About a month ago I had a bit of a crisis because of which I came pretty damn close to coming out of the closet. Ours is a really small church, so it's impossible to hide behind other members - everyone is expected to pull their weight, be a part of running things and occasionally show their face up front. I've done so before without much of a problem, but things were different then. I was quite depressed at the time - things hadn't been going well in my life, I was hard at work self tutoring for my frickin A Levels and I didn't want to add to the stress by having to deal with the fallout of refusing to do it and possibly having to come out, so I sucked it up and did it, and managed to fake a smile while I was at it. Things had changed a month ago. I was feeling much better with myself, I'd been too late to register for exams this November and so will be writing next June, so a whole load of stress had been lifted off my shoulders. So when my mother told me I was supposed to be preaching the next Saturday I was just kind of like, "bleh". I really wasn't under any pressure and didn't care much.
It was the Friday before the big day that I started to freak out. I realised just how little I gave a damn, how I seriously couldn't be bothered to even pull something random out of my ass like I usually did when in this situation, and realised the implications of it. I was going to have to come out, tell everyone just why I couldn't stand up and defecate out of my mouth anymore. Looking for some assistance and support, I turned to the group Ex-Adventists and Seventh-day Atheists on Atheist Nexus. The conversation is on the comment wall. So thanks to advice from Dustin Williams (creator of the group and author of the great blog dwnomad) I decided to pull some stock sermon from the internet on a subject of basic morality and give that. I settled on this sermon, emphasising on how even the godless are moral folk and cutting out that downright libellous second paragraph. I'd then proceed to out myself that evening while everyone was having cake.
Well, things didn't quite go as planned. I discovered the next morning that I had been rescheduled - one of the church elders was taking that day and I would be preaching the next week. This kind of robbed me of my momentum. I decided not to do it that day and deliberate whether I would go for it sometime during the week. Other doubts began to crop up in my head - how would my parents react to my being atheist? Would they take away my allowance and computer privileges? Would I be forced to attend until the day I left home? My parents are pretty hard to read sometimes. At times I think they might be accepting and treat me like an adult. Then they say or do something that convinces me never, ever to say a thing. In the end I decided not to do it, but just do the sermon which was really about something every moral person ought to agree with. I ended up not having to give the sermon anyway - a visiting pastor was around and took over that week's activities.
Other than that, my life's been peachy. We just moved to a new neighbourhood and will probably be switching churches as well since our old one is now almost 30 minutes' dive away. The church we'll probably be moving to is much bigger than our old one, so I can blend in and keep a low profile. I promise I'll be a lot more active on the blogging front - I came to an epiphany a short while ago. Being an undercover atheist does have its advantages. Listening to all the kookoo things the religious people around me say gives me great ammo for my blog and allows me a glimpse into the psyche of the religious mind. So at the very least you can expect a weekly "Sabbath School" post about something I heard at church, as well as a few miscellaneous random things that kind of pop into my head. I'm also working on a series of essays detailing my journey to godlessness so that I can have a handy resource to point anyone wondering how I got where I am today and who wants to understand the reasoning behind the decisions I've made. I think they'll come invaluable when I finally do come out.