The Updates Keep Rollin’ In

So I had to delete all the post about THE B**** WHO SHALL NOT BE NAMED (or TBWSNBN for short).  I can’t get into why and I’d prefer you not to speculate in the comment section.  I’ll repost those sometime in the future.

In other news…

My sister thinks you guys are awesome.  I was talking to her on the phone:

Sis: Oh my God, John!  I can’t believe all the people who comment and read your post.  They like, are not only supportive, but are actually trying to be really helpful.  WHO DOES THAT?!  They don’t even know you, they’ve never met you, probably never will…but they take time out of their day, EVERY DAY, to not only read about your life but then actually try to really help you.

Me: I know, right? Pretty fucking amazing

Sis:  Yeah like, I can’t even get people to help me at work. Like there’s a guy who’s six feet away from me and he won’t take 5 mins to throw a box away for me. “Oh, I’m busy”.  That’s all I hear everywhere “I’m busy, I’m busy” Nobody ever takes the time to help anybody ever.  And yet these people…they’re amazing.

Me: Yeah, pretty much.

In other news…

I was recently discovered on Facebook.  Like somebody sent me friend request, then a super cryptic message to see if I’m “John Jameson”

Friendly Facebook Stalker: So do the initials JJ, TCP, PNF mean anything to you? If they don’t then I’ve got the wrong person.

So I was drinking with Mark and I panicked. How the hell did she find me?

Well she told me.  And I’m not telling you how she found out, but girl got game.  But she did say this:  When she saw my profile picture she thought

FFS: Yeah, this guy kinda looks like he would say “fuck” a lot

I literally lol’d.  I burst out laughing.  Partly because everyone who knows me in real life would obviously disagree, but still.

Turns out she’s involved in a heavily religious community and she’s an atheist.  She’s pretty sure she going to have to get divorced.  I’m glad she found me.  But I’m not glad I can be found in a matter of hours..  She gave me tips on how to avoid being found by anyone else.  As a matter of fact she did this and did it as quickly as possible (still like 6 hours) just to help me stay anonymous.

Did you see that Sis?  Somebody spent hours on the computer trying to rescue me! I don’t know them, I may never meet them, but they are not too “busy”.

But FFS said the nicest things to me. Like, she has confirmed what so many of you have; my writing is actually helping people.  I am actually helping people by being open and honest.  Which leads me to my next point.

In other news…

I got an email from someone yesterday who said they found my blog THE DAY AFTER they became an atheist.  I’ve received multiple emails from closeted atheist pastors who say I’ve given them hope.  I may be outed soon.  And perhaps my online haters have already been working on cracking my code…but you know what? I don’t care.  This blog started with no readers and as a way to just write my feelings, but I give people hope?!  If i get outed either in person or on line, I’m just glad my sacrifice means something to someone.  I’m glad my story can actually change people’s lives.  I’m glad that Ive been able to reach down into the hearts of lonely isolated atheist and tell them… I don’t even know what I’m telling them?  And I am literally at this point yelling all these words in my head (I just don’t feel like assaulting you with all caps).

IF you have lost your faith.  If you are in danger of losing your family, job, friends, community.  If you are afraid to say the words, OUT LOUD, that you can’t believe anymore.  YOU ARE NOT ALONE.  WE ARE MANY.  WE ARE ALL SCARED.  THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOU!  You are the only sober person in a car full of drunks and NO BODY IS LETTING YOU FUCKING DRIVE!

FFS has proven that I have been exposed on line.  So if TBWSNBN doesn’t out me first, I’m sure the army of internet trolls will.  And if/when that happens, I won’t regret writing a single post or a single word on this blog.

You have helped me and I have helped you.  It has all been worth it.

In other news…

I’ve been contacted by a documentary film crew.  I might be interviewed by them to tell my story.  Particularly at this time of transition. I hope every pastor in the English speaking world sees it.

