Hot-For-Jesus Former Fundie - A Story of Deconversion, Doug Pagitt, and 9/11 ~ Praxis Habitus - On Race Religion & Culture

Monday, January 12, 2009

Hot-For-Jesus Former Fundie - A Story of Deconversion, Doug Pagitt, and 9/11

Compelling prose and heart-wrenching stories often center on religion. In fiction, I think of Flannery O'Conner. In non-fiction, I listen for personal stories. And I just found one.

A Story of De-Conversion

I clicked on Christine Vyrnon's blog because of its title: HOT-FOR-JESUS FORMER FUNDIE. Humorous and personal, her blog features quirky and ironic pictures of Jesus. Her writing focuses on her own experience of faith.

A note posted last October caught me. It's part of a story of de-conversion, and features one of the most influential member of the Emerging Church Movement - Doug Pagitt and Solomon's Porch. In

JINXED: Solomon's Porch and My Leap From Faith into the Arms of Yoga

she writes,

The night of 9/11 I attended an impromptu prayer service at my favorite “church”: Solomon’s Porch. Under 12 people showed up. We talked and prayed and consulted scripture. I, who never liked praying out loud, a form of improv on one’s knees, prayed aloud, fervently asking God to keep our nation from resorting to violence in response to violence.

Solomon’s Porch was there when I needed it the most. I was settling into a church, which was a Big Deal for a girl who had seen church politics at its worst...

As she tells more about her path to Solomon's Porch, she writes about the service that night,

After careful consideration and prayer, the Spirit moved me to tell my story, something I’d never done before. Though I’d been singing solos in church my whole life, I’d never spoken so publicly about my dedication to Jesus.

The time had come.

Read the blog entry
to see what happens next.

Affirming-Rejecting Religiosity

One thing I find compelling in her story is her deep appreciation for Solomon's Porch as a church while adamantly rejecting Christianity. We don't know enough about how this kind of paradoxical religion-affirming/yet-religion-rejecting religiosity.

I think it's part of the "new atheism" in today's world. Not all atheism "hates" all aspects of religion. And as the percentage of atheists in the world is growing (sloooowly), we will move away from simple dichotomies and come to understand the variety of "atheisms" that exist out there.

What do you think?


Christine Vyrnon said...

Stumbling back to the source of the hits... thanks for bringing my blog into the mix. Minor detail to clarify: the night of the prayer service was not the same night I decided to tell my story/song. And Doug has been kind enough to stop by and say hi... or at least someone on the internet claiming to be him :P

I look forward to browsing through your blog, and am encouraged to see both a better understanding of churches like Solomon's Porch AND non-stereotypical atheism. I may be in a minority, and though I have plenty to whine and complain about as far as christianity/ churches go, I've never been impressed with the brand of atheism that has no desire but to be snarky. One must remember that atheism is not exactly a group, but individuals who happen to be 'without-god'... so the stereotype of snarky atheists very much depends on with whom one is having the conversation.

Gerardo Marti said...

Thanks, Christine, for the thoughtful remarks both on your blog and here.

J Steele said...

"what do you think?" - this time it's actually more like "what do you feel?" and that from a guy!
I feel compassion for Christine. I was on a plane to Africa and heard a similar story by a girl who had the same background and had thrown out the baby with the bathwater. It just broke my heart to see that she had deconstructed her faith to nothing. In one sense, if that's all there was, then good riddance "faith". History and personal experience has proven to me (also from a similar background) that 'conversion' is not to a creed, not to a status quo, not to an institution or culture. True conversion is in the context of a relationship to a living Person. That will never get stale- that will always be fresh and real. I say deconstruct away- get rid of all the dogma that gets in the way of a real dynamic relationship. Don't let the prevailing cultural script dictate who God is and what a relationship with Him involves. Seek Him (without bias, grudge, or preconceived ideas). And I'm saying this to myself continually. Thanks for sharing and may all of our eyes be open more and more to the reality that is beyond the scientific method.

Christine Vyrnon said...

J Steele: appreciate the compassion and concern.

To oversimplify, i think that the deconverted discover no baby in the bath water to worry about in the first place... ultimately nothing to regret in throwing out the bath water... or to overstretch the metaphor... not everyone's bathwater has a baby in it.

I like how you describe this "True conversion is in the context of a relationship to a living Person. That will never get stale- that will always be fresh and real." Very well put. I think that for many deconverted that Person is Everything and Everyone, not just THAT Person (JC, trinity). Christianity and christ never got stale for me. Jesus is a constant source of beauty and inspiration... in all seriousness. I just know that he is not the Only source of beauty and inspiration. I don't think it is a matter of deconstructing a faith to Nothing, but deconstructing a faith to include Everything.