Is This a ...Christian Substack Now?!
You may be asking, and I am asking too.
Hello! To the new and to the old. I’ve had a lot of life changes and identity crises (plural!) in the last three and a half years… it just won’t let up.
This post is mostly for all of us to get our bearings… or really… for me to get my bearings and …share my bearings.
You might be receiving this email because you signed up long, long ago to get emails from me about your relationship with food. In early 2022, I imported a list of about 41,000 email addresses who had signed up to hear from me over the previous ten years. Most signed up to get emails from me about The F*ck It Diet and their relationship with food — so when I emailed for the first time from substack, (this new platform I had just started using) the news I gave was… hey I’m uhhhh changing course! And also, I’ve had a big worldview change… you may not like it! But, here is your chance to stay or go.
Why I Started This Substack
Back when I first started writing on substack, I was writing about my disenchantment with the left. I started with a post about my crazy slander and cancellation that I experienced the year before. I was using substack as a way to stay in touch with people, but I also put some posts behind a paywall, both topics that I didn’t have the energy or resilience to get tons of outrage outrage over, and I was also posting “bonus content” that was removed from my second book, Tired as F*ck.
But really, I wasn’t sure what I was going to be writing on here. I didn’t really want to become someone who wrote about the political divide, even though that’s what I was writing about on here in the beginning, and what I was posting about on instagram… but that was only because I’d just gone through such a change in perspective that affected so much about my life and career… Truly, writing about all of that really didn’t bring me much joy. It stressed me out. It sparked tons of outrage. I knew I wasn’t making my case well enough. I knew it was only making sense to people who already agreed, or felt similarly. And… I also didn’t even have very smart or unique things to say about it.
Yea, I believe things are corrupt. I am still a moderate conspiracy theorist (now with tons of critiques of conspiracy theorists, too.) But… I dunno… I am not an expert. I am not good debater. I don’t want to debate. I don’t know how to change your mind or convince you of anything. I don’t even want to try. It all felt heavy and too polarizing to continue writing about. And I didn’t have the skills, or the desire.
So, I found myself writing semi-absurd and lighthearted things, mostly about what was going on with me, and where my head was. But, nothing that interesting was going on for me, except occasional dramas where my friend (and I) got scammed by crypto scammers.
As I wrote about what was happening in my life, it was mostly just documenting my continued descent into madness* and misery and more confusion, in the wake of covid insanity, and the disintegration of my writing career and reputation among my former readers and fans. Lots of “ahhhh I don’t even know what I write about anymore!!!!”
*The height of madness was me losing my mind hearing loud clicks all over my house. And, if you were around for that, I’d like to update you, that a year later I figured out that this was, in fact, from a click bug infestation. They start their nonstop clickety clicks in August and trail off in the fall. I found one clicking for it’s life in my windowsill, and the year-long “am I insane or is my house haunted?” mystery has been solved. And I feel vindicated.
Alright, so that’s the backstory: I changed my worldview. I lost/destroyed my former career. I semi-lost my mind in the process. Started writing on here, not sure exactly what I wrote about. I’d just spent the previous ten years writing about “The F*ck It Diet,” so sure of what I wrote about, so sure who I was writing to, so sure how to market it and communicate what my writing could offer, and what would be helpful content…
So, once I lost that focus and clarity, I was… at sea. I had a lot of guilt over my paid subscribers on here, specifically. I was (and am) so thankful for their/(your) support. But also so aware that I was being very haphazard in my posting schedule, and so unsure of what I could promise to deliver, in exchange for the support. Every piece couldn’t be as salacious or dramatic as White Violence, Apparently. I wasn’t going to magically become some brilliant socio-political commentator.
Then… the unexpected happened.
I had another big change. I started, against my will, changing my views on God and spirituality. And it was just as world shattering as anything else I’d been through in the previous few years. In fact, probably more.
It was a serious identity crisis. But it was also a humungous gift. And relief. And joy for me. I was rapt, and fascinated.
In fact, it was the only thing I was thinking about. And so, of course, it was either going to become, for at least the time being, the only thing I wrote about, or I wouldn’t be writing at all.
Unfortunately… all of the good and joy and peace that was coming from my new beliefs, was being overshadowed by the looming reality: I am going to have to write about this. I can’t continue to be a writer and keep this a secret. I can’t just keep this to myself.
Not because of any real nobility or integrity, but because… I would just be incapable of it. How could I have such a deep interest that changed my life and entire perspective (AGAIN), and not have it become part of my writing.
I assumed I’d put off writing about it as long as I could, maybe a year. I needed time to figure out what was going on and what I really believed. What if I was just losing my mind? What if I changed my mind.
But then … after only two months, I wrote New Age Demons. I guess I’m not in charge.
I posted it and waited for the fallout. I knew I’d lose people — I knew that I would have unsubscribed if I were them, too. Maybe I’d have stuck around out of curiosity for a while before finally bowing out.