In other news…

I went inside the Clergy Project and told them I’ll be outed soon.  Either by myself or by the malicious people who have nothing better to do.  They might be able to help me.  They don’t have a lot of resources, but if we come up with something, will you help me?  That seems like a lot to ask of you.  I feel guilty even suggesting it.  And I am going to work my ass off so I don’t have to ask you.  But I want to be open and transparent with you.  I might need help, not so much for me but my family.

Thank you for reading and thank your for everything you do.  Thank you for being you.

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44 thoughts on “The Updates Keep Rollin’ In

  1. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but read the abbreviation for ‘Friendly Facebook Stalker’ as ‘For Fuck’s Sake’. I know that’s not how it’s intended, but my brain keeps doing it and it’s just funny to me.

    As for help, I’m going to reference back to one of your earlier posts about tapping into the resources of your church and asking one of the more affluent members for help. I know from that story that you are reluctant to go to people and ask for assistance unless there is a large need. But I think you’ll find that a common trait among good people is that they honestly want to help other, in big or small ways. And as you know, being a good person is not a trait only held by the religious. So if there’s a way we can help, any way, speak up! Seeing the type of people you get commenting here, I think I speak for everyone when I say that we would be thrilled to help you and others out. We just need to know what we can do to accomplish that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You aren’t the only one who read it that way – lol! And John, I don’t have a lot, but I’ll do whatever I can to help you. I’m in Idaho, so probably a ways away, but I can do whatever I can. You only have to ask.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been contacted by Friendly Facebook Stalker. She would like to be referred to as “The Woman Who Shall Be Known As For Fuck Sake” TWWSBKAFFS. Freaking died laughing (yes I’m trying to swear less)

      Liked by 4 people

    • I looked at my comment later and realized I gave the impression of being insensitive. I’m sorry. I should have written it differently. Obviously, this FFS is a pain.

      I should have written that it’s “good stuff” that you’re getting support from so many, and that there’s potential job opportunities that investigate.

      Peace!

      P.S. Love the acronyms!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laughing a little bit right now after reading the bit about “helping” because right now, other than some good charities, the one person I am helping on a personal level is a homeless woman who used to be my office manager, and who is a stark-raving Christian lunatic who condemns everyone outside of her cult. I have to bite my tongue to talk to her, but I care about her and living in your van in your fifties is pretty damned humiliating and depressing. And here I am going through a divorce and about to go live in a trailer. Yea. Seems like stability is a ghost we can never quite catch.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This all must be making your head spin. This is the most honest and raw blog I currently have the great good fortune of reading on a daily basis. Thank you for letting us into your world with so much integrity. I wanted you to know I wish the best for you and your wife, who I have come to really really like just based on what you’ve written about her.

    I hope you do get to take part in that documentary!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I guess I will never understand how supposedly “good Christian people” would want to cause you grief at a time like this in your personal life. To me that seems to go against their basic teachings. My heart goes out to you and I hope you can continue your employment in whatever field you chose.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. If there’s any confusion as to why this community cares it’s actually pretty simple:

    Many of us have been there. We know how frightening the edge of that cliff is, and it’s mighty goddamned important to us that you have somewhere safe to land when you go over.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And those of us that have not been there (I pretty much never believed and I made it pretty clear to everyone who listened when I was a kid) can still empathize with those that are going through such a life changing event.

      Back in 2000, I had a good job, making about $140K a year, I lived in one of the prettiest places on earth, I had a wonderful daughter and wife. Things with my wife were a bit rocky, partly because of her health, but other than that I worked, played tennis by myself with my semi-pro buddies, but also as a family on weekends. I had two motorcycles, a vintage one and a rice rocket I would take on weekends on a coastal road with another 50 to 60 riders. Sometimes I would take my daughter with me. She absolutely worshipped me and I loved her to pieces. I can still hear the giggles when I’d take the turns on the bike a bit faster than usual (I drove like a nun with her on the back).
      My life wasn’t storybook. But I was happy and I felt I did well for myself. I had money in the bank, savings for retirement, a daughter destined to do great things. Reasonably happy.

