Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Calling All Former Atheists and Agnostics

Before my life as a mom and work-at-home freelance journalist, I was a newspaper and AP wire service reporter.

My former colleagues (who are friends) have a nickname for me, and it's not really a compliment: It's "AP Heidi."

What they mean by it is that when they knew me, I fully lived up to my heritage as a hot-tempered Irish(wo)man.

I knew how to pick a fight.

I knew how to win a fight.

I was brash and haughty, carefree and cocky, willful and belligerent.

This was true if I was chasing a shady politician ... or if I was challenging the bureauchief for sleeping with the younger male staff members and then promoting them.

It didn't matter.

If I saw an injustice, I went after it, and I made no bones about defending others -- or myself.

Problem was ... sometimes, even though it might've been justified, my anger was not always expressed in the "Christian manner."

Eight years ago I broke away from that career to start my own business at home. As I drew closer to old college friends who were Christians and also forged new relationships with mature believers in church communities, I began to realize that some of the ways I handled myself were very unChristlike.

Let's call my behavior what it really was -- sinful.

Anyway, I mellowed.

So the people who know me today who also knew me back then have a little joke -- if I start acting out as I did before, they put me in my place by calling me, "AP Heidi."

That's all it takes to quell the storm.

The problem is that the Enemy knows this is my weak spot.

So when I encounter a situation like the one at the "Proud Atheist" blog site, I bite down like a dog on a towel. Nothing shakes me from it. In fact, the creation of this blog is the perfect example of this behavior.

Here is the million dollar question for those of you who are now Jesus lovers and were former atheists or agnostics:

What approach worked for you?

In your former life, when Christians tried to debate you, what finally swayed you into seeing the truth about Jesus?

And what was the worst thing that a Christian ever did?

I ask, because I can honestly tell you that I'm probably the worst and the best type of person to deal with atheists. On the one hand, I'm not afraid of a good debate. And if I see an injustice -- like how the atheists on that same blog mocked the victim of the church shooting -- I am relentless in shining a light on their behavior.
But on the other hand, I run the risk of falling into my humanness, crashing up against my ego and pride.

We all have our failings. My pride and temper are mine.

What gets in your way of evangelism?

How can I pray for you?


  1. ...what is your stand on Christian Censorship???...i know someone who has been blocked from particapating in a church chat room because he"s not "falling in line"..and he ask"s too many "wrong" questions...

  2. Hi Anonymous.
    Thanks for your note.
    Well, I really don't know the circumstances of your friend -- the context of the overall chat. What's the definition of a wrong question? Not trying to be cute with you -- just trying to understand what happened.
    Here's my stance on it for this particular blog ... I decided to start it because MY comments had been censored and changed (then mocked without a chance to defend them) on an atheistic blog site. A lot of Christians operate in circles where they study the Bible but in American culture, they tend to forget about discussing these types of issues with communication with non-believers.
    I know that for me, even within the past week, I have learned some painful lessons, not only about non-believers but also about my own failings, shortcomings and lack of morality. So this blog is really for people who are also struggling like me, to help each other figure out what we're doing wrong, when to recognize it and ask God and other people for forgiveness and how to effectively communicate God's love to people. Hope that makes sense.
    Now I have another blog that focuses on our family's decision to give more money to spiritual organizations like our church. On that blog, I do discuss a lot of my past life and my struggles with greed and personal sins, etc. This is for people to read and reflect about their own attitudes and sins and together, to talk about how God wants to help us with all of that.
    Censorship ... I have thrown people off of that chat because some of them started maligning my pastor, and because I believe he's a standup guy and didn't deserve it, I quelled those comments. They got a little mad at me for it, but ... well ... I figured it was off topic and I wanted to protect someone who I considered to be an innocent bystander.
    I guess it comes down to whether someone is being malicious, slanderous, unfair, you get the idea.
    But I am happy to exchange emails with people if I can't post their comments ... in fact I have some dialogues with people all over the globe from different faiths and from people who are agnostic and atheist. Plus I know great spiritual mentors who are willing to counsel as well.
    Does this answer your question? I hope so.

    Have a great day, and God bless.


  3. PS to Anonymous,
    Not to beat a dead horse here, but something else just occurred to me and I thought it might help everyone trying to understand the blog.
    With regards to comments, the purpose of the blog is to give strength to each other -- take a look at the Bible verses I've listed in the right-hand column as examples of this.
    Part of what happened in the early Church was that people met for "edification." That would include not only singing and praying together, like we do at church, but also unraveling things that puzzle us.
    Today for example I had a question for people in my women's Bible study group -- it was a passage in the book of Numbers that had stumped me as to its meaning. It was the type of question I hesitated to ask, because I feared sounding like a doubter.
    But they took the question in the spirit for which it was intended -- to get at the bottom of a mystery. I felt no condemnation or judgment in their answers.
    That's what I hope this blog achieves, too. Questions are welcome. We just want to be encouraging to each other -- questions asked for the sake of argument or to create dissensiion, of course, really aren't meeting that definition of "edifying." But let's take it on a case by case basis. I'm willing to work at the communication barriers if you are.


  4. Heidi
    I think you are doing just fine! Your humility stands out like a light and to me that is so refreshing in this world! I dont read any defense in your words, just raw honesty, and as I say, I really like that!

  5. Thank you, Debs!
    I hope this blog can be used as a forum so that people will feel like they can be honest without being judged or belittled. There's nothing worse than being in the midst of a church group and feeling like you are being judged. I hope this blog will open some conversational doors so that we can all share and get the support we need. I know that I need it!