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.
Several days ago, an ugly battle over the resurrection of Christ exploded on theological twitter. It started when two prominent theologians started tweeting about a non-literal perspective of the resurrection, and the conversation quickly devolved into a morass of ugliness and bitterness. The details of the debate are immaterial to this post, so I won’t get into them. What stands out to me, though, is that many of the people defending the literal view of the resurrection were my fellow LGBT progressives. As I read through these tweets, and absorbed a toxic dose of twitter radiation, I had a painful realization, and I suddenly understood why my departure from credal Christian faith has hurt so much. I realized that, over the course of years, I slowly became an outsider to the very LGBT communities I helped build.
I recently moved to a new house, and as is often the case when big life changes arrive, my mental health collapsed. It doesn’t matter that it’s a good change – my deep reptile brain doesn’t understand the difference between positive and negative change, it just feels the disruption and responds with panic.
Ever since coming out as an atheist, I’ve noticed a few recurring questions about my unbelief. I thought I would offer a few clarifications so I can refer people to this article when the questions come up again.
In this episode of Sacred Tension, I talk to Reverend Lori Walke: a badass lady preacher, public theologian, and social activist who is prominently featured in the new documentary American Heretics: The Politics of the Gospel.
I’ve discussed in great detail the ways in which Satanism works for me. I’ve explained that I see self-aware, non theistic religion as healthier and more enlightened than theistic and un-self-aware religion. I’ve explained that Satan is not a real figure, but a metaphor for the unbowed will and icon of the outsider, and that my Satanism is not necessarily anti-Christian, but rather a positive and separate post-Christian concoction.
And yet, I realized recently that one of the most crucial aspects of my Satanism, and religious life in general, has been neglected in these explanations.
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.