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About daxjansen

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    Reading, writing, but not arithmetic.
  • More About Me
    Ex-Christian for less than a year. Former long term member of church leadership.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. older: I agree that in many cases it would be pointless and perhaps harmful to be out. But I've spent so much of my life hiding behind masks as a Christian. I want to be able to engage honestly in conversations. And, unlike people who live down South, my city is mostly unchurched. I have enough secular people in my life (which includes a large percentage of family) that if all the Christians I know decided to disown me, I would still have a terrific support network in my life. I also feel like I will be eventually forced to out myself and I would rather do it at my own speed and own terms.
  2. Thanks for clarifying, GuyGone. Decades of having guys preach at me and not listen to what I'm saying....it's made me a bit twitchy.
  3. Thanks for the warm welcome, the good points, and the kind words! I have been out of church for a year and a half, and fully deconverted for more than six months. I live in a small enough city and work at a job that means I run into people from my old church on a regular basis. I just saw one of the elders (who I want NOTHING to do with) for a millisecond this afternoon at work, even. I almost feel like the longer I put this stuff off, the more the tension is building... rather than just getting it over with. But, maybe I'm wrong.
  4. Has anyone here ever gone to a church AFTER deconverting to try to create some sort of exposure therapy situation? I come from a cult-ish church and even seeing church stuff in movies is difficult. Nearly puked the other day when I heard part of a familiar worship song. I am wondering if going to a nice, mellow, accepting, non-judgmental church in town will help temper that reaction, because I hate having reactions like that. Maybe if I hear these songs sung by nice people I know are not controlling and abusive, it will shift those memories and triggers, for instance. It would be large enough that I can sit in the back with little-to-no interaction with others, and a place where I can go and then quit with no pressure or guilt from the church people. I am wondering, too, if it might be useful to come out gradually to my christian friends while I am still in church. It will eliminate the whole argument saying that I only left God because my old church was shitty.
  5. Thanks, Margee! GuyGone: The username is "daxjansen". I'm not exactly sure where you get the idea that I am unreasonably expecting anyone to quickly come to the same conclusion I did, when I specifically stated, "If they stay Christians, that's fine". As I tried to explain, my hope is to keep an open connection between my friends and I so we can have deep conversations. Perhaps you are not meaning to come across as patronizing, but that's how it feels.
  6. Well, I don't see it as my "job", but that is not what I meant. To clarify, I know that fear will often strengthen someone's confirmation bias and dissonance. If they start to fear deception, this may shut down their willingness to talk and question and look honestly at their faith, keeping them further trapped in ignorance. This may create a situation where they avoid any depth in conversations with me. Very much so. Which is why I am so cautious to provoke any backfire effect in people. I want to coax them into openness and dialog. To undo some of the lies I helped implant in their minds. If they stay Christians, that's fine... I just want to dismantle the culture that fears questions. As for doubting, I technically did have people to turn to, but I felt instinctively that they weren't the right ones -- that I was not to trust them with my questions. Watching others try to question them proved my instincts were correct.
  7. First post! Here are my answers to your questions: I allowed myself to get far too busy with ministry to take the time to address any concerns or questions that arose. This went on for years. There reached a point where my pastor was talking about drawing a line in the sand for the leadership team over a minor grey area issue, and I disagreed with him. Because I knew he was going to be forcing the issue, I sat down and searched the bible to determine exactly where I stood and why. The bible showed the pastor to be wrong. This situation started me acknowledging that it was probably not an isolated thing for this pastor. Meanwhile, my husband hit a big, crisis-level question in his faith, and I had no substantial answers for him. This launched me into facing the full realization that I had no real answers to far too many questions. I decided at that point to stop attending church, and face these questions head on. My search for the truth only led into a frustrating quagmire of history and controversy. Why would God allow his church to become so horrifically fractured over the centuries -- from the beginning, even? Who was right? They couldn’t all be right. I got sick of it all after a while (this was compounded by the explosion of leaving-church drama). I took a bit of a break from doctrinal searching and just tried to sort out a new life outside of what I came to realize had been a consuming, cult-ish church environment. I was able to embrace aloud many liberal views I had kept hidden from my pastors (believing in evolution, marriage equality, etc). My subsequent reading and watching on some of these topics continued to further distance me from the conservative worldview my former church held. I was learning so much and there came a new passion to understand the world around me without limitations of what someone else said was appropriate or what would cause me to “fall into deception.” I watched evolution vs young earth creationism debates and was sickened by how pathetic the voices of Christianity could be. For some time, I still thought I was a believer. I saw my process as dismantling the lies and abusive doctrines of my past, seeking freedom in a God that was higher than everything else. At some point, though, I realized I never prayed and didn’t actually care about God or Christ. They had faded to symbols. I started asking myself if I even believed in God anymore, and it occurred to me that I did not and likely had not for quite some time. It was a light-headed, heart-pounding moment when I first stated out loud to myself: “I am an agnostic.” I did not fear hell or grieve a loss of faith -- I was just in shock that I had become what I never expected to become. It was a core existential shift that left me dizzy. I don’t think I was ever disappointed or angry with God. Certainly much anger directed at people. Guilt and shame for taking so long to do this. I’ve wasted decades in church and my life is behind where it should be. So much catching up to do. I had not been feeling God much for years leading up to this, but I blamed myself -- I wasn’t the best at daily devotions and if I could get better at that, I would be stronger in my faith. I had some experiences in the past that had been powerful at the time, but looking back I can easily explain most of it psychologically. I saw, too, that some of the “gifts of the spirit” I operated in and attributed to God were actually just skills I posses. Other things that would be more difficult to explain could be coincidence and childhood hallucination -- both far more plausible explanations than the supernatural causes. The hardest emotional part about leaving has been trying to navigate how to discuss all of this with friends who are Christians. I live in a very secular city, work in a secular job, and much of my family and inlaws are secular. But all those years in church mean that we have some close Christian friends. I don’t want to reinforce their fears that questioning will lead to apostasy. And, I don’t want to be witnessed to. The hardest part in terms of effort is all the playing-catch-up with life and learning, and the unpacking of a lifetime of indoctrination to figure out what the fuck my opinions are on anything and everything.
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