024 Naked Pastor-David Hayward - Part 1

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"It was kinda like a Jenga block tower. The block at the very bottom for me was the Bible. When that book started removing that Jenga block, everything came down"

David Hayward

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David Hayward of nakedpastor.com has a wonderful story!

He's turned his difficult experience into a way of helping others who are going through a similar struggle (e.g. helping ex-clergy re-do their resume after leaving ministry).

He was baptized Anglican as a baby, came to faith in a Baptist church when he was a teenager, changed to Pentecostal in his late teens, married another Pentecostal named Lisa, was ordained Presbyterian, pastored a Vineyard church, went Independent, and planted others.

He has a Masters in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, as well as a Diploma in Religious Studies and Ministry from McGill University in Montreal.

In 2010 he left the professional paid clergy after almost 30 years of ministry. 

He started the blog called nakedpastor in 2006, and initiated his public undressing of religion, religious community and spirituality through writings, art and cartoons. Thousands of people are challenged and entertained by nakedpastor every day.

In 2012, he launched The Lasting Supper, an online resource site and community for spiritually independent people to help themselves find companionship and support for their spiritual journeys. 

His art, cartoons, writings, and books have found their way all around the world.

He lives with his wife Lisa on the beautiful Kennebecasis River near Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada. They have 3 grown children. And a dog, Sophie.

david@thelastingsupper.com


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023 Darren Garvin - Part 2

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"Find a way to be who you are as an atheist and not some preconceived notion of what an atheist is"

Darren Garvin

Darren picks up the story where we left off in Part 1. He is invited to preach a sermon at a Christian church! The response of the congregation is unexpected. 

As Darren continues to reach out to various religious leaders in his area, he finds that doing this changes him.

This interview has a very positive message and is a great example of how to keep dialogue and civility alive between groups of people with opposing points of view.  

Darren's Sermon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kKFrg1P7zs

Darren's Resource:
Meet-up.com

https://www.facebook.com/darrencgarvin

 

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023 Darren Garvin - Part 1

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"I didn't want to lose my faith. I didn't want anyone to talk me out of it. Part of me was ashamed I was even having these thoughts"

Darren Garvin

Darren's family would sing in front of his Assemblies of God church in a Partridge Family-style singing group. When Darren got into his twenties, he enjoyed them and made a conscious effort to delay a serious commitment to Christ until later.

As planned, he commits to Christ in his late twenties. He starts teaching at a Christian school. When doubts begin, he feels ashamed. The turning point is when he publicly chooses to NOT help lead his students to Christ.

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022 Anthos of The Brighter Light Podcast

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"There are great people in all walks of life. I met some of the best people, that I never would've met if I was under the strict thumb of the Jehovah's Witnesses"

Anthos

Anthos is a laid-back guy with a great sense of humor, but he's also brutally honest about the teachings of his former cult, Jehovah's Witnesses.

As a young child he knocked on doors to spread the good news about Jehovah and paradise (spoiler alert...you get a pet Lion!). 

In adulthood he's disfellowshipped, but this drives him back to the faith and getting his life back together. Later in life, when his kids are grown he decides to research his church's teachings. He finds that it's B.S., but now what does he believe in?

We also discuss petting Pandas, short haired Jesus and The System! 

He's a great guy with insightful answers and some great takeaways at the end.
 

The Brighter Light Podcast:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCem6A97qeWuui3AXNB0iY5w/featured
Twitter:
@exJW_Apostacast
#BLP or just look up Brighter Light Podcast
Email: 
brighterlightpodcast@gmail.com

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021 Krissy Hilliker - Part 2

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"Once I was able to let it go, the world made a lot more sense"

Krissy Hilliker

In Part 2 of Krissy's story, she explains what made her re-think her family planning decision. She begins to question our marriage and thinks she may have married the wrong man. 

Krissy's empathy is ultimately what led her away from Christianity. She discusses the issues that troubled her most and how she became an atheist.

https://www.meetup.com

http://www.sundayassembly.com
 

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021 Krissy Hilliker - Part 1

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 "I had so much guilt and shame I really did believe that if I had behaved differently it wouldn't have happened to me. I really started to think, I have to turn my life over to God"

 

 

Krissy Hilliker

Krissy and I became close friends in our early teen years. That was over 20 years ago! We've now been married for 16 years. In this episode, Krissy shares how as a child she felt quite vulnerable, lonely and afraid. When problems came up in her life, she responded by trying to be a better Christian. She trusted God in every area of her life. She looked to God to find purpose in her suffering. She is now an atheist.

