Ok, so not really. I know no-one has been expecting an update but I do love a Lord of the Rings reference.
Aaaanyway, back to the long-deceased artform of blogging!
You might be here because you heard me on the I Was Teenage Fundamentalist Podcast (air date Friday Sept 2, 2022) – in which case, feel free to scroll to the end for a list of my favourite posts. To be honest, this is the main reason for this little update. It’s a bit rough inviting someone to go visit your abandoned holiday home without first popping in to bang the dust out the drapes! So here we are, broom in hand.
If you read through all of my blog, I reckon every third or forth entry begins with some sort of apology for not having written, and some sort of commitment to write more. Hilarious! This won’t be one of those. I have contemplated taking everything down over the last couple of years, but decided against that (mainly due to laziness, let’s be honest). The things I’ve written here over the last almost 10 years are a great snapshot for me to look back on over what I call the ‘acute’ phase of my deconstruction. In reality though, my deconstruction began long before this blog, and still continues, though at less of a cracking pace.
During the more intense phase of my deconstruction I was a mum of babies and toddlers in my late twenties and early thirties – motherhood did something to accelerate that process, I think. Perhaps other parents can relate to feeling like their whole concept of who ‘God’ is radically shifted when they became a parent. This was certainly my experience. Now, almost edging into 40, working two jobs, plus volunteering time across three separate faith/ex-faith endeavours, becoming a home-owner, parenting kids with various needs and demands (with one about to head off to high school)… the leisure time required to not only sit and ruminate on esoteric and existential things, but to find the time to write about them, has all but evaporated.
That’s not to say I don’t still have a lot of thoughts that I occasionally think might be worth sharing, it’s more that this sharing takes place less in a ‘public’ sphere. The sharing takes place with friends and trusted people rather than being open for dissemination in the internet’s wild lands.
If the earlier phase of my deconstruction was exciting and wondrous and fuelled by a desire to evangelise my discoveries (and probably gain some external feedback and validation as well, let’s be honest), it was also characterised by an anxiety and neurosis to have people be OK with where I was at, to understand my heart and my brain, even if they didn’t agree with me (I never needed people to agree).
But of course, the need to publicise my deconstruction brought with it the inevitable criticism from no doubt well-meaning friends and family. For some people there comes a point where disagreement with their sincerely held beliefs is threatening, and I took that personally.
But after a while, the back and forth got old – feeling like I had to constantly have an answer for what I believed or didn’t believe became exhausting, as did caring about what others thought.
If I’m to be brutally honest with myself, I would get a lot of inspiration out of that ‘conflict’. Butting heads with people gave me a lot of drive to continue being honest about where I was at, because no way was I going to be silenced! I spent too many years as a woman in the church holding my tongue and being submissive for that shit to fly. I was OK within myself and where I was at, and at the time I wanted people to know I was OK with it. I was definitely a deconstruction apologist – not only in general, but for myself.
I certainly don’t regret that period. It taught me a lot.
My goal was never to threaten anyone’s belief system or change people’s minds. my goal was to know that I wasn’t alone, and when I discovered I wasn’t alone in this wilderness, my goal was to be a voice out here, so that others would know that they weren’t alone either. To whatever end, I achieved that to a degree. And that’s why I’m leaving my words up in this space for now. I’m sure there’s things within these pages that I no longer believe, or would reword, or add footnotes to. But for now I’m leaving things as they are.
I may pop back in from time-to-time as the mood strikes. In the meantime, if you’re visiting because of my recent appearance on the ‘I Was A Teenage Fundamentalist’ podcast, below is an author’s selection of my favourite posts that you might relate to.
If you want to connect with a spiritual community that accepts the shape of your faith/doubt in whatever form, you can connect with me through Open Community (Melbourne-based), and if you’re an LGBTQIA+ person of faith or survivor of conversion practices, you can connect with me through Brave Network (Australian-based).
And if you’re really super duper keen, and if you’re in Australia, you can watch me in a two-part documentary on SBS called “How ‘Mad’ Are You” which takes a unique look at the state of mental health and mental illness in Australia.
Here’s my hand-picked list of my favourite faith/doubt/deconstruction posts – perhaps there’s something here that stands out for you: