I’ve been experimenting in ways I can make this web page easier and better for those who want to visit, and myself. As I’ve described before, this page is an Amalgam of three watersheds, 1) post-evangelical discussions, 2) my fiction writing, and 3) cancer.
I personally left evangelicalism in 1990 and landed in a wilderness of thought, which took me a decade of serious study to navigate. I dedicated my first blog (titled then, The Christian Monist) to that group of people who were trying to make sense of their evangelical experience and where to go to next. I had no intention of arguing with evangelicals or trying to persuade them to leave that subculture, but my heart was with those who had already left (or contemplating leaving) and met the same confusing wilderness as I had. We already live in a post-Christian society and the hemorrhaging of people out of different Christian cultures will only increase over time. My goal was to give a clearing within that wilderness, or an option for those who want to remain Christian, but perhaps, wanted to leave the interpretation of Christianity their previous subculture promoted. It was never meant to dissuade people from a particular church, etc., but how to think differently while maintaining a Christian identity.
The next phase was circ. 2018 was when I felt I had said all I needed to say to that original group, had published my book Butterflies in the Belfry in 2017 (which summarized much of what I had written in those blogs) and wanted to move on to fiction writing, as a personal hobby and aspiration (to be a writer). That’s when I moved my blog to this address (thus the name jmichaeljoneswriter.com).
This of course was derailed when I suddenly became quite sick and was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in Jan, 2019. Because I already had this blog up and running and did not have the strength to try and create a new one, my updates on my battle with cancer were posted here. I was very fortunate that I had about 250 new people join this blog, friends and family who just wanted to know about my health. For their interest, I am deeply humbled and appreciative.
But then I ran into a dilemma. As my health improved and was no longer being consumed by my battle, I began write again (very candidly) about those issues which pertain to those who have left evangelicalism. The problem became when some people came to my site to find out about my health and then found provocative (from their perspective) writings that was intended for the post-evangelical crowd. For them, they either had no interest in Christian things, or they were Christians and had no interest in leaving evangelicalism. Some in that latter group mistook my writings as me trying to persuade them to leave, or to argue with them on issues that is part of their culture’s dogma. I regret that misunderstanding. Maybe it was painful for them as it was certainly painful for me as a handful felt called to write or confront me, that I have no relationship with God, not a real Christian, and, in at least a couple of cases, that I’m bound for hell. They were angry and it was painful for me.
I’ve always seen my calling in life as to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable within the themes of seeking truth, justice, but trying to do it with kindness and humility. Since my life may be much shorter than I used to think, my desire to fight with anyone over religion or politics is zero. I have great admiration for people who think nothing like me. It’s not personal. Many of my old friends are evangelicals, while I see that movement as my nemesis, I still love and respect them. Same with family. My voice is for those who are looking for answers when their Christian world no longer makes sense, with the point, there’s a good reason it doesn’t make sense and here are some real answers.
As I look at all the views and blogs, podcasts and etc, I still feel that my voice is an important tiny slice among the broad bandwidth of that noise. I’m sure there must be others who are saying the same things as me, but until I hear them, I feel that I must continue to speak … just maybe not here.
To reduce the opportunity for conflict I’ve been experimenting with moving my controversial discussions to a podcast formation. I think I’ve worked out the technical bugs during this trial, although I’m still an amateur. I have no illusions of grandeur that my podcast would ever have a big following, but as long as one or two people are listening, I will keep doing them. So, rather than having my discussions in everyone’s face who comes here, where the printed form appears in an e-mail for some, it will be more like the old stores that kept their alcohol, cigarettes, and dirty magazines behind the counter, creating just enough barrier that we middle schoolers would never ask for them. Okay, maybe that example didn’t work so well.
I may write here about non-controversial topics, my observations of the mundane and the extraordinary including issues that relate to dealing with cancer. But mostly I will use this written space for updates on my health and writing (BTW, Housekeeping is also the name of a fantastic novel, but I digress). By the way, my new book is going off to the editor in about two weeks and I’m getting excited.
I will now try to confine my discussions of the more controversial topics in an audio podcast. Those will be listed on my podcast page, which is in the menu on the header board of this page. So that way they are “behind the counter.” I’ve considered what heading I could file these topics under including my old one, The Christian Monist. However, I’ve decided to put them under the heading of The Rational Christian. My first podcast will be an introduction to the idea of the “Rational Christian,” to set the foundation going forward.
As always, thanks for your support in coming and listening.
The latest podcast, Rational Christianity; An Introduction, is here.
The Hermit at Loch Eyre.