“Hell is a World Without You” Book Launch/Shutdown Fullcast Live Show

I was honoured to be able to film the “Hell is a World Without You” book lauch/Shutdown Fullcast live show in Atlanta in February. It was a joy to get to meet other college football weirdoes who live primarily in my phone. I got to go to Atlanta for the first time (more photos from that later). Most importantly: I got to be part of an incredible fundraiser. But let’s back up a little.

When I heard Jason Kirk was writing a book set in the late 90s/early 00s evangelical parallel universe, I was stoked. I grew up in that era, attending increasingly fundamentalist churches. I went to See You At the Pole. I attended Acquire the Fire and other myriad youth rallies. And I tried so very hard to make that kind of faith work for me. And it never did. So I left.

I’ve loved the Vacation Bible School podcast that Jason and his wife, Emily, do. It was the first podcast I supported on Patreon. It’s been a necessary part of figuring out faith and healing from my weird, super evangelical upbringing. It’s also been an amazing connection to other exvangelicals.

So when I got to read an advance copy of Jason’s book, “Hell is a World Without You,” (available now wherever fine books are sold), it saw me. It saw me in a way I never expected anything to. Struggling with doubt, trying so hard to make faith work. And not just faith, but that specific brand of it. And not only that, but it saw my journey out of that brand of faith. And the book, the podcast, and the years of separation also mirrored my journey back to it. But let me back up.

I like college football. I like a lot of sports, but I love college football. I used to attend every Montana State football game, rain, shine, or blizzard. Also once got kicked out of one for climbing the railing to avoid the drunk sorority girl contingent, but that’s a story for another time. Every Wednesday, I listen to the Shutdown Fullcast, the internet’s only college football podcast. Nominally, it’s about college football. In practice, it’s about the absurd, which often includes college football. One of their perennially recurring episode formats are disasters episodes. School disasters, maritime disasters, wedding disasters — moments where everything went wrong. And not just a little wrong. Moments where everything went very, very wrong, but in a way we can laugh about now.

One important thing about the wider Fullcast community is that they step up. Every year, they donate 6 figures to New American Pathways, a refugee resettlement non-profit in Atlanta. They’ve also donated thousands to relief for things like tornadoes in Kentucky in the name of an anthropomorphic spider puppet from Showbiz Pizza. And as part of Jason’s preorders for the book, they donated the profits to the Trevor Project. How much? You’ll have to read to the end to find out.

For now, please enjoy the video of the “Hell is a World Without You” book launch/Shutdown Fullcast live show. Contains: your church disasters (but not mine. Mine was the time I gave myself a concussion winning a headbanging contest at a youth rally. Admittedly much less of a disaster than like, all the disasters in this episode). A reading from the book (content warnings in video). A Q&A session with Jason and the Fullcast hosts. The greatest group theatre performance possibly ever (shoutout to all my fellow Calebs). And the most moving, most inspiring sermon on the nature of love and reparative justice I’ve ever heard.

“Hell is a World Without You” book launch/Shutdown Fullcast live show

And to answer your question, the final number for the Trevor Project? $56,100.

Even if you’ve never been part of evangelical culture, or even ever been to church, you’ll see yourself in this novel. It’s the most beautifully written coming-of-age novel I’ve read in … probably ever? It’s written with such empathy for its characters and indignation for the system that created them.

Seriously, buy the book.

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