Stephen Bradford Long is a writer, yoga teacher, and esoteric Christian living and working in North Carolina. His work focuses on faith, doubt, sexuality, culture, and other subjects that strike his fancy.
This week, instead of my regular Sacred Tension podcast, I’m releasing my Patrons-only podcast House of Heretics. It’s blasphemous, unedited, and a lot of fun. Justin and I drink coffee and discuss pop culture, religion, science, and whatever else strikes our fancy.
If you like what you hear, please consider becoming a patron by going to Patreon. Finances are tight, even though I’m working full time, and I need your help to make sure my work has a long life.
You can listen to this episode on iTunes, Podbean, your favorite podcast app, or on the player below.
I hit a breaking point today. I woke up and discovered that I just couldn’t do social media anymore. My gears had ground to a halt. Burnout sneaks up on me, and when it’s time for me to burn a bridge, I douse it in gasoline and incinerate it.
Note: If you have been following my work for any amount of time, you know that I do, in fact, consider myself a Satanist. I’ve written a great deal on the subject, and you can read that wealth of information by following the Satanism category. If this is the first time you are encountering my work, I suggest exploring that category so you will (hopefully) be less confused.
Despite my self identification of Satanist, I don’t leave the church. Many of my dearest friends are devout Christians, I still interview Christians, I still review Christian books, and I still work at a church (which shall remain nameless, so they don’t get hate mail about me.) Why?
I have long been an advocate for expanding the definition of religion beyond mere supernatural belief. I find Robert Bellah’s definition of religion particularly helpful: religion is “a set of symbolic forms and acts which relate man to the ultimate conditions of his existence.”
In this episode of Sacred Tension, I talk to my longtime friend Kodiak about his journey into Odin worship. Along the way, we talk about the significance of ritual, blood sacrifice, and the rise of white nationalism in some pagan circles.
I love Christianity. I love the symbolism, the myth, the ritual. I love Augustine, and Chesterton, and C.S. Lewis, and T.S. Eliot, and Thomas Aquinas, and the Saints, and the story of the cosmic Christ who came to earth to save us all. To my very core, I love it. But I feel it’s time to let go of the label Christian altogether, primarily because I’m exceedingly tired.
In this episode of Sacred Tension I sit down with author and logic professor Ben Burgis to discuss his latest book, Give Them an Argument, and what figures on the right like Peterson, Harris, and Shapiro get wrong.
Hi Stephen – I’m sticking with you. But, I’ll be honest, the enthusiasm for Satanism gives me pause. OK… creeps me out, actually. But, as is the case with each topic you explore, I am learning things I did not know. I did not know, for instance, that the Satanic Temple is non-theist. Nor did I know that the Church of Satan is a separate & different organization from TST. I had assumed that anyone who affiliates with any Satanic group is doing so to worship Evil & Chaos. No Thank You! But, you are informing me otherwise. Yet I wonder, why Satan, a word/entity that elicits fear & revulsion in many people, myself included? If TST doesn’t worship Satan, indeed, doesn’t even think he exists, why use that name?
This is an excellent question, and this is the sort of conversation I want to have. As we move deeper into an interconnected, multi-cultural world, conversations in which our divergent views collide is necessary. It is paramount that, even if our intuitions and convictions don’t change, we understand where our fellow human beings are coming from.
This is the question I get asked the most: why Satan? Wouldn’t it be easier, more effective, more expedient to use a label that doesn’t fill the public with revulsion? The answer is probably yes — it would be more effective. And that speaks to how this is not a ploy or strategy, but rather a deeply held religious identity.