Q & R: a mixed message … dark thoughts

Here’s the Q:

Ok, this is going to be a mixed message.

Brian’s book a generous orthodoxy met me in a time when I was ready to leave the ministry and genuinely saved my faith. God has used yalls ministry to save mine.

My problem is I feel like I’m living on an island now. I fully understand y’all cannot provide pastoral support but I’m hoping you can point me towards some resources for finding a new community of believers. I’ve found myself having some really dark thoughts and could really use some support.

Thanks for your time

Here’s the R:
Thanks for your note. I understand the dark thoughts. Doubt is more agonizing and terrifying than many people realize.
Three suggestions:
1. You probably need a “thought community” at a time like this, because thinking (questioning, rethinking, wondering, doubting, exploring) is a social act. People who think outside a group’s circle of acceptability are punished, so they need to find a group with a bigger circle. One of the great gifts of the internet is podcasts that are specially designed to help folks in your situation. Here are two of my favorites, but there are many more:
Homebrewed Christianity – an amazing resource with a priceless archive
The Bible for Normal People – another fantastic resource, with special focus on the Bible
Daily readings from the Center for Action and Contemplation are helping thousands.
2. You also need a group of friends with whom you can meet in real life. Many folks from Evangelical/fundamentalist communities find some freedom and healing in a United Church of Christ, Episcopal (ECUSA), or Presbyterian (PCUSA) church. This church locator site might help you: https://convergenceus.org/churches
Wild Goose Festival is another place where folks gather and create wide open space for each other.
Some look and look and can’t find any place that feels like home, so they find one or two friends with whom they can connect in honesty and safety. Some have found my book We Make the Road by Walking a good resource for gathering in a home or around a meal. It offers a short reading and conversation questions.
3. I should add that many people I know who are passing through a period of faith transition have needed the help of a good psychologist or counselor, because religious trauma is real and deep. Please don’t hesitate to contact a professional. Your GP doctor would be a good place to go for a referral. Thousands if not millions of us have been through this process, and I can tell you: there is a better place on the other side of the turmoil … and you will get there.