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Why I’m Giving Up God for Lent

I’ll never forget my first experience with a “crisis of faith”. It was about fourteen years ago, during my second year of ministry school. I’d been having questions for a couple of years, and one day in Bible class, all my suspicions came to a head. I knew I couldn’t go on, ignoring that gnawing in the secret places of my soul.
Why I'm Giving Up God for Lent

Why I’m Giving Up God for Lent

I called my Granddad, who remains the most “out there” of anyone in our family, when it comes to matters of religion and spirituality. During my formative years, he was the one I knew not to get into discussions with about politics or religion. He would wax poetically about the reconciliation of all things and lots of other stuff which we never talked about in my everything-is-black-and-white world.

My Granddad hasn’t been to church in more than forty years, other than for a few special productions by his grandchildren, but that man still knows more about the Bible than anyone I know. To this day, he can quote it backwards and forwards and give you enough historical and cultural context in one conversation to chew on for several weeks.

When I began to embrace this faith transition for the first time, around the age of 21, it was my Granddad, not my pastor, who I called for help.

I didn’t plan for Jesus to meet me a few years back, in a little coffee shop. He was dressed like Benjamin Norris House, Sr. Jesus with skin on. Jesus, with a raggedy mustache, a three-day beard, and stains on his plaid button-down. I didn’t plan to meet Jesus that way—that day. I didn’t plan for Him to rescue me from my own religious persecution. I didn’t know He cared.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since that day in the little church coffee shop, sitting with the first heretic I ever knew. Lots of books. Lots more questions. A whole lot of living. And nearly dying. A couple of weeks ago on the blog, I wrote about what my faith journey looks like these days, and today, I’m giving up God for Lent.

Why I'm Giving Up God for Lent

Atheism for Lent

Again this year, Peter Rollins is hosting an online event that allows our faith to be criticized by its largest critics. Atheism for Lent, “employs the great critique of religion to create a ritual of exorcism powerful enough to cast out the religious dogmatism and festering fundamentalism that can lurk within our souls – whether we associate with theism, atheism or agnosticism or ignosticism.”

So this blog is not actually about giving up God. It’s about giving up the man-made structures, dogma, and fundamentalism that ultimately limits our view of God, rather than expanding it.

Atheism for Lent isn’t about giving up chocolate, coffee, or social media. It’s also not about hearing from critics of the Christian faith in order to beef up our arguments against them. It’s designed “to bring you to the chaotic center of this scandalous love affair and draw out the liberation that is to be found there.”

Atheism for Lent is a decentering practice designed to envelop you in what some mystics call the great Cloud of Unknowing. It will expand your mind, enrich your soul and rock your world. This is a course that Peter has facilitated for over 15 years, and in that time he has seen it transform countless lives.

If you’ve got questions, if you’re tired of the status quo, if you’re willing to let your faith be critiqued and challenged, join me! Atheism for Lent starts today. Click here for more information and to sign up.

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*I received no compensation of any kind for this review/promotion.

By Steve Austin

Steve Austin is an author, speaker, and life coach who is passionate about helping overwhelmed people learn to catch their breath. He is the author of two Amazon bestsellers, "Catching Your Breath," and "From Pastor to a Psych Ward." Steve lives with his wife and two children in Birmingham, Alabama.