      Then one day I collapsed in the middle of the living room. At the hospital they told me that without an organ transplant I had maybe 1 or 2 years to live.
      I came back home from the hospital, and an email was waiting for me: the company I worked for was being sold to an outfit on the other coast. I was invited, bit of course I could not join them.

      A few days later, a plumber comes to check some leak we had. We were renting and our landlord was a slumlord. We did most of the repairs in the home, but something was wrong with the bathtub. We told the guy a couple of years before and supposedly he fixed it himself.

      When the plumber started looking into it, he discovered the fix was either never made or didn’t last long. We had mold throughout the house, under the carpets, in the walls, in the basement. And not just any mold. The killer kind.

      The plumber called the county. The county condemned the home and everything there was in it. We had to steal some of out own things but we lost all our furniture, books, clothes, bedding. Everything.

      In the space of less than a month I went from a healthy, gainfully employed, athletic 40 years old, a tennis player/bike rider with a family and a future, to exactly the opposite. I lost my home, my job, almost everything I owned and of course, my health.

      I didn’t lose my family, but my illness almost accomplished that too. My daughter went from a happy go lucky bright light to a brooding, unhappy teenager. My wife health took a turn for the worse to the point where neither of us was able to get out of bed and cook.

      Eventually I lost half my weight, but my illness had one more humiliation in wait for me: I started suffering from Ascites. That fluid retention in my belly. 4 days a week I looked like I was pregnant. Overdue, in fact, then on Mondays I’d go to the hospital where they stuck me with an 10″ needle and drained between 6 and 11 liters of fluid. I would go in barely able to walk, having to have someone else tie my shoes, I’d come out with a spring on my step and happy (I learned to value small things). But even starting the same evening I could feel the fluid building back up.

      It was a nightmare.

      So, do I know what it’s like to lose everything? I certainly do. A little voice tells me that I would have much rather suffer through a loss of faith than what I actually went through, but that’s because of the pain and the hurt I still feel every day. For someone that has not experienced what I did, I’ll bet it would be just as traumatic and just as devastating. I think we have a limit as to how much suffering we can bear and I certainly reached mine. For PNF and others that are in the same situation, what they are confronting will certainly feel just as momentous and painful.

      But in my case, it wasn’t all bad. For instance, my company kept me on the books for an extra year, paying my health insurance. They didn’t have to do that.
      I was lucky that I bought private insurance so I was still pulling in $60K a year and that certainly helped taking the sting off it. However, with the kind of medical and logistical expenses I had, that money vaporized by the last week of the month.

      I have had people drive me to my visits when neither my wife or I could drive.

      Amazingly, the biggest help I received, the one thing that I believe saved my life was from an anonymous “blogger” (at the time just a guy with a website since blogs were a couple of years in the future) who had gone through a similar experience and had his first transplant at the same hospital I was registered in. Everything went wrong for him, so wrong that he had to get another transplant at another hospital 6 months later.

      I followed his advice and transferred to that hospital. That saved my life. Unbeknownst to me, at my hospital they had no intention of giving me a transplant. They had labeled me as a functional alcoholic (because I worked in the restaurant business 20 years before) and decided that they would just keep me comfortable until I kicked it.

      I discovered all this from my new doctors whom were appalled by what had happened to me. Without that guy, I would be dead today.

      Anyway, sorry I got a bit involved in the retelling of my story. I started out wanting to explain how I could empathize with something I never experienced in my life. Well, If losing one faith brings the same result (minus the obvious health issue fortunately) it’s actually rather easy. In fact, I think that losing my “reality” because of simply changing my mind on things would be even harder to deal with. After all, what happened to me was cruel and bizarre, but it wans’t something I could control.

