Please take a moment to read this. It’s about us.
I chose this picture of me with this t-shirt because what I have to say is very complicated. But it’s very simple too.
I want to thank all you TLSers for an incredible year. Well, it’s been over a year. But I’m writing this now because I feel like I’m finally getting some much needed focus.
I started this site to be a resource for people who want to be spiritually independent. Either they are in the church and struggling to stay while finding their own spiritual path. Or they are leaving the church and need help. Or they have left the church and are looking for any kind of support they can find. Some are believers. Some are agnostics. Some are atheists. Some aren’t sure. Some don’t care.
My job was to provide these resources, these means of support, and invite these also from any members who joined so that I could catalog them for other members to use.
One surprise that I didn’t expect was that you could become friends with one another and become a community, a collective of people on similar paths. This was a wonderful and time-consuming development, and one I welcomed with joy.
This made me realize that all my education, training and experience as a theologian and as a pastor were not in vain. In fact, I had to reluctantly admit the fact that I was, in a way, a kind of pastor of a kind of online church made up of believers, agnostics and atheists and everyone else. I was reluctant to use words like “pastor” and “church” because these can be triggers for some people, including myself! So they are only provisional. They are only signs that point to something more, something different. But I find these signs helpful in pointing me towards what I feel is my call, my vocation, and my task. I am the nakedpastor. TLS is my church. A pastor of a different kind. A church of a different kind. Sometimes I prefer the word “moderator” or “overseer”. Sometimes I prefer the word “community” or “collective”. Whatever works at whatever time in whatever place for whatever person for whatever reason.
We’ve lost some people along the way as we’ve also gained some. Some people only needed to see that they weren’t crazy and alone, and that was all they needed to know. Some people didn’t like the diversity. Some people felt we weren’t Christian enough. Others felt we weren’t atheist enough. Some people just couldn’t get along with others. Some didn’t like the way I was running it. Some found that it got them through a rough season and they don’t need TLS anymore. Some decided they can’t afford the $7/ month. For whatever reason, we are in flux… growing and changing in so many different ways.
This keeps me, believe me, on my toes. It’s also, like I’ve already said, forced me to focus. To get back on track. I am going to provide resources. I am going to teach. I am going to develop our catalog. I will create more podcasts and videos. I will continue to build a safe space for community to occur. I will continue to make a place where you can help yourself to a vast inventory of resources so that you may experience spiritual health for the rest of your life. You will not hear from me every single day. Quality over quantity. But when you do hear from me it will be useful, helpful, resourceful, beneficial… all those things and more! That’s my commitment to you.
There! There it is. Thank you for listening.