Memoir Writing at PSU

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Originally posted on PSU Chronicles:

Power of WordsWhen I tell people I’m writing a memoir, they usually appear surprised and ask: “Aren’t you too young?”

In 2013, I began writing “Freeligious,” a memoir and narrative nonfiction about my detachment from a charismatic religious sect and community. As a former evangelical, my gradual transition from the Pentecostal community spanned 10 years. The book focuses on identity, power and society with the aim of empowering those who have left — or who want to leave — their religious systems. Since then, I’ve taken a memoir writing course in Seattle, joined a writing group and received attention from media outlets such as Fox News Radio. Around 200 pages later, I realized I still needed help organizing my book.

I decided to take a memoir writing class with instructor and author Paul Collins in PSU’s English Department this winter term. The course has been extremely helpful in not only focusing on…

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From Evangelical Christianity to Feminist Evangelism by Andreea Nica

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AndreeaI always knew I was a feminist, despite my lack of knowledge in the movement and philosophy growing up. I did, however, have the religious support of my family and community to be an Evangelical Christian. I knew all the right words, mannerisms, and behaviors to represent myself as the proper Christian woman. I went on mission trips abroad, wore purity rings, attended sexual purity retreats and church camps, prayed fervently, spoke in tongues (glossolalia), contributed 10 percent of my meager earnings, and above all, fell in love with God.

As a first-generation college student, I was thirsty for knowledge and ready to take on the world. Some of my favorite courses during my undergraduate career included: “Psychology of Women,” “Women, Gender, and Ethnicity,” and “Psychology of Sexuality.” My coursework in gender, sexuality, and the social sciences compelled me to pursue graduate studies in gender, culture, and media…

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Lessons Learned from the Atheist Alliance of America Convention by Andreea Nica

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Originally posted on :

Andreea Nica, pentecostalismThe Atheist Alliance of America National Convention 2014 held earlier this month in Seattle, Washington granted me the opportunity to interview, converse with, and listen to renowned speakers, comedians, and influential figures in the atheist movement including the likes of David Fitzgerald, Dr. Steven Pinker, Dr. Rebecca Goldstein, Richard Haynes, and Dr. Richard Carrier.

This year’s convention drew in approximately 100 attendees throughout the weekend, according to Amy Monsky, Executive Director of Atheist Alliance of America (AAA). Monsky states that the AAA National Convention has several primary goals including: to bring atheists together; to hear great speakers; to network and socialize; and to raise awareness through education.

The family-friendly event was comprised of educational and activist-oriented sessions, debate, a comedy show, VIP non-prayer breakfast, film by Jeremiah Camara, “2014 Richard Dawkins Award” banquet, and a Sunday outing to Snoqualmie Falls and Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.

Below is…

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The Mosaic Language of God by Andreea Nica

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Andreea Nica, pentecostalismThroughout my “bible-thumping, smitten with God” years, I scribbled countless thoughts and prayers in four devotional journals. Recently I came across these journals, wiping away the years of dust accumulated. As I have been detaching from the Pentecostal god, it was a painful, downright mortifying experience to read through my past communication with god. This god seemed so foreign now given my liberated, enlightened, evolved self. I remember writing to and about Him, but I couldn’t help thinking how dysfunctional and convoluted the language I used really was.

I love you Father. Take me…surrender me to your will…your ways. Let me not lean on my own understanding and foolishness.

Mary Daly in Beyond God the Father advocates, “Time to go beyond God the Father. Don’t you see? If God is male, then the male is God. Reclaim the right to name your self, your world, your God. The…

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Redefining Spirituality, One Church for All by Andreea Nica

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Andreea Nica, pentecostalismAs a former lover of Christ and ex-Pentecostalist, I had countless visions and dreams that one day I would be a spiritual leader. While growing up in the charismatic church, it was even prophesied that one day I would become one.

Nearly ten years after leaving the church, I carried a distrust in religion’s relationship with women and its barrier to free thought. My work as a freelance journalist led me to discover a spiritual women’s retreat held in North Bend, Washington. Inspired to experience a non-religious, spiritual gathering, I registered for the retreat held by Center for Spiritual Living (CSL) in Seattle.

CSL is described as a:

“Trans-denominational, inter-generational, not-your-usual church, that was started in 1921. A safe place for ‘the rest of us’ who are looking to connect with God/Higher Power/Universal Presence, but don’t really fit in with any one religion.”

The spiritual center’s core teaching philosophy derives…

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Watching “Noah” Brought Me Closer to Humanity by Andreea Nica

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Originally posted on :

Andreea Nica, pentecostalism As a child, I enjoyed the story of Noah’s Ark. I would often imagine pairs of animals running for safety in Noah’s architecturally majestic haven. Practical questions didn’t enter my mind during this blissful period of naivety. I ignored the part where God expressed regret in creating humanity, or when Noah gets drunk and lies bare naked for his children to cover his shame. My bible study teacher would explain to us that the point of the story was that Noah, a holy man, trusted God and carried out his will.

Disclaimer: I understand that the film is not meant to be an exact representation of the story in the bible, but loosely based around it. Also, if you plan on watching the film, read at your discretion.

In the film, Noah’s character is played by leading actor Russell Crowe, who appears strong, confident, and zealous in his trust…

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Religion: Trapped in Love Through Shame

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Andreea Nica, pentecostalism I was first introduced to shame in the church. Shame paradoxically drew me closer to God, prevented me from committing sins, and helped me repress certain natural urges. The church I grew up in indoctrinated its congregation to believe that shame would transform us into true and wholehearted believers – that as carnal beings, we needed to feel both guilt and shame in order to be saved and transformed into spiritual entities.

One question that permeated my mind growing up, but I’d never dare to publicly ask:

Why would Jesus die for me when I never asked Him to?

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