020 Gerardo Rivera

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"Speak out for the people who cannot speak out. So if you can come out as an atheist or if you're able to be more open about it, do so"

Gerardo Rivera

Gerardo Rivera is an atheist undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez, where he pursues a B.A. in Chemistry. He is the founder and current President of Secular Humanist Association UPRM, a student group for young atheists, agnostics and all the secular community at the university. The group is the only one of its kind in all of Puerto Rico's public university system and it works closely with Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico, the leading secular organization on the island. Gerardo's activism focuses mostly in bringing attention to the increasing amount of violations to the Separation of Church and State in the island's government and guiding the development of more secular student groups in other Puerto Rico universities. He has a passion for science and philosophy, and believes deeply in equal rights for all under law. 

 

JaclynGlenn:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCravYcv6C0CopL2ukVzhzNw

Hemant Mehta: 
https://www.youtube.com/user/TheAtheistVoice

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/
 

Pascal's Wager:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBCDGohZT70

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=pascals+wager

Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding, by David Hume:
https://www.amazon.com/Inquiry-Concerning-Human-Understanding/dp/002353110X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504580939&sr=8-1&keywords=inquiry+concerning+human+understanding
 

God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins &
God is Not Great, by Christopher Hitchens:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=god+delusion&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Agod+delusion


Secular Humanist Association UPRM:
SHA-UPRM or @SHA_UPRM
https://twitter.com/SHA_UPRM

SHAUPRM@gmail.com

Humanistas Seculares de Puerto Rico:
@HumanistasPR
 

Atheists of Puerto Rico:
https://ateistaspr.org


Gerardo Miguel Rivera:
https://www.facebook.com/gerardo.rivera.96

@Gerardo11345

019 Sarah Brennan - Part 2

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"The church teaches that your heart is where evil desires come from. I think that's just a lie. Sometimes we do have to follow our hearts and sometimes we do have to be true to ourselves. It doesn't mean that it's wrong"

Sarah Brennan

In part 2 of my conversation with Sarah, she discusses rebuilding her community and her life. She had lived with her husband for 10 years and it was everything she'd ever known.

Her mom and a close friend have strong reactions when she comes out. 

Finally, Sarah goes before a panel of pastors at her church where she served as a pastor. She uses the Bible to argue in favor of living an openly gay lifestyle.

Such a wonderful story!

Sarah's Resource: Dear John, I Love Jane
https://www.amazon.com/Dear-John-Love-Jane-Leaving/dp/1580053394

Skype: sarahmbrennan13

Email: sarahmbrennan13@gmail.com

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019 Sarah Brennan - Part 1

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"In life there isn't always an answer, there isn't always something to explain. Sometimes you just sit there and it's hard, and things are broken and you just have to kind of sit-in-there and wait for time to heal it."

-Sarah Brennan

Sarah has such a moving story!  Growing up she knew she was gay. Her parents and church discouraged her feelings, so Sarah grew to hate it in herself. She believed it was a choice and eventually married a man.

Years later her feelings are awakened again. Her father leaves the church and encourages Sarah to accept herself. Sarah begins to fall in love with a woman. Sarah's best friend also offers encouragement. Simultaneously she leaves the church and her straight lifestyle behind. 

Sarah has so many wonderful things to say, but this quote (above) from her interview is really touching and one of my favorites.

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018 Stephen Barry - Part 2

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"Keep asking questions. It's ok to ask yourself what you want out of life, out of your experience. It's ok to not know, to not have all the answers or know exactly where you stand"

 

-Stephen Barry 

This is the second half of my conversation with Stephen Barry. We pick up after he had an argument with his mother and decided to run away from home. Later in the episode Stephen discusses how he grew frustrated with God and when he prayed his last prayer. Stephen also tells the story of coming out atheist to his mom. He shares his thoughts on coming out to his mom a second time and one of his favorite quotes about "owning your truth". His song "Live for Life", which I share in the introduction, can be found along with his other music at https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com


Stephen's Resources:

Everyone's Agnostic Podcast
with Cass Midgley and Dr. Bob Pondillo
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/everyones-agnostic-2/everyones-agnostic

Angels and Airwaves: The Revelator
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-6I704S998

Twitter
@barryorchestra https://twitter.com/barryorchestra

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/barryorchestra?fref=search

Tumblr
http://barryorchestra.tumblr.com

Email
barryorchestra@gmail.com


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018 Stephen Barry - Part 1

"It was legit. I accepted it. I believed it. I would pray to God and I tried to see God as my friend"

-Stephen Barry

Stephen is from Chattanooga, Tennessee. He was raised by a hardworking and devout Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) mother. His father was military, which meant he moved a lot growing up. He was mostly homeschooled and around the age of 12 his parents divorced.

He was a committed Christian even as a young child. As young as 8 years old he was waking up at 4 and 5 in the morning to pray and read his Bible!!

He eventually goes to study theology at a SDA college. He subsequently experiences some difficulties with his mother at home and decides to run away.

Stephen grew to love music and has now created some fantastic music of his own! It's unique and a lot of fun to listen to. Check it out:

https://barryorchestra.bandcamp.com

Don't miss part 2 of my interview with Stephen. He explains his deconversion and discusses coming-out in more ways than one.  