But I have to say, there have also been more people than I ever expected who resonated with what I was writing about — God. Jesus. Spiritual Warfare. New Age. Occult… And my unexpected pull into believing in the thing I always thought was so silly and so closed minded and so stupid.
Since then, as you know, I’ve been writing more and more about my Jesus situation. Which has ultimately ended in my conversion to Christianity.
I wasn’t even willing to call it that - “Christianity” - for the longest time, because of all of my resistance and self-judgment over the whole thing. I was going to try to follow Jesus …without becoming a Christian.
I know why that was my impulse. I get why. I was trying to completely avoid the culty trappings of religion. I was trying to avoid the strict rules. The us vs them. The judgment. The hypocrisy. I was trying to avoid getting brainwashed by another thing that I was going to have to renounce again one day, just like I’m now renouncing ‘wokeness’ and new age spirituality.
I started out my journey, judgmental of the whole thing, but curious, thinking I was going to somehow be the one to figure out what the Bible was really saying (biggest joke ever, because I still rely so heavily on commentaries, and scholars who have studied ancient Greek, Hebrew, and the cultural context to make any sense of what I’m actually reading). I thought I was going to dive into this and understand something new that no one had understood before about Jesus and Christianity.
What’s funny is, that was the kind of gnostic approach I’d already been taking. I already had believed all of the new age, gnostic, or deconstructed beliefs about Jesus and what he was “really saying”: That we are all divine and can become, like…. uh enlightened spiritual beings and ascended masters like him and Buddha and stuff. We just had to remember our divinity and realize we are allllll onnnnne.
So as I started exploring and researching Jesus, I realized that I already had a line drawn, naturally. The problems with my previous new age, witchy, occult beliefs and practices had become clear to me. So now, I actually wanted and needed to know about the antidote. I needed to know about the Jesus who protects and saves and redeems. I needed to know about the Jesus who… was God, not just some nice guy with some good quotes.
What I actually found myself doing in the process, was learning what traditional Christianity actually believes. And again, I was resistant, judgmental, and triggered by my own thoughts and words, for all of the reasons you might imagine…
But here I am, a year later, realizing that I am now a Christian. After much reluctance, and resistance, I can’t help but believe.
First, I realized that the New Testament is a pretty reliable document. So, I let my guard down, and started reading it in earnest. The book The Case For Christ helped me with that. (Here are other resources I put together if you are feeling curious like I was.)
Also, the more I really read the Bible, the more I realized that… If Jesus really said and did the things that are written, (which I was letting myself believe because I’d researched enough to trust the New Testament as a historical document, written by contemporaries of Jesus who knew him, and risked their whole lives to share about him) …Jesus is either who he says he is*, and who his followers said he was in the New Testament, or he was an insane, delusional, narcissistic, manipulative man. And, as for the many miracles (that not even the Jewish people or Romans disputed at the time) …he was probably …demon possessed, allowing him to perform magic through dark powers.
*And who did he say he was? The Messiah, the Son of Man - which was a significant OT reference, the Son of God and one with the Father.
"Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?" Jesus responded "I am". “I am” is God’s name in the Old Testament. “I am” - aka, God.
My point being: going off the Bible, there is no middle ground. There is no cool chill hippie Jesus who just wants us all to get along, and teach us to be our own ‘gods.’
I know that that point won’t matter to most people, because most are convinced the Gospels are corrupted and changed. But there’s enough evidence I’ve seen now to believe they are relatively reliable.
Anyway, I’ve decided to believe Jesus is who he said he is. And a lottttttt has gone into that decision. A lot. I’m not going to worry about convincing anyone. I know I really can’t. I am only sharing what I’ve come to over the last year.
Is This What I Write About Now?
But now I have a new question… is this what I write about now? Am I a Christian writer? And, if so, do I have enough to say?
On the one hand, I’m so thankful for the whole thing. In a way that I can’t fully describe, I’m so happy that this is the position I’m in, asking myself what should I write about God next? Even if I’m not sure what I should write next. And I stop myself from writing because I’m still in such a learning and processing mode.
I’ve been relatively tight lipped this past year, despite the few posts I’ve written on my conversion, because I’m not sure what I should be saying. And again, I’m not sure who I’m writing to. Am I writing to people who agree with me? Or people who are wanting to be convinced? I wasn’t really ready to lose all of the people who weren’t thrilled by this new turn for me. What if I changed my mind?
I don’t have the chops and knowledge to be a Christian apologetics writer. Plus, I do still have my questions. My beef with God. A lot of the things people don’t like about Christianity, are things I understand. A lot of the questions people would ask, I’d say, yea, that’s a question I had, or still have, too. I have half answers to some things. But I am no authority.
I will say… I have learned a lot, in the past year. A lot. Just from sheer fascination and a deep desperate desire to understand.
Despite my beef with God. Despite my questions, right now, it makes more sense for me to believe. Through researching and praying and seeking, the good this has brought into my life is clear.
