Join us for a live recording of the Exvangelical Podcast, hosted by Blake Chastain, with Josiah Hesse, author of Carnality: Dancing on Red Lake and Carnality: Sebastian Phoenix and the Dark Star, and The UnApologetics Tour at City Lit Books on Friday, October 12th, 2018 at 6:30.
Exvangelical is a podcast dedicated to personal stories about living in, leaving, and coming to terms with the messed-up subculture of evangelicalism–and exploring the wide world of faith, belief, and disbelief outside of it. Exvangelical is hosted by Blake Chastain, a “thoroughly (ex-) evangelical” writer living in Chicago, Illinois with his wife and daughter.
Over the last four years Jacob Sloan has lived naked and alone within an abandoned island hotel, smoking cannabis, eating squirrels and swimming in a lake that contains a dark secret. As memory slowly begins to flower in his brain, Jacob recalls the traumatic events that lead him to the island, describing a childhood spent in fear of barcodes, the Antichrist, and being abandoned in the ever-nearing Rapture. In addition to his tales of madness and murder on an Iowa farm, Jacob also recounts the true story of how California’s acid-fueled hippies of the 1960s became the religious-right of the 1980s. Part historical fiction, part psychological horror, Carnality: Dancing on Red Lake is the first of a six-part series chronicling the malicious mavens and pop-profiteers of America’s Evangelical movement, as remembered by a mentally ill boy who was once the biggest child star of the scene.
After escaping a life of harsh labor and religious fundamentalism on his father’s farm, Jacob is discovered by an ambitious youth pastor who turns him into a teenage evangelical pop star, where he warns the youth of America that Hell awaits those who succumb to drugs and “same-sex attraction.” But when the incessant throb of Jacob’s own body betrays the chastity and sobriety of his ministry, his fear of eternal damnation is eclipsed by carnal desires for another man – driving him ever deeper into supernatural madness. Composed in the former home of Hunter S. Thompson in the mountains of Colorado, Carnality: Sebastian Phoenix and the Dark Star is the second installment in a historical fiction series revealing the corruption, greed and sexual repression of Evangelical Christian culture.
Josiah Hesse is an author and journalist from Denver, Colorado, whose work has appeared in Vice, Esquire, and The Guardian. He is senior editor of the arts and literature magazine, Suspect Press, and author of the psychological horror novels, Carnality: Dancing On Red Lake and Carnality: Sebastian Phoenix and The Dark Star. His work focuses on the childhood trauma inflicted by evangelical Christian culture, seasoned with a bit of humor and pop-culture wisdom.
Alessandra Ragusin comes from a long line of Southern Assemblies of God pastors, but was raised as one of God’s “Frozen Chosen”. From 1st grade through her first semester in college she attended evangelical schools. She was a regular at youth group retreats, the 30-hour Famine, international mission trips, small groups, and taught at kids’ Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, and church sports and arts camps. The proud wearer of a purity ring throughout her teen years, Alessandra has since left the faith and is an out-and-proud queer poet and essayist traveling and writing on feminism, philosophy, nature, and her favorite side-project: the Devil. Read more at: greenworldwriting.com
Ryan Connell is the homeschooled son of a Pentecostal pastor. He was a kid’s church puppeteer, a Junior Bible Quiz champion, a door-to-door evangelizer, a mission trip globetrotter, a tongues talking, spirit catching, fire and brimstone preacher of the word. He was an award-winning demon in the fear based evangelical outreach that was chronicled in the 2001 George Ratliff documentary Hell House (and had the funniest scene if he does say so himself). He is now a full-time vagabond writer, proud heretic, and burgeoning mystic. His life’s ambition is to be the bearded sage on top of a mountain that people seek out to find the meaning of life. Read more at: theholyapostate.com