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017 Steve Hilliker - Part 2: Re-Thinking the Bible, My Denial Ends & Identity Crisis Begins. I Tell My Devout Christian Mother I'm an Atheist

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"This was my plan B and now this was gone, in an instant. The moment you said that was the moment I realized my faith had ended"

-Steve Hilliker

In part two of my story, I learn of different ways Christians interpret the Bible. Discussing these views with my wife results in a comment she makes, snapping me out of denial. 

My identity crisis begins and I struggle to come to terms with my new reality. I eventually decide I'm an atheist, but everyone else thinks I'm a strong Christian still planning to be a pastor.

I can't live a lie any longer and decide to tell my devout Christian mother I'm an atheist.

http://www.sundayassembly.com

http://voicesofdeconversion.com/coming-out-atheist-to-my-mother

http://voicesofdeconversion.com/home/

https://twitter.com/vodpodcast (@vodpodcast)

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017 Steve Hilliker - Part 1: Aspiring Pastor, Studying The Bible. My Relationship w/God is Unexpectedly Challenged

"At least you can look back if you try and you fail and say, I gave it my best shot, my best effort, I tried...but I didn't. That was really hard for me to accept, that basically I quit on myself is how I felt"

-Steve Hilliker

I grew up in a conservative evangelical (fundamentalist) Christian home. We went to church every Sunday and God was an important part of my life.

As I entered high school and realized my childhood dream wasn't panning out, my trust in God grew stronger. I began studying the Bible and loved it! I enjoyed occasionally preaching at youth group and attended multiple churches each week (for a period of time). I wanted to live out my faith, so I stopped swearing, listening to secular music, watching R rated movies and avoided partying. 

After my freshman year at Washington State University, I came home and Krissy and I began dating. We got married a few years later. We wanted to trust God in everything, so that included family planning!  

I transferred to Trinity Lutheran College and began working toward my Bachelor's degree in Biblical Studies. I loved studying and preaching the Bible, so becoming a pastor was a solid decision, or so we thought.

As life became increasingly difficult to manage (full time work and school, two kids under age 2, depression), our plan for life and understanding of God began to be challenged.

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@vodpodcast

https://www.facebook.com/vodpodcast/

016 Skeptic Nikki (Nikki Terry)

"The more you understand the less you attribute God to. God isn't just a catch-all, 'I don't know so, God'"

-Nikki Terry

Nikki Terry (Skeptic Nikki) was raised an evangelical fundamentalist Christian in the Bible belt of Tennessee. After years of following suit and hoping this would lead to acceptance she realized she didn't see eye to eye with the limited thinking around her. 

In college she explored hinduism, buddhism and new age beliefs. She spent hundreds on crystals chakra readings, Deepak Chopra and Eckhart Tolle books. The only thing new age about her now are two Sanskrit tattoos. Prompting from a friend helped her make her way from agnostic to atheist. 

Skeptic Nikki was born on Twitter and has become an influential platform for atheism, logic and education. Her blog skepticnikki.com is in the works, in addition to a video podcast using socratic and epistemological questioning and motivational interviewing to help people move away from entrapping religious belief.

Nikki and her fiancé live in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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015 Kristen Hovet

"The silence of everyone in the church...when people found out that we left the church, our peers were silent. That was the predominant reaction"

-Kristen Hovet

Kristen is an American-Canadian journalist and writer who specializes in psychology, health, science and the intersection of sociology and culture. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers. She has a degree in English from Simon Fraser University. She's completed certificate courses in epigenetics, personalized medicine, human physiology and genetics and evolution. She hosts the Humans of Earth podcast, a profile podcast interviewing people from all around the world, highlighting their lives and aiming to bridge the us vs. them divide through shared stories.

Born in Williston North Dakota, she currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her interests include languages, travel, music and yoga.

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Kristen Hovet
http://kristenhovet.blogspot.com

kristenmh@alumni.sfu.ca

https://www.facebook.com/kristenmhovet/

https://theestablishment.co/the-hidden-trauma-of-life-after-fundamentalism-110946ab05f2

Humans of Earth Podcast
https://soundcloud.com/humans-earth

Marlene Winell-Leaving the Fold
http://marlenewinell.net/index.html

 

014 James Jackson

"It was the first time in my life that I was liberated, and it could not have happened really at a worse time"

-James Jackson

James endured an alcoholic, severely abusive Step-Father and subsequent depression. He grew up in the heart of evangelical Christian country in Texas.  His Dad was obsessed with End Times theology. James never stopped asking the right questions!

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013 Vix of Nigerian Atheists/Agnostics

"The worst part is my mom blames herself. She says it happened because she didn't pray hard enough. You're telling me you worship God and God promises he's going to look out for you, but you didn't pray hard enough and that's why your son died"

-Vix

She Co-Runs the Nigerian Atheist/Agnostic Movement's Facebook Page

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