I had a pretty fantastic childhood. My parents were and are incredibly loving and supportive. My sister and I get along great, though I know we both wish we were closer and could spend more time together. I had wonderful friends and I grew up middle to upper middle class. Life wasn’t all too hard, and my biggest worries were how I’d get the homework that I had procrastinated on done in time.
I grew up Christian. My parents were at various times business owners, pastors, worship leaders, musicians on worship teams, Christian-band members, solo artists and more. I still remember some of the Bible verses I memorized when I was but a little older than a toddler. When I was old enough, I tried out youth group—reluctantly, as I was a shy introvert—which quickly turned into volunteering, and volunteering turned into building sets and running sound, video and lights. After college, my first grown-up job was at a mega-church. I worked “in the ministry” for six years until I started my own business.
It’s safe to say I knew a thing or two about God, the Bible, Jesus, Noah and all the rest. I worked at churches. I lead small groups. I prayed and read my Bible. I was a Christian’s Christian.
Until I wasn’t anymore.
Three days ago I outed myself. In the wake of World Vision’s on-and-off-again relationship with gay Christians, I wrote a passionately-worded blog post where I dropped in the almost throwaway line that I used to be a Christian. Anyone who really knows me already knew—and anyone who pays attention on social media probably assumed—that I wasn’t the same Bible-loving Josh I’d always been. But I don’t think I’ve ever really come out and said it to the masses.
Needless to say, I got some questions.
So I decided it was time to share my journey with a wider audience. I like writing and I need to do more of it. And I need to write more when I’m not angry. Nothing drives me to blog more than injustice, but nobody wants to read my barbed rantings all the time—I know I don’t. It’s time to write more from a good place, and I think my path to and from and from and to God is a good place to start.
It’s going to get messy. It’ll probably be a little awkward. Hopefully I can be funny and maybe—with any luck—a little poignant. I can promise not to know anything. I’ll probably always be way too wordy.
It took me almost three years to admit many of these things to the people closest to me. The idea that I was writing my own ticket to hell was scary. Even scarier was that those I know and love may not love me anymore. But that—by and large—has not been the case. I’m constantly amazed by the people in my life. There are so many wonderful friends, full of grace, who love and support me even when they don’t necessarily agree with me. There are some who are on a similar-but-not-quite-parallel path as I am. I’ve also made several new friends along the way. I’ll tell some of their stories.
I hope you’ll follow along. I hope you’ll agree and I hope you’ll disagree. I hope that when you do, you’ll tell me. One of my favorite things in life is spirited debate with people who know what the hell they’re talking about and can challenge me. One of the things I hate most is vitriolic war, hidden behind the avatars of Facebook, Twitter and their ilk. So let’s talk, but let’s talk nice.
By 2010 I knew I needed a change. I needed to separate myself from the hyper-spiritualized life that had defined my previous 29 years on the Earth. I needed a fresh start.
I needed to get to zero …