(Don’t worry, I know about the bad too. I know about the abuse and the corruption and the cruelty. But as I’ve come to see it… that’s judging God based on the faults of man… and I’ve decided that’s not a good enough reason anymore.)
So, what am I trying to say? Well…
I am not going to say that this is going to become a Christian-only publication. I am sure that I’ll write about other things too. But… I have a feeling it’s going to continue to be a focus, as it already has become.
I know my podcast is very sporadic, but I do intend to interview people who are not just talking about Jesus things… though again, it may continue to become more of the focus, as it already has…
My next post, I am hoping, will be my current Letter to God — in the style of my “Email to God” from Tired as F*ck.
Here is the longer, author’s cut of my EMAIL TO GOD.
The more I look back at what I was interested in, the more amazed I am at how much I was seeking God. I wanted my second book to be about God? Pre-Jesus Situation. How weird is that? And now here I am, telling you that uhhhh I might like, only be writing about God now? But like Christian/Jesus God? Sorry guys? I get why that’s annoying? I would have been so annoyed too?
Paul Our Lord and Savior
Another crazy thing for me to remember… a few years ago I became obsessed with Jesus Christ Superstar. Obsessed. I would listen to “Gethsemene” over and over and over and over. Jesus Christ Superstar is not exactly the story of Jesus — it’s as if Jesus were a good guy whose group got out of control. And yet, Gethsemene, the song, is him really talking and bargaining with God… anyway. I didn’t believe in the Jesus story, but my love of the some Gethsemene made me think, “wow this is such a good story.”
My friend and I also loved one of the actors from one of the revivals who played Jesus. His name was Paul. And as a little reference to his role as Jesus, we starting jokingly calling him “Paul our Lord and Savior.” We would say “Paulspeed” to each other, instead of Godspeed. I even made a little joke “Bible” in Canva called The Book of Paul, filled with pictures of him playing Jesus. It was absurd. It was funny. It was very lighthearted — not serious at all. We weren’t ACTUALLY worshipping this actor guy Paul…
But what’s weird is… totally unprompted, I started having this feeling like… this isn’t good. This is wrong. This was years before my conversion, I didn’t even believe in Jesus at all at the time… but still, I would think… this is blasphemy. I should not be calling some random actor dude my “God.” Putting him in the place of God. Even as a joke. I didn’t even know what I thought about GOD at the time. Was he really a personified God? Was he the universe? Was he everything? And STILL I had this feeling… ehhhh I shouldn’t be saying this. And so, even though it was an inside joke of ours, I stopped referring to him that way. I never made a thing of it, because it seemed a little bit of an overreaction to an absurd joke we had. I never said, “hey, I don’t feel comfortable with this joke.” No that would have been silly, with how un-religious I was at the time. I just… stopped the joke.
So, I’m also amazed that I felt that way back then? It seemed totally out of line with what I believed at the time… it’s all good, man! Love and light! God has a sense of humor (I do believe that, btw)… but anyway… weird to think about how I had a feeling of the … Holiness of God? Or something? Back then?
Anyway, all of this to say… I don’t know what I’m going to be writing on this substack going forward, but I know it’s gonna be a lot of God stuff.
I hope to write more of my story, and what I experienced during my ‘conversion,’ as well as topics I’ve grappled with and come to peace with, as well as topics I haven’t come to peace with yet.
I also am currently a sort of… half Catholic / half Protestant. I know this annoys either side, and they want to fully convert me to theirs, but I’m still in learning and discerning mode. Whenever I listen to a debate I think: wow they both have such good points. That is very niche content, but understanding both views is an interest of mine…
And, I have a feeling, I’ll be posting lots more Letters to God…
I just checked — since I uploaded that list of 41K emails from the anti-diet days, a little over 5K more people signed up here through substack. Currently, I’m now down to 27K ish subscribers. Which means I’ve lost almost twenty thousand subscribers. That makes total sense to me, knowing where I’ve come from — I’m taking people on a roller coaster. I expect to lose more, it’s just the way it goes. I am comfortable with it now. It’s been hard to know I’m alienating people who used to like my writing, but… I suppose that’s just the way it goes.
As for Paid subscribers, the perks currently include:
-Audio versions of me reading my posts, usually with some additional commentary and content.
-Ability to comment on posts.
-Ability to start threads in the chat
-Ability to reply to my substack emails and have them be delivered to my inbox.
-And, newest addition and maybe most fun: being included in my paywalled discussion groups! Currently it’s a 3 month New Testament Bible Study where we have daily discussions in the comments, and weekly zoom calls. In Jan 2024, I hope to have some book club type things, probably going through CS Lewis books? Maybe Mere Christianity to start?
As for my writing on here, I hope I can keep writing about all of this God stuff, in earnest, but also be semi-relatable with it? Bring you my questions? Explain some things I’m grappling with?
We shall see…
Paywall is just to put the audio behind the paywall