No, the Crucifixion is Not About Bloody Child Sacrifice Being Necessary for Forgiveness

In my post Message to the Nones, which countered some popular but wrong-headed notions of what Christians believe about suffering, one commenter said that his major beef with Christianity is the penal substitution theory of the atonement. The good news for that commenter, and many people who have struggled with that notion (including me) is [Read More...]

Taboo Stories About Disability: What We’re Not Allowed to Say

Last week’s New York Times featured a story about Joshua Miele, who at the age of four in 1973, answered the door of his Brooklyn home to a man he recognized as a neighbor. The man, for no reason other than his disordered thinking due to mental illness, threw acid into the boy’s face. A [Read More...]

When Conflicting Stories Are Both True: Illness, Identity, and the Tales We Tell of Living with Disability

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In his vast and gripping book, Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity, journalist Andrew Solomon discusses the two narratives that we use when we talk about life with disability in general, and/or with particular conditions, such as dwarfism, deafness, Down syndrome, autism, or my own genetic disorder, osteogenesis imperfecta (OI). [Read More...]

The Dangers of “Solutionism” Applied to Our Always Less-than-Perfect Children

In the New York Times Sunday Review yesterday, Evgeny Morosov defines “solutionism” as “an intellectual pathology that recognizes problems as problems based on just one criterion: whether they are ‘solvable’ with a nice and clean technological solution at our disposal.” Observing that “Silicon Valley’s technophilic gurus and futurists have embarked on a quest to develop [Read More...]

My Cancer Playlist: On Wallowing, F-Bombs, and How We Suffer

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This is a slightly edited version of a post originally published in July 2011 on my former blog. I thought it worth a revisit given that Mumford and Sons’s popularity has exploded since I wrote this post (such a cultural bellwether I am), and that some readers are taken aback when I occasionally use profanity [Read More...]

“Love and Salt”: Two Friends Seeking God with Mind and Heart

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Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters is the kind of book that you start recommending to other people before you’ve even finished it. It will also get you thinking about your own spiritual friendships—those rare, treasured relationships with people whose company you enjoy and with whom you can discuss theological notions and the [Read More...]

Is It OK to Ask Someone About a Disability or Injury?

In our society, which has made so many strides in accessibility and understanding about various conditions, the question of whether or not it’s acceptable to ask someone about their wheelchair, limp, scars, or whatever, has become more and more fraught. Some people make such a concerted effort not to stare or look overlong at someone [Read More...]

A Message to the “Nones”: Don’t Reject God Because of Human Suffering or Christian Bullshit

It’s one of the most notable cultural statistics of our time: According to the The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the number of people claiming no religious affiliation—the so-called “nones”—is rising rapidly. About one-fifth of the U.S. population is either atheist/agnostic, or has no particular affiliation at all. A fair number of the [Read More...]


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