and evidently neither did anybody else. I breathed a sigh of relief. The comment had come from a friend, Bill, that is an ex-Christian/pastor. I call him my anti-pastor. I had read some of his blogs and so we had become friends on Facebook. He didn’t purposely out me and was apologetic. It did get me thinking though. I mean, I did want to stop living a lie (see I Hereby Resolve…Sort of…) and in some way, I was hoping some of my old Christian friends had seen it, but no such luck, although, I did start to consider that Facebook might be a good way to “out” myself, but when it came down to it, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. However, as fate and my lack of Facebook savvy would have it, it finally happened. If you aren’t familiar with Facebook, there are many groups you can join. One day I was checking out these groups and I happened upon two that interested me: Non-disillusioned Non-believers and Free Thinkers. I joined both. What harm could there be in that? I didn’t know that the news I had joined these groups would be proudly announced on my profile page. This time, the information would not be overlooked.
The next time I logged on to Facebook, I saw the announcement and right below it was the first of many comments from an old Christian friend: “And what does this mean for you Barbara?” I sat for a moment…it’s now or never I thought, and so I commented back. “It means that I no longer embrace fundamentalist Christianity,” which of course led to the next obvious question: Do I embrace any type of Christianity, to which I answered, “no.” There, it was done and of course not all my Christian friends saw the interchange, which became long and detailed, but enough of them did and as those who have been in the Christian community know, news like that travels like wildfire. I believe that the leadership position I had held, while a Christian, fanned those flames–not in a gossipy way, more like a love-filled, spiritually concern for my poor pitifully lost soul, which was in danger of burning in hell, but by the grace of God, theirs isn’t, kind of way–of course. One of my Christian friends, that has actually remained my friend, thought I was thinking I was more important to these women than I truly was, until she received an email invitation to gather and pray for their “wayward sister” who had evidently “walked away from the Lord.” At first I thought it was funny until I saw how many women the email had been sent to, many woman that I didn’t even know, and the email encouraged them to forward to others as they deemed necessary. That did piss me off a little. I’m over it now. There is so much more I could tell you: what all the responses have been, how I responded, how my parents have dealt with this revelation, (excuse the pun) and how things are now, etc. I will write about that in the coming weeks, but for now, I will say this: It feels as good as I thought it would to come out with my de-conversion. It has also been more heart wrenching, at times, than I thought it would be, but all in all, I am glad to be out with it. It gets easier and easier every day. As a matter of fact, just last month I sent a message to an old Christian friend inviting her to take a PE class with me at the college for the summer. I closed by saying, “that is if you don’t mind hanging out with a pagan.” She responded by saying she would love to and then said, “Is hanging out with a pagan a bad thing? LOL.” I admit that she is not the norm, but just let me confidently say this: There is no better life than one that is lived openly and honestly. Trust me on this one.
Next up: “A Christian Burial” (subject to change at the writer’s whim)