Jim Palmer

Jim Palmer

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Jim Palmer is the Founder of the Center for Non-Religious Spirituality (nonreligiousspirituality.com). He is an author, activist, speaker, spiritual director, professor, Chaplain with the American Humanist Association, and leading figure in the non-religious spirituality movement. Palmer received his Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Divinity School in Chicago, where he served as a pastor at the mega-church, Willow Creek Community Church. He was later the founding and senior pastor of Springbrook Community Church in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2000, Palmer left professional Christian ministry and began chronicling his journey of "shedding religion to find God." After leaving professional Christian ministry, Palmer served as Executive Director of a non-profit agency providing comprehensive and long-term intervention programs for at-risk children and their families. He also served as U.S. Director of Education for International Justice Mission (IJM), an international human rights organization in Washington, D.C. He traveled through South Asia with IJM as part of an operation to free children from forced child prostitution and child slave labor. Palmer is also known for having pioneered the Pilgrimage Project, a "church" alternative comprised of an organic network of interpersonal relationships in Nashville. Since 2005, Palmer has been sharing his journey of "shedding religion to find God" as an author and speaker. In addition to writing books, Palmer contributes articles to various websites and journals, and writes a regular column for his statewide newspaper, the Tennessean. He is recognized for his expertise in counseling people with Religious Trauma Syndrome, and leads workshops, retreats and support groups for those breaking free from toxic religion. As a spiritual director, he guides others through the process of deconstructing and reconstructing life after religion. Many church leavers and "nones" relate to Palmer's journey of exploring meaning, wellbeing, happiness and spirituality outside the framework of organized religion. Palmer is the voice of the Non-Religious Spirituality Podcast, and sparked the Occupy Religion message and movement. He is currently an adjunct college professor of Ethics, Linguistics, and Comparative Religion in Nashville. In 2012, Palmer founded The Religion-Free Bible Project, an effort to create a paraphrase of the Bible, free from the religious bias that Palmer believes has been imposed on it. Palmer actively promotes causes that have touched his life. Diagnosed as a child with Tourettes Syndrome (TS), he raises awareness about the disorder and corresponds extensively with others who suffer from TS and parents who have children with TS. As a result of Palmer's work with International Justice Mission, he consistently speaks out about human rights issues of all natures, including forced child prostitution and child slave labor. In addition to his travels in South Asia, Palmer has spent time in India, Africa, and Thailand. He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Palmer's personal interests include endurance sports, hiking, animals, photography, music, art, and literature.
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