After a few weeks of hiatus I’m finally getting my shit together and putting together episodes again. Although this episode and the next would not have been possible without my father flying me down to Texas for a week. So here’s how it happened: My father wanted me to visit for a bit in the summer, but I had no scratch so I had to decline. Eventually he offered to buy a plane ticket for my wife and I, so I accepted his generous offer. My wife on the other hand had to work every hour she could get so we could pay rent and eat, plus she is not a fan of Texas anyway (especially in the summer). So I ended up flying down and spending a little time in Azle with friends and family which did me some good.
Can I just say that I think the number of churches in the Azle area have increased by 100%? Really. I didn’t do any counting but I did notice quite a few protestant churches that did not exist when I left in 2007. Some were those manufactured steel frame buildings, some were nestled in little strip mall areas next to a subway and a family jewelry store, and I even noticed some that looked like they were double-wide trailers. Plus the older churches that existed while I was growing up all have undergone new remodels and renovations and additions to accommodate their growing memberships. I mention this because for the past few years I have been very involved in this so-called New Atheism movement that, according to polls and relevant statistics, has been growing steadily. I have become interested in books and films and all kinds of media, really, that give voice to secular humanism, skepticism, atheism, free-thought, and what-have-you. But it was interesting to get out of my atheist bubble for a bit and look around at Smalltown, America and realize that (in at least some areas) religion remains unfazed by the likes of Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens and seems to be growing quite nicely. That’s my observation anyway.
So as I mention in the episode I had no more content to publish so I went ahead and brought my audio equipment in case there was an opportunity to record something interesting. Luckily for me my cousin’s fiancee had recently been released from prison (or is it “jail” or the “penitentiary”? I never know) and was hanging around and wanted to talk to me about his recent conversion to Christianity while inside. His name is Jeremy and he’s a real gregarious guy so I was happy to talk with him. To be honest I went into the discussion thinking it was going to be some kind of a debate, with Jeremy trying to prove to me the truth of Christianity. I was kind of thrown for a loop, though, when I realized that he just wanted to explain to me how and why Jesus worked for him. There ended up being not a lot to debate. I’d like to thank Jeremy, Christi, and my mother for giving me some time while I was there.