Hi, all! I know it has been a very long time since I’ve created any new content for this site. I never intended to go into blogging hiatus for seven months, but in the meantime I’ve been promoting my coedited anthology, Empty the Pews: Stories of Leaving the Church. I was doing some public speaking and interfaith work before the pandemic.
In mid-November, I spoke in New York about the distortions of my Christian school education at the Amish Heritage Foundation’s second annual conference, which was focused on the goal of overturning Wisconsin v. Yoder, the 1973 Supreme Court case that allows the Amish to educate their children only through eighth grade, and thereby establishes that American children do not have a federal right to an education. I quoted Amish Heritage Foundation founder and children’s rights advocate Torah Bontrager in one of my recent irregular contributions to Political Research Associates.
While in New York, I got to see my friend Lauren O’Neal (coeditor of Empty the Pews, which came out a couple weeks after the conference). I also got to meet fellow Hoosier ex-evangelical Joy Haven, who has since a Moving Toward Justice fellowship to pursue a project “that focuses on the power of communal dance and music for ex-evangelicals and former fundamentalists to build friendships and support individual and collective healing.” I’m so glad to have made friends with her and excited for her work!
Speaking of Indiana, in February, I got to go “back home” to do a college visit and some interfaith work. Thanks to the efforts of Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis Professor Jeremy Price and his colleagues, I got to visit several IUPUI classes as well as have lunch with students involved in the interfaith and LGBTQ student groups. And then, on the evening of February 17, I participated in a panel discussion called “Roots and Resistance: Uneasy Relationships between White Nationalism and Christianity,” sponsored by IUPUI’s Consortium for the Study of Religion, Ethics, and Society and held at the Center for Interfaith Cooperation.
Over this period, I’ve also been progressing in my gender transition and often fighting fatigue, though I seem to be on the upswing now despite the stress that has been added to all of our lives by the COVID-19 pandemic. I am luckier than most in the face of the coronavirus threat. After a relative dry spell in freelancing that caused me to drive up my credit card balance to a level that made me quite uncomfortable, I now have two regular freelance writing gigs, with Religion Dispatches and The Conversationalist.
Meanwhile, the kind of work I was able to do this last fall and winter got me thinking a lot about the importance of articulating a practice of navigating pluralism as a democratic value. I’ve published two relatively recent articles on the subject, here and here, and today I decided to make a new infographic (below) to help spread the message as well. You are welcome to download and distribute the image for noncommercial purposes.
That’s all for now, but I’ve been turning over a lot of ideas in my head for new posts and new additions to this site. Hopefully I won’t neglect it for so long again any time soon!