It's a truly bizarre, almost out-of-body experience to walk back into a church as a non-religious Exvangelical and drop right back into your old Christian persona.
I never mean to do this. It usually happens when I'm visiting my family, or reconnecting with old church friends. The casual religious comments, the natural assumption of shared experience and perspective, even the lingo changes ("oh my goodness" replaces "what the FUCK" really quickly in these situations) is like dropping into a familiar old chair.
It's never meant to be disingenuous, just as my time in Christianity wasn't. What I felt and experienced in those years was very real to me. As a dear friend put it today: "Stepping back into that role doesn't feel like a lie, it just feels like tapping into a particular part of myself." That part might be dormant, but it's still there.
When I participate in a worship service or engage in academic discussion about the Bible, what I'm communicating and feeling are real. But afterward I discover a bad taste in my mouth - a painful realization that I'm inhabiting a persona that no longer exists, that shouldn't exist.
Sometimes staying away from Christianity is more than creating space for healing. Sometimes it's about authenticity too. And setting healthy boundaries around interactions with the religion is an important step, for me, toward wholeness.