A little about me…

Loving life in my Secular Humanist Way

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Hello and a big thank you for taking the time to visit my little corner of the web. Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Jay, I’m approaching my mid 50’s, hoping to someday become a prolific, published author of creative nonfiction and I am also a Secular Humanist.  To continue my expression in writing I finally got up the nerve to venture into this whole other world called blogging.  I suppose it took something that I was clearly passionate about for me to dive into the pool.  That passion for me is life in general.  More specifically, living a life that’s centered on quality, not governed by fear of what will happen after I take my last breath.  A life that makes the most of each day in the here and now, devoid of dogma, the shalts and the shalt nots, nor ancient texts.

So yes, I am a proud Secular Humanist.  I always have been and always will be.  I was a Secular Humanist before I was equipped with the language to claim it.  Secular Humanism was likely in my mindset beginning with the steely gaze that Sunday School teachers shot at me for daring to ask questions instead accepting their advice to walk by faith, not by sight.  It was within me during the many years of my unsuccessful attempts to play it safe by parroting religious rhetoric, even from a pulpit.  Yes, you read that right.  I was even ordained a minister into a progressive form of Christianity.  But over time, I simply could not ignore the internal cringing I felt throughout that journey.  Of course I’ll expound on that in other parts of my blog.

Becoming a successful full-time writer is my ultimate dream, however currently I am a hospital Chaplain.  More specifically, I am a Secular Humanist Chaplain and this is something that I do not conceal nor should I.  To some that may sound like quite an oxymoron.  But being in this role I’ve also grown pretty adept at swimming upstream.  You can imagine just how tricky it must be to feel a total sense of peace as a Secular Humanist yet also perform the daily duties as a hospital Chaplain, which more times than not, is associated with organized religion and evangelism.  Instead of oxymoron, others may even use a term with sharper edges such as hypocritical.  This would undoubtedly come from the faction of people who still make assumptions based on the old model of Chaplaincy, which was predominantly young white males, wearing cleric collars and carrying Bibles and devotionals and saving the souls of the unchurched. I however am not a young white male, I don’t wear cleric collars, and instead of saving souls, I respectfully meet people where they are in life.  But I also stand up for the rights of the unchurched, the non-theists, and those whose expressions of spirituality stand outside of the mainstream.  Yes indeed, it can be a rigorous swim going upstream as I face the presumptuous public who simply can’t wrap their minds around an Secular Humanist Chaplain.

It also may not have escaped some readers that in my description, I used the word “currently” in relation to my job as a Chaplain.  Because as I stated earlier, it is my deepest aspiration to shift to successful full-time writing at some point…hopefully soon.  Chaplaincy is an avenue where I have fought for the rights of non-theists, in a setting where spoken prayers reverberate through the institutional white walls.  However, a Chaplain’s role is not one that I foresee performing for the remainder of my life.  Realistically speaking, the fact that I’m in my 50’s means that this is likely the last half of my life – or as some describe it, my Act Two.  I want my Act Two to be spent doing what feels the most authentic.  To honor that, in conjunction with my passion for living a meaningful secular life, I will move forward to the place where my inspiration lies – reaching others through pen and paper.  And beyond pen and paper, it is my hope to take this passion further by advocating for greener initiatives for the sake of our planet, equal pay for women, and equal rights for the LGBT community.  Whew…that might be a big agenda for Act Two, but I’m up for it!

I hope that I can utilize this powerful medium called blogging to celebrate non-theists who choose reason over blind faith.  I hope that through my writing, I can celebrate with fellow Secular Humanists in riding this ultra cool wave called life and emphasize human agency to inspire others to make the most out of each and every day.  Carpe Diem all the way!!!!  Through my writing I hope to contribute to dismantling the stigma placed upon non-theists and the unfair overarching assumption that we are self-centered, irresponsible, and lacking a moral compass.

Through this blog I will provide context, history, and current snapshots of my life journey to embracing the  Secular Humanist philosophy.  I will talk about ways that I advocate for the much needed separation of church and state.  As a part of that journey sharing, I will provide entries chronicling my efforts in advocating for the non-theist population.  And in particular, those non-theistic individuals who for whatever unfortunate reasons have been physically compromised, hospitalized, and at the mercy of those who feel compelled to shower them with their one-size-fits-all religious beliefs and prayers without consent. Through my writing and involvement in non theistic organizations such as The American Humanist Association, I hope to advocate for those not just in the hospital room, but also the pre-game locker room, the pre-performance backstage areas, the meeting rooms, and any areas where non-theists are marginalized and subjected to intercessory prayers against their wishes.

I realize that as I continue to explore the medium of blogging and mass publication, I may be opening myself to brash comments from members of not only the conservative evangelical world, but even some so-called progressive Christian denominations.  I’m not at war with either.  I’m simply a man who has found my peaceful home in a secular life.  I am a Secular Humanist and I also remain respectful of those who do happen to find hope in religious beliefs.  But for me, making the most out of life and maintaining authenticity go hand-in-hand.  I’m reminded of a quote by Kurt Cobain who once said “I’d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.”  Who I am is someone who is in love with life, with people, and with my truth which is that we possess the power to make life an amazing journey.  Who I am not, is a follower of blind faith and I choose not to pretend to fit into that camp.

So here I am, a 50 something year old man, cultivating a love affair with life, a lover of feel good reggae music, an 80’s music geek, practitioner of Classical Hatha Yoga and mindfulness meditation, and one who has found peace and contentment through living the life in all its wonder, beauty, challenges and even occasional setbacks.

I hope that you’ll come back to visit me and my blog and feel comfortable enough to hang out for here for awhile as I continue to explore this medium called blogging.  I’m aware that there may be those who could possibly relate to me and potentially love me for who I am and there will also be those who will hate me for who I am not – someone who believes that faith supersedes logic and reason. But as I said earlier, I’ve grown adept at swimming upstream.

Until next time…CARPE DIEM!!!!

Jay