Sacred Tension Podcast, Ep. 2: Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious, With David Dark

In this episode I have a conversation with author David Dark about how to navigate the murky and triggering topic of religion. Many of us have religious baggage of some kind, and David Dark provides some thought provoking insights into engaging the subject of religion in a new way.

David Dark’s website

David Dark on Twitter

Music for the show is provided by The Jellyrox

Artwork by Justin Caleb Bryant

Sacred Tension Ep. 1: Escape From Scientology: A Conversation With Chris Shelton

In this episode I have a conversation with Chris Shelton, who was a member of Scientology for nearly three decades. We talk about his experience of horrific abuse in the Sea Org, how he eventually escaped, and how easy it is for human beings to fall prey to cults and crazy beliefs.

Chris’s Show: The Sensibly Speaking Podcast

My appearance on Sensibly Speaking.

Music for the podcast is provided by The Jellyrox.

Artwork by Justin Caleb Bryant.

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Sacred Tension, Episode Zero: The Spiritual Discipline of Asking Questions

Welcome to Sacred Tension: a podcast about entering the spiritual discipline of asking questions.

I was born gay and Christian, and struggling with that dichotomy my entire life has led me to understand that most of us are in similar interstitial spaces: between religion and science, faith and skepticism, conservative and liberal, gay and straight.

This podcast is an invitation to explore those uncomfortable places with me.

Thanks for joining me. I hope we learn a lot together.

Music is provided by The Jellyrox.

Artwork is by Justin Caleb Bryant.

An Esoteric Christian and a Former Scientologist Have a Conversation

An Esoteric Christian and a Former Scientologist
Photo by Ian Espinosa on Unsplash

I recently had a fun, engaging, meeting-of-the-minds conversation with former Scientologist Chris Shelton for his Sensibly Speaking show. In our conversation we discussed struggling with atheism, deconstruction of faith, inner truth vs. outer truth, speaking in tongues, yoga, and much more. I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation, and I hope you enjoy listening to it.

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A New Kind of Christianity: Inner Truth Vs. Outer Truth

A New Kind of Christianity
Photo by John-Mark Kuznietsov on Unsplash

I’ve written a lot about faith and doubt within Christianity over the past year or so. Doubt has been my constant, dark companion. I can understand now why Martin Luther (according to myth) hurled a bottle of ink at a devil that was taunting him. I’ve been hurling my own ink, trying to fend off the monster.

I could easily shrug off the doubt and turn to the warm light of my faith, stuffing all the questions back into the box, but I can’t do that. My understanding of integrity doesn’t let me shrug off genuine questions. I know that I need to value truth, and that truth requires certain proofs to be true. I know that humility, asking questions, and accepting my capacity to be wrong is integral to living a good, upright life.

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Gay Celibacy and Sublimated Desire

For the past year or so, I’ve been lurking on a Christian website called Your Other Brothers, which features the daily struggles of men pursuing gay celibacy, or marriages with women.

I’m somewhat infatuated with YOB, because it is such a startling window into the gay celibate world I inhabited in high school and college. It’s been a catalyst for self-reflection, and a good opportunity to sort through that era of my life.

YOB is also an excellent window into a world that many people may not comprehend. I encourage everyone to visit their blog and peruse it – it’s an alien, threatening world to many, but I also know that they are good guys trying to do the best they can with what life has given them. I can speak with confidence on that front – I know some of them, and I admire their integrity. And, just a few years ago, I was one of them.

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I Will Make Him a Helper: Homosexuality and Erotic Union

2 silhouetted figured look into a starry expanse

As I’ve told my story of failure and wounding within a commitment to lifelong celibacy – and how I have eventually walked away from it – the most common response from conservative Christians has been withering. The vast majority of them who have responded on social media and the blogosphere have been singing variations of, “so what you are saying is that you cannot live without sex.” When they hear me say that Side B (the traditional view of gay marriage) crushed me, they assume that’s because I can only conceive of intimacy as a sexual act, that I have an idolatrous view of romance, and that I see sex and romance as the most fulfilling experience on earth. They also assume that I have a misplaced understanding of community and friendship.

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