3 Reasons to Read Faitheist by Chris Stedman

When I was first expressing my interest in interfaith work, a friend of mine had suggested looking into a man by the name of Chris Stedman, an atheist interfaith activist. After following his work, I was ecstatic when his book came out and I can safely say it is one of my favorite books and inspired me to start this blog.

Source: Faitheist

This book is my go-to book to recommend to people who are looking for something to read. Today I’m giving you 3 main reasons why I think everyone (including you!) should read this book:

1.You’ll learn something new about interfaith work and the non-religious.

Before reading this book, I was really struggling to find someone else who really felt that bringing the non-religious into the interfaith conversation was important. In Faitheist, Stedman acknowledges this void in the interfaith community as well as the misconceptions about both the non-religious and interfaith cooperation that comes with it. In his book, he walks you through his own personal journey and shows you why exactly it is so important that the growing population of non-religious should work together with the religious.

2. You’ll learn about the life of someone extraordinary.

Without giving the book away, the life of Chris Stedman is one full of change, exploration, and self discovery. His faith journey alone changes dramatically from being raised without a faith, to becoming an Evangelical Christian, to becoming an avid anti-religious Atheist, and now an Atheist working towards interfaith cooperation. He also tells the story of when he realized he was gay and his experience with his sexual orientation and being an Evangelical Christian; a very difficult time in his life which would eventually lead him to realize he is an Atheist. He’s traveled across the world, lived in many places, and all the while learning such valuable lessons which he shares with his readers in a captivating way.

3. You’ll learn more about yourself.

When reading this book I felt like so many of my own views were articulated through Chris Stedman’s powerful words. However I also learned so many things I didn’t know and felt so many feelings that I hadn’t felt in a long time. While reading this book I laughed, I cried, I thought, and I believed in what he was saying. After reading this book you will have gained such a new perspective and become a different (and better) person for it.

Interested? You can read more about the book and buy it here on the official website! I can’t recommend this book enough for everyone from all walks of life! It really is an inspirational book. I encourage you to read it and be inspired like I was.

Last LGBT Mass: A Reflection on the Hardships of Interfaith Work

One of the most difficult things about interfaith dialogue is talking about the issues that people disagree on. It can be so easy to sit down and find the commonalities between you and someone else, but to sit down and talk about the things you don’t agree on can be painful. It is for this reason that I feel it is important to talk about the last LGBT mass held in Soho, an area in Westminster, England.

Read the BBC article from Sunday.

Photo credit: Pink News

I stumbled¬† across this article today when looking through the Religion articles on BBC, and quite frankly it made me sad. It is disheartening to see a community of people who support each other, and in this case have been doing so for six years, have to disband. Reading the article I felt the sadness of this community who supported and embraced each other in their faith over the past six years now have that support system taken away because who they love and are attracted to “contradicted the teachings of the church.”

Now I am not ignorant of the Church’s teachings. I know that the Catholic Church has some pretty strong statements and teachings regarding homosexuality and how it is believed to be wrong. But personally I really struggle with this. How is it that a religion which is so welcoming of all different people can throw out this entire community of people who embrace their Catholic faith in Soho? Why is there hate instead of love? I’ve been asking these kinds of questions for years and I still don’t have any answers.

Despite all this article says, I don’t see this as the end of the road for LGBT Catholics. Yes it’s a setback, but there has to be a way for these groups of people to coexist and for LGBT people to be able to practice their Catholic faith. I want to be respectful of the Catholic Church and all that it believes, because there are so many things about the faith that work to accept and help the marginalized in the world. However I really think that this is something they got wrong. I feel that if the people of the Vatican got to talk with someone who went to this specific church they might see things differently. Maybe they would see the community as a welcoming place of worship like so many other churches across the globe. That’s something amazing about dialoguing: even when talking about stark differences between two people or groups, you still end up finding something in common.

Now there are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties surrounding this issue, but what I do know is that I’m not giving up on the Church. I believe that someday people from all different walks of life can come together to practice the faith that speaks truth to their hearts and work together to make the world a better place.

And that my friends will be a great day for religious pluralism.