Hi. So this is my first official blog post here at Beliefnet after a few years blogging at my own site. Unless you followed me here from there (welcome, both of you!) then you likely have no idea who I am.
So I’ll tell you. And I’m going to do it in fake interview format, because long, biographical missives are boring. They make for terrible blogs. But short-format Q&As are (I’m told) fascinating. Even more so when I get to handle both the Qs and the As. Here we go:
Q: Who are you?
A: My name is Jason Boyett. I’m a freelance writer and the author of a bunch of books. Until recently, I was primarily known for writing the Pocket Guide series of books. These are short, fun, education-meets-entertainment explorations of big religious subjects (check out the sidebar at right for titles). These books were snarky and impersonal and handled information in easily digestible bite-sized pieces.
But this month saw the release of a new kind of book for me. It’s called O Me of Little Faith, and it’s a personal memoir about my religious doubt, and how I’ve learned (and am learning) to deal with it. It’s very different from anything else I’ve ever written.
I see you’ve cleverly named this blog after your new book.
Yes, I have. I’m a shameless marketer that way.
So is this blog just going to be about your book? Because that’s going to get old in about 15 seconds.
You are absolutely correct: that would get old. No, the blog will NOT be only about my book. Right now, of course, I’m writing a lot about faith and doubt and uncertainty and the big questions of religion. I’ll probably continue to do so, and that’s why the blog shares a title with my book. But not every post will be about doubt, and definitely not every post will be about the book. Don’t worry: I end up blogging about all kinds of stuff. Most of it’s related to religion — as a writer, that’s my subject matter, after all (and it’s kind of a theme here at Beliefnet) — but I find a way to talk a lot about culture, science, the writing life, and more. Also, I like to host fun writing contests from time to time.
What’s the big deal with this doubt fixation? Are you trying to poke holes in my faith?
Nope. I’m trying to be honest. I’m one of those Christians who has always had a lot of questions about my faith and faith tradition, but haven’t always been satisfied with the usual answers. For a long time, I buried those doubts and pretended to have it all together. But a couple of years ago, I got tired of faking it. So I confessed my doubts to my church. I owned up to being a “spiritual weakling,” and I discovered a couple of things in the process.
First, it’s liberating to come out of the closet as a doubter. Seems kind of weird, as a Christian, to be committed to the Truth-with-a-capital-T but to be lying about the nature of that commitment. Being honest about my struggles is incredibly therapeutic.
And second, there are a lot of people like me. LOTS of people harbor the same doubts and uncertainty. We just don’t ever talk about it. With the book and this blog, I hope to offer a safe place to have a conversation about these things…to reach across the isolation that doubt causes and find some fellow travelers along this lonely road.
Are you a theologian or a pastor or something?
No. I’m not an academic or clergy or anything like that. I’m just a writer. A writer who has am intense love for history and theology, and a Christian who does a lot of thinking and a lot of reading and a lot of questioning. When you write books about big theological topics, people tend to think you’re an expert, but I’m not. I just play one on TV.
You keep talking about “doubt” and “questions.” What kinds of questions?
All kinds: Can I trust the Bible? Can it be inspired without being inerrant? How do you explain the existence of evil in a world ruled by an all-powerful and all-loving God? Does God even exist? Will advances in science and neurology someday disprove God? Why do so many preachers wear toupees? If they’re lying about something as dumb as whether or not they have hair, how are we supposed to trust what they say about God?
So are you going to answer those questions?
Probably not. I’m still trying to come to terms with most of them. But I’ll gladly introduce them, in the hopes that we can have a civil, thoughtful discussion about these issues. My archives from the old blog have been transferred over here, by the way. They may have some formatting issues, but they’ll give you a decent idea of what we’ve been discussing lately.
Are you aware that the header graphic above makes it look like you have a giant forehead?
Yes, I am aware. The truth is that I do, in fact, have an enormous forehead. Thank you for noticing.
I’m thrilled to be here at Beliefnet and am looking forward to seeing my existing readers and getting to know some new folks. Feel free to introduce yourself in the comments, and let’s get to know one another.