I’ve mostly taken the summer off, after putting the show on hiatus following a series of events in the spring. One, in my personal life, will remain private; the other played out on Twitter. If you were on #exvangelical twitter, you know all about it; if you’re not, you probably have no clue. It’s of little consequence to tease out how those events made me feel now, but the result – a shattering of public trust on Twitter in that community – discouraged me beyond words. Coupled with the trauma in my personal life, I needed a bit of distance.
So I took a break. But I don’t think I’m done.
Over the summer I’ve thought a lot about what motivated me to start the show. It was all to understand why so many of the people I knew from my college (Indiana Wesleyan University) had moved away from evangelicalism, and to explore that through long-form conversations that allowed for nuance, context, and—importantly, humanity. Best of all, the podcast format allowed it to be communicated through someone’s own words. I asked the questions, yes, but it wasn’t meant to be a show about me.
As the show grew and found an audience, I learned to be more specific with my critiques. I began discussing white evangelicalism in particular. I became more aware of gender & sexual identity politics, and how they intersected (as Dr. Crenshaw has taught the world) with power, privilege, and race.
Over the past few years, the show has received good press. I have been interviewed for Newsweek and been featured in a CBS Religion documentary. I am thankful for those opportunities and what it has afforded me.
I’m also thankful for people who have reached out to let me know that my work has helped them.
Ultimately, what this hiatus has taught me is that the interview show in particular has one central value: helping folks who are just beginning to question their evangelical faith to know that they aren’t alone. That still has value–each day, there are people beginning their journey out of evangelicalism. I still want to provide this outlet for people to share their stories, and for people to find stories that will encourage them.
I continue to produce this podcast on my own time; I hold a full-time job and have a family which I share responsibility with my spouse to provide for. Over the past few years, I’ve burned out more than once. I cannot afford to do that anymore, mentally, physically or financially.
So moving forward, there will be two new changes.
First: the show will go to twice-monthly for the time being. This will start in October. This change will also allow me to develop a long-awaited podcast for patrons as well; it has been delayed after multiple faith transitions happened, but I have reached what I hope is a place of stability. I remain committed to developing that program and delivering it to past, present, and future patrons.
Second: I will start selling ads for the show. This is something I started thinking about at the end of 2018, and had hoped to roll out at episode 100, but alas. But there will be a twist.
I want to build economic reparations directly into my advertising business model. 55% of all funds earned from host-read ads on the show beginning today and going through 2020 will go to nonprofits that support African-American, indigenous, and LGBTQ populations. If this is economically feasible, I will extend it into the future.
My first announced launch partner is Brave Commons. Here is the description of Brave Commons’ work, from their website:
Brave Commons seeks to elevate the voices of LGBTQ+ students working within and beyond Christian universities in the United States. Brave Commons is an intersectional, queer and POC-led, Christian organization seeking to provoke a movement of faith and justice in the academy and beyond. Through retreats, spiritual support, and advocacy resourcing, Brave Commons works to provide equitable and holistic faith engagement for all.
I believe this is the right thing to do. And I am very proud that Brave Commons is the first group to partner with me in this effort. I spoke with Brave Commons co-director Erin Green on a past episode of the show about their advocacy work on the campus of Azusa Pacific University.
It is my intention to make this work financially self-sustaining, so in addition to ads, I also hope some of you will support me directly via Patreon. The Exvangelical podcast has existed as an independent effort since its inception, and I will need your support to help reach the next level. Some awards may be adjusted in the near future, and I’ll have more to announce about that in the comings weeks.
Over time, I hope to create new shows, including those that tackle the history of white evangelicalism. I’d also love to enable others to create shows themselves and build a network, for those stories that I can’t speak to directly but deserve to be told, and explore ideas that deserve to be discussed.
Ultimately, the big questions that motivate me are: understanding how people change their minds and lives, how media & technology affects us, and understanding broad social shifts in history. Those questions are rooted in my experience in white evangelicalism here in the United States, and that is where things began with the Exvangelical podcast.
I’ve reached the end of the beginning. I hope you’ll enjoy what comes next.
New episodes will start again soon.
If you’d like to advertise with Exvangelical, contact me via email here.