A couple of older links and "Joke" series links seem to have made their way around social media over the last few days, resulting in a significant uptick in readers. And with that, quite a few emails from new readers. Just a couple of quick notes to you guys...
First of all, welcome, especially those of you who survived the movements I write about, carry a heavy load, and have felt alone. The number of you just like that who've emailed over the last couple of days had me taken back a bit. Know that you guys AREN'T alone, and there's a whole community of young people just like you. This blog has been one of several gathering places of sorts for people just like you, and here, we only ask you to rest. Breathe a while. Know that you're accepted and cared for - without qualification. You'll also find similar places of rest within my sidebar. I encourage you to check those sites out. A pretty wide spectrum of belief and opinion there to choose from - which is exactly what I feel you deserve.
I'm not super-religious (at least as compared to a few years ago), and recoil from Christianese and much of Christian tradition (having seen what it actually does to many), so you won't find much here that delves into theology or comes from a traditional Christian perspective, especially over the last 18 months or so of posts. One of my personal standards in my writing is "people must always be of more value than paradigm", so you'll see no religious, sociopolitical, cultural, or movement-driven favoritism from me.
Some of the material here, and at those other places, may push you to the edge of your comfort levels. I ask you to understand that I write what I write in real-time - raw, emotionally, and with the goal of provoking thought. I also ask you to understand that I'm very much a work in progress, my own faith and perspectives having evolved enormously over the last couple of years, evidence of which you may have already noticed in my writing. I'm still in my own healing and growing process (likely a life-long endeavor), and I've come to embrace the ups and downs of it and let it spill into what I write here. You may not always like what you see of me. I don't always, frankly, but I hope to make something good out of the bad I experienced. While I don't publish as much material as in the past (for a number of reasons), I still write when inspired, and only when inspired.
For those curious about the "The Joke Was On Me" series, as of now, I have no immediate plans to write more of it. I began writing it with the goal to educate people about how these belief systems render people expendable, what these beliefs do to the heart and soul, and I've bared much of those parts of me in the installments I've written. As I became aware that many (not specifically you new guys) were reading it strictly for entertainment purposes, I felt less compelled to continue writing it. While I may understand it to a degree, it's something I'm not really comfortable with, at least not yet, that anyone would find entertainment in vulnerability. I liken it to my own distaste for most reality TV shows. When I watch them, I feel like a voyeur being entertained by the weaknesses and vulnerabilities (even when they ask for it) of other people, and I have to change the channel. Couple that with the difficulty of having to mentally, and to a degree emotionally, relive the events I'm writing about, and I hope you'll understand why it's on the back-burner.
I want to reiterate how welcome here you guys are, and my hope is that you'll find MUCH here that's beneficial to you.