I grew up in a conservative Christian home and then I grew out of it.
From the age of seven I knew I wanted to be like my mom and dad, preaching and working in the church. After 9 years I preached my first sermon before starting college three years later.
It was in college where my conservative Christian perspective was challenged and I began to look at scripture, people and responsibility differently. On the home front I was being groomed to become the new status quo pastor, seeking to preach the good news of benefited blessings to the white straight middle-class American.
I grew up in college and my perspectives changed and I began to look at the poor with new eyes. I began to see the exile others experienced because of who they loved, the color of their skin, their immigration status, who they worshiped and I began to speak out.
After several years of this, the straw broke the camels back when I came out as an Ally for the LGBTQ Community in June of 2015. In a matter of weeks I lost credibility, friends and my ability to be ordained in my Christian faith tradition.
I felt alone, exiled without an identity. This may seem dramatic, but after you spend the better part of your life, 5 years of higher education and tens-of-thousands of dollars to become a pastor things get a little dark after you are told you can no longer do it.
I lived in exile, became an atheist, finding my faith again in the most unsuspected ways and rediscovering the beauty of a Christ in the neglected
I know there are others who have reached out to me who have experienced something similar. I want people to know that they are not alone and they have a home in exile.