Why the “God Is a Father and Must Punish His Children” Defense of Hell Makes No Sense to Me


It occurs to me that the Christian idea of hell is tied up in ideas about parenting and punishment that are becoming less widespread. I recently told a relative that I don't believe hell exists and was met with complete consternation. But the reality is that I simply cannot make the very concept of hell make sense, even if I try. I mean don't get me wrong, I remember what I used to believe as an evangelical and why. But today, my approach to parenting makes hell---and the evangelical perception … [Read more...]

Puncturing Declension Narratives


Last week Homeschoolers Anonymous posted this photo, "an actual graph Reb Bradley created for his mental health curriculum." You can see it here: So you know what's strange? A lot of Protestants argue that before the Protestant Reformation, most people were duped by the Catholic Church into believing they could work their way to heaven. These individuals weren't really saved and weren't really following the Bible, the argument goes, and the priests and monks---the ones who did read the Bi … [Read more...]

Who Is Outside the Circle?

outside the circle

The Phoenix City Council has voted to replace the traditional prayer before their city council meetings with a moment of silence rather than allow a Satanist group a turn to give the prayer. As I was reading about this decision, I was struck by this image:The text reads "Prayer circle forms outside council meeting following vote to switch to moment of silence" and the image shows a large circle of people, some in suits, holