Thursday, September 20, 2012

Moving forward...


How’ve you been?

Yes, yes. It’s been a long time, I know. What have I been up to? Well…..

- I got divorced. I did post, once, right after that so I guess I don’t need to mention that but it seemed like the appropriate place to start.
- I became an atheist activist. 
- I started a freethinkers group, the Flagstaff Freethinkers
- I started volunteering with the Secular Coalition forArizona as their Community Outreach and Development Director
- I started dating the only professional, state-level secular lobbyist in the country
- I commenced to lose myself in volunteering – both for the coalition and elsewhere, being a single dad half-time, developing the Flagstaff Freethinkers – 150 members and growing,  as well as other nontheist communities throughout the state, going to conferences all over the country, building a relationship – oh yeah, and keeping that day job thing going.

Who cares, right? Yeah.. I know – I’m just giving the background.

So what have I really been doing?

What I have been doing is evolving my ideas around what this movement is, what I think it should be and what, if any, role I should play in it. Even more fundamentally I have been learning. I have been developing, expanding my concept of ethics and compassion. I have learned about the work of Greg Epstein and the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard. I have learned about Ethical Culture. I have learned about the Unitarian Universalists. I have had some hard lessons, I have had knapsack thoroughly unpacked with Sikivu Hutchinson. I have seen the amazing efforts of diplomats in the disheartening fight for secularism in my theocratic state of Arizona. I have broken bread with Dawkins but it was the conversation with Sean Faircloth that I remember most from that night. I stood in the rain at the Reason Rally but it was the march to the hill at the Secular Coalition for America’s lobby day that made the trip to D.C. valuable to me.

I was content for a long time, mostly because I needed it as part of my process, to pick religious dogmas and cultures and cannons and ‘moralities’ to pieces. I had an axe to grind and believe you me I still do! I also am ready for more than that. I need more than that. I want to do more than point out the problems, I am not here to champion atheism, really what I want is to participate in efforts towards solutions.

I need community. I need social justice. I need to do something productive and positive. I need to participate in active compassion. So that’s what I will be working on, and writing about much of the way moving forward – building community, finding purpose in service and social justice and the way all of that is motivated by a purely secular worldview. It’s not all going to be secular community activism, Engineers Without Boarders, Humanist schools in Uganda. I still have a lot to vent about. There is at least as much JTEberhard left in me as there is Chris Stedman so I will probably be a little “bi-polar” between my firebrand and my diplomat but that is who I am right now.

I wish I had been writing about this personal process along the way. I would like to have been more conscious and attentive to it for one thing but I would also like to have documented it and shared it with you good people, well… person. The next post will be a short discussion of my thoughts looking back at it from where I am now.