LGBT Antifragility and Calling In: Best Comments of February 2021

I am resurrecting my Best Comments Series from the grave, because I have some incredibly smart readers who write incredibly intelligent and thought provoking things. So far this year we have had discussions about antifragility, calling in vs. calling out, and much more.

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Guest Post: Reinforcing Evangelical Fear

This is a guest post by Warden Sif. Warden Sif has been interested in religion his whole life, and obtained a degree in history and theology. He has identified as a Christian, Deist, Agnostic, Atheist, Apistevist and, at this point, a Satanist. He began following TST’s efforts in 2015 and officially joined a few years later. His Twitter can be found here. He can also be found on BaphoNet Antisocial Network, its associated Discord server and the Sacred Tension Discord server.

After reading Mr. Morehead’s guest post titled “Why Are Evangelicals So Afraid of Halloween?” I was inspired to write further on something he touched on at the end of his article. I’ve tried in the past to emphasize his final point, but I consistently get push back from a fair number of other Satanists:

But understanding the psychological underpinnings of Evangelical prejudices and stances in popular culture toward others is helpful in formulating appropriate responses. Responding in-kind with fear, prejudice and alienation will only exacerbate our tensions in an extremely polarized environment. If you’re angry with Evangelicals over any number of things, including their stereotypes of Satanists, I get it. But I think we need to try to understand their fears rather than reinforce them.

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Guest Post: Satan in the Red Light District

This is a guest post by S, a reader of the blog and listener of Sacred Tension. If you would like to write a guest post for the blog, please send submissions via my contact page.

There is a strip club in the red light district of Amsterdam called the Banana Bar. 

At first glance it looks like any other sex business in the crowded tapestry of bright advertisements, with its illuminated signs of bananas and naked girls riding them. If you look more closely, you will notice that the windows are covered with tasteful art nouveau style nude paintings, and that the facade is completely black. The unusual appearance of the building, as well as the banana-gimmick for which the club is famous, belong to the legacy of a convent that used to house here: the Walburga Abbey of the Dutch Church of Satan, or Kerk van Satan

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Sacred Tension: Conspiracy Insurrection with Lucien Greaves

In this episode I’m joined once again by Lucien Greaves, co-founder and spokesperson for The Satanic Temple. We discuss the insurrection at the capitol, the role conspiracy theories play in American politics, the quagmire of tech platforms and free speech, and what he thinks of breakfast foods.

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Satan Has Always Been My Home

I understand how, to many onlookers, my conversion to Satanism could seem like an extraordinary escalation. For years I was a committed Christian, dedicated to the church and to following Christ. My mission in life as a Christian was simply to be normal, included, at home: I wanted a place in the church as a gay person. As such, I was generally a very well-behaved gay, and my faith was everything to me even when I wished it wasn’t.

How, then, did I find myself as a Satanist? When looked through the lens of my previous religious life, nothing can seem more scandalous and overly dramatic than my Satanism.

The truth is that my leap from Christianity to Satanism was not a large one at all. It was simple, obvious, and intuitive.

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Sacred Tension: Scientology, Conspiracy Theories, and Satanism with Ross Blocher

In this episode of Sacred Tension I’m joined by Ross Blocher, cohost of the podcast Oh No Ross and Carrie. Every week Ross and Carrie investigate a different outlandish claim, try a spiritual practice, or join a fringe religion. Ross and I discuss what he’s learned from Scientology, the rise of conspiracy theories in America, my own relationship with Satanism, and much more.

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Sacred Tension: Recovered Memories and Satanic Ritual Abuse with Evan Anderson of Grey Faction

In this episode I speak with Evan Anderson, director of Grey Faction. 

Grey Faction is an educational and advocacy organization whose mission is to protect mental health patients and their families from dangerous pseudoscience and discredited therapies, particularly in the area of so-called “repressed memories.”

We discuss the resurrection of Satanic Panic in modern culture, and how mental health professionals are carrying on the harmful practices that helped spark in the original Satanic Panic in the 80’s. 

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Practicing Antifragility as a Gay Person

Note: whenever I start to veer into the topics explored in this post, some people feel defensive or angry. Perhaps they feel like my words are a judgement of their own complicated lives, which is never my intention. Because of this, I want to premise this article with saying that this is about me, not about you. If you read my words and feel like they don’t map onto your own experience as an LGBT+ person, then chances are good that my words in this post don’t reflect your reality. They aren’t a judgment or an expectation. As with everything, my story fits within an intersectional lens, and it would probably be different if I were a person of color, trans, or of a different economic status. If, however, you do feel like my words in this article resonate, then I’m glad you are able to take something from my story and apply it to your life.

Back 2013, I rose to prominence as a gay Christian blogger fighting for the inclusion of LGBT people in the church (incidentally, my blog was called Sacred Tension, which is now the name of my podcast.) I was hell bent on creating a better world for LGBT Christians, and I’m still convinced that my writing from that time is some of the best I’ve ever done in my life. However, I was also incredibly fragile. I suffered regular breakdowns, and I do mean genuine, horrifically painful breakdowns, in which I would self-harm, plummet down suicidal abysses, and go on reckless, compulsive sexual benders.

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