      What’s happening to PNF is actually easily remedied by choosing to live a lie.
      I would have lied to anyone if it would have made my life even a tiny bit better.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Wow. That was not expected.
        I “yelled” yes in reply to your question “will you need help if needed”.
        I did so by answering the email.
        I didn’t know it would be public, so I didn’t pay attention to my signature!
        Would appreciate if you would delete that comment.

        Like

      • Wow. That was not expected.
        I “yelled” yes in reply to your question “will you need help if needed”.
        I did so by answering the email.
        I didn’t know it would be public, so I didn’t pay attention to my signature!
        Would appreciate if you would delete that comment.

        Like

  6. I’ve had to be similarly careful. With all of the stuff I talk about on my blog, it isn’t that hard for someone to find me. I’ve been contacted by couple of ex-members of the Pentecostal church I attended in the 1980s/1990s who recognized it by the stories I told about it (but not me or my crazy ex, but it was a really big church). I’m not mad about that–I don’t have much to lose if I get outed. But you do. I’m glad someone helped you learn to protect yourself. We need you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hugs to you. Just remember, there might be no limit to the evil humanity does to one another, but the opposite is true too. We will all help you find your way. Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. John, you might want to think about opening up a Pay Pal account (for donations) and/or ask someone on the Clergy Project to start a Go Fund Me for you. You’ll probably get more exposure there and from writers on Pathos. I thought about the Go Fund Me after you mentioned that you might lose your health insurance, and your wife needed surgery.

    http://www.gofundme.com/

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Hi, “Sis”! I can’t speak for anyone else commenting here, but I suspect that many of us, like I myself, have undergone the same loss of faith that your brother has. (True, the vast majority of us probably didn’t have the added burden of that faith being the underpinning of our life’s work, but we have walked at least a part of the same road.)

    So it’s hard not to be supportive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi “Sis”. Let me chime in here as well. I was raised very religious. I was a scripture-thumping kid who knew more than my Seminary teachers did. In fact, I was asked not to raise my hand in Seminary class anymore because they knew that I knew the answers (and I sometimes corrected the teachers).

      I fought *hard* against becoming an atheist. Like your brother, when In lost my faith, I tried to hold on to something – I went Pantheist, rather than Deist. I worked on the idea that the universe was a sentient being and that we were but manifestations of that being, trying to understand itself.

      But, like your brother, I found my last refuge to be lacking in the end. After all, if the universe was trying to understand pain…wouldn’t a few million years be enough to learn what that was all about? Surely the universe wasn’t *that* slow of a learner! I was prepared to handle a sentient universe…but not a universe with an extremely severe learning disability.

      But, I kept my atheism from my family – mostly because I didn’t want to upset my mother. But, one day she asked me directly, “You still believe in God, right?” I could have lied. I wanted to lie. Maybe I should have lied. But, I just couldn’t. I felt that I had to be honest with her. I told her that I didn’t. I then asked, “But you still love me, right?” She paused for a bit. Then she replied, “I guess so.”

      That hurt – badly. So, while I can’t exactly understand everything your brother is going through right now – I’m not a pastor, I’m married, but my wife is fine with my atheism, and I’m not in danger of financial ruin/etc – I do understand some of the hurt, some of the sense of loss, and some of the heartache that comes with losing your faith and coming out to those around you.

      Luckily my wife has been absolutely wonderful! And she introduced me to the Unitarian Universalist church, where I have met many atheists as well as theists who don’t hold my atheism against me. I even teach Sunday School there – an atheist Sunday School teacher – if you can believe that!

      So, ya – we may not know John’s exact pain…but we know our own, and the pain of many other atheists like him. And no one deserves to live in pain.

