As a newer post-christian person, my attention is always grabbed by prominent believers who fall out of rank. In the last couple months the christian army has lost Josh Harris (who I kindly and ruefully refer to as the King of Purity for his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye and it’s following movement) and Hillsong worship leader, Marty Sampson.
I recently saw one of my 90’s christian music idols in concert. Of course, since leaving the christian music scene, her audience as been reduced to the size of a hippie, upstairs studio of about 50 viewing members… but Jennifer Knapp still enraptured me with her sass and her haunting voice and raw lyrics. She spoke about the christian church rejecting her sexual identity that night, with the side-smile, eye rolls, f-you’s and indigination I expected. She said something beautiful that I am about to butcher… that she no longer follows the christian religion, but that it is still the language of her faith (which I swooned over and related to whole heartedly.) She joins the ranks of former Newboys original, George Perdikis, and Caedmon’s Call musician, Derek Webb, who also came to the realization that christianity and the rules that govern it are, for lack of a more sophisticated term, pure hog wash.
What does this mean for the average, post-christian person like me? I dramatically left my faith, but there aren’t 200+ Google search results that quote my fumbling statements and try to sum up my entire christian life in a single short paragraph, THANK GOD (pun totally intended.) I was every bit as much of a dynamic Jesus-follower, doing all the right things and saying all the right phrases and examining all the appropriate questions.
I just didn’t have thousands of followers watching me give it all up in a blaze of glory.
Who was watching me? Well, my children, for the most significant example. My now ex-husband caught part of it. My friends (90% who where christian) and my family (75’ish %?) but surely not the world. After my divorce, my life was mostly mine to explore.
I got to deconvert in relative privacy, and this luxury is not lost on me.
I had already left my church community and marriage and moved to a city on the other side of the country before I renounced christianity. EVERYTHING was new and no one, aside from my siblings, knew the OG me. I got to start fresh. I was a social clean slate. Of course, old relationships don’t dissolve overnight, and I’ve received enough texts and messages and Facebook responses criticizing my new ideas to give me the firm belief that I’m not the most envied person on the planet… but I refuse to let myself complain.
Today I am thinking of my fellow apostates. Whether you are trapped in the social spotlight or sitting quietly on the sidelines or caught in the middle of a family rift or wishing you didn’t have so many friends with opinons… I know you are there. I see you. You can talk to me, you can vent to me, you can celebrate with me.
I am your friend. Your sister. Your comrade. Get in touch with me here or here or leave a message on this post. I am always around and I’m ridiculously chatty. I no longer follow the christian religion, but at times I find it’s language still wrapped around my heart. I understand you.
You can talk to me if you’re famous too, I just don’t anticipate you’ll ever see this blog post. (I love you, Jen)