How To!

How To Leave the Church When Your Dad’s the Pastor

I stopped believing, and now my family barely talks to me.

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Episode Notes

Chris’ childhood was defined by the Pentecostal church, where his father is a minister and his siblings are following the same path. But when Chris went to college, his views on the church changed, and now at age 23, he no longer identifies as religious. That’s caused a major rift with his parents, and Chris can’t stand the tension anymore. On this episode of How To!, we bring on Patricia Lockwood, a poet and author of the upcoming novel No One Is Talking About This who chronicled her own experience leaving the church in her memoir, Priestdaddy. Raised in a strict Catholic family with a father for a priest (thanks to a rare loophole), Patricia thought she was done with religion by the time she was in her early 30s. But when an unexpected financial crisis prompted her and her husband to move back in with her parents, Patricia learned a new way to bridge the gap between them. Reflecting on your shared values, Patricia says, is key to connecting with your parents, even if you’re still leaving their religion behind.

If you liked this episode, check out “How To Talk Politics Without Wrecking Relationships.”

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Podcast production by Derek John, Rachael Allen, and Rosemary Belson.


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What if Dear Abby were an investigative reporter? Each week, David Epstein (bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene) takes on listeners’ toughest problems and, with the help of experts, finds the answers to questions you’ve always wanted to ask but couldn’t. Until now.

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