      Liked by 4 people

      • It is very nice to see that John’s wife is quickly coming to terms with his atheism. I just wish it was on her own timetable – and not in part because of people like TBWSNBN is threatening her family.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. I’m so glad you started this blog. Not only have you reached a community of like-minded thinkers, but you’ve also connected us to each other. Your post about TBWSNBN was so incredibly frustrating and upsetting just to read about – I can just imagine how it has been to be dealing with in person, and I am sending thoughts/vibes/whatever of sympathy to not only you, but your wife who was just tossed under the bus by a supposed friend – yet part of the reason for the frustration is that such sanctimonious garbage is so common in the church and, worse yet, it’s is commended as being Godly! I essentially stopped attending church right after graduating when I (horror of horrors) began dating a non-believer and was subsequently counseled by friends that it was just not ok. The straw that broke the camel’s back was being told this by a young “friend” who had two children out of wedlock with different fathers. I nearly lost it when people I hardly knew started contacting me telling me that they wanted to “speak truth in love” to me. Anyhow, people are stuck in the bubble – and I know from experience that it is just so very hard to step outside and have any concept of what the rest of the world believes, or comprehend why that’s important. I almost outed myself to a close Christian friend today who was pondering why anyone who isn’t a Christian even wants to get married when marriage is an institution that was founded by God. As in when Adam and Eve were created. There is no way to come out ahead in a conversation like that.

    Sorry for the rambling, but I am just so happy to have encountered your blog immediately – rooting for you and your family, happy that your wife is supportive of you, here to encourage when the shit hits the fan or before that.

    By the way – a very interesting read that hit home for me and started my deconversion process was Godless, by Dan Barker.

    Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 I think it really is possible to “speak the truth in love”, but that phrase is generally code for “you’ve offended my sensibilities and I’m using that as an excuse to gossip about you, make you feel bad, and essentially bully you into doing it my way.”

        Liked by 2 people

      • Forgiveness of oneself is a whole lot tougher as an atheist.

        When I was a Christian, if I’d wronged someone, and it weighed heavily on my conscience, why, I could just pray to God for forgiveness and feel the burden of sin lifted instantly from my shoulders! Without that, I actually had to go to the person I’d wronged, and apologize to them face-to-face.

        And it’s so much easier to say or think words of repentance in an empty room that’s not staring back at you in hurt or anger than it is to go up to someone, admit what you’ve done, and ask them for forgiveness. But it turned out that that was the only way I could get it off my conscience. (Which, ironically, made me into a more moral person as an atheist than as a Christian — because I hated finding myself in that position, I made more of an effort to not put myself there in the first place.)

        I still wince at the memory of some of the things I said and did as a Christian, over two decades later. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks of having a working conscience. But… I’m no longer the person who said and did those things. And my regrets about who I was help me make better choices now, to be the sort of person I want to be.

        So remember that you’ve changed since those times you “spoke the truth in love”. If you can’t forgive yourself, at least keep that in mind; you know better now, and that knowledge will help you be better.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Godless by Dan Barker is a fabulous book! I have it on my Kindle Fire and read parts of it practically daily and would recommend it to anyone struggling with their faith or lack of.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Godless was a huge blow to my faith – led to some serious issues for me initially – it was pretty awful to read and see everything I’d held dear be essentially ripped to shreds. I think my faith and background was just like he’d described in the book so it was like it was written just for me! Took me a couple of years to come around though.

        Like

  11. I want to help because I found the path out of belief long and hard, and I was a) Catholic, not Evangelical; b) married to an atheist; and c) living in an area where people don’t make assumptions about your religion or treat you as second-class if you’re not Christian. But the training of youth dies hard, the ingrained guilt dies hard, the tendency to self-blame (if only I had prayed more / studied more / attended church more often / spoken with some authority / etc…; if only I were more committed… and so on). So my path was sea level, graveled, and difficult. You’re climbing boulders at 10,000 feet. Damn straight, I want to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh yeah, I finished working my way through your blog. Great read. And it certainly seems like we are getting close to the third act turning point and the happy ending.

    I also think people generally at empathetic and want to help others. Billions given to strangers around the world every year. we like helping others.

    Liked by 2 people

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