Frontside of the Historic Liberty Theater (photo by anonymous)

The Church

It was 2002, and I had just graduated high school. The world was still in disarray after 9/11 and in the beginnings of the unending war in Afghanistan. My classmates that didn’t get conned into enlisting were looking forward to our final summer before beginning our college years. Others were starting to dread shipping out to basic training.

I felt like I was somewhere in between. Despite the constant belittlement from the Marine recruiter who seemed to always be in our school, I didn’t enlist. Still, I wasn’t exactly going to college. I was joining a cult instead.

I grew…

Chad Cosgrove wearing a campaign shirt while hanging out with the Proud Boys, waiting for a non-existent “Antifa Caravan” to come through. They had also gathered to counter-protest a non-existent petition to remove a hateful, far-right billboard. (Source: The Chronicle, June 24th, 2020)

Around 1998, or when I was in 8th grade, a new guy named Chad Cosgrove* started attending the youth group. He was dating a girl in our church whose family didn’t subscribe to courtship, something she and her sister were essentially slut-shamed for behind their backs. Because this guy wasn’t saved, her being with him was categorized as “missionary dating.” He was a junior in high school, and she was a freshman, and like all romances at that age, it didn’t last long.

Chad got ‘saved’ soon after he began attending the youth group. He befriended Devon Jones almost immediately…

Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

To say it’s been a while since the last post is an understatement. While I needed some time away from this project for my own mental health, I’ve also been going through a bout of writer’s block.

Despite an almost infinite list of topics and experiences to cover, I kept hitting a wall every time I sat down to write. I’d change positions, environments, keyboards, beverages, strains, etc. Nothing helped.

I needed a break.

It’s difficult to think about and process pain and trauma day in and day out. While it's been more helpful to get the poison out of…

Photo by Edwin Andrade on Unsplash

I was eleven years old when I last remember feeling shame for not receiving the gift of tongues.

I was standing at the front of the sanctuary at kid’s camp lined up alongside several of my friends and acquaintances. I peeked to my left and then to my right. I was the only one not mumbling under their breath or lying on the floor. Hot embarrassment flooded over me. Was I a bad Christian? Did I do something wrong? I must have sin in my heart.

The children’s evangelist who had been talking about chocolate chip cookies made with real…

Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

The following has been written in screenplay format and includes various Sundays' memories at Church while in GTC. Some instances depicted happened years apart, but all accounts did occur between 2002 and 2006. This is based on journals from that time period and the collected memories of some of those involved.

The storytelling reflects the author’s thought process and belief structure at the time, which does not reflect who he is now. It also shows the technology and popular culture of the time period depicted. You will read a reference to a NEXTEL phone, World of Warcraft, and HDTV. …

Through the Fog (2020, image by anonymous)

This is part two of Isolation. If you haven’t read part one, please start here.

The following two accounts are from different people who wanted to share their struggles with isolation. One is another GTC alumni, and the other is a friend from a similar background. These stories may feel familiar to many people and foreign to others. We all deal with some form of isolation in our lives, even if it’s not connected to a church.

I hope that those of you reading this that feel that brand of isolation can find solace in another person’s story.

You are…

Photo by Daniel Monteiro on Unsplash

The following was written by the same author of Chapter VII & VIII — Above Reproach. The following story details her struggles with isolation both in and out of the church.

I used to joke around with friends and family years after leaving the church that I was in a cult. I downplayed a lot of what happened for many reasons. Maybe I never thought I would get a genuine, meaningful apology from the Joneses, so I just moved forward with my life as best as I could. Maybe I would never let myself fully believe that I could be…

Christians using a cross for their bullshit in Washington D.C. on January 6th, 2021 (WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY)

Let’s talk about that attempted coup.

A while back, I wrote a chapter dedicated to American Evangelicalism and another one dedicated to Violence and Militarism. Both of these articles perfectly reflect exactly what happened on January 6th, 2021, in Washington D.C., as thousands of MAGA chuds rallied outside the Capitol attempting to overturn the election at the behest of their dear leader.

Several insurrectionists broke inside, thanks to the police's help, killing five people while trashing the place. Stealing mail and podiums, sitting at senator's desks, and smearing feces on the walls. …

GTC performing a Human Video in Scotland. I play Jesus. (Circa 2005) Photographer: Anonymous

It’s hard to look at the history of Christianity without seeing the manifestation of war and violence that it’s brought to the world. While the phrase “More wars have been started because of religion” simply isn’t accurate, it’s believable because of its proximity to the truth. I don’t intend to go into the full history of religion and its destructive effects on the world, but if that is something you’re interested in, I suggest you read Fields of Blood by Karen Armstrong.

When I was a wee lad, still learning how to pronounce ‘banana’ the right way, I was fully…

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

I wanted to take a few moments to thank everyone who has been reading and following us on this journey. There are several chapters still to go, it’s just a matter of getting them written with all of life still happening around us.

There have been several alumni and ex-members of the church I grew up in that have contacted me, as well as several others whom I’ve only spoken to because of this writing.

Thank you for your kind words, and thank you for reaching out.

This is taxing. It’s difficult to dredge up past wounds, instances that have…

An American Christian

This account will explore the toxic traits of American Evangelicalism from a first hand perspective of those that attended an unknown Master’s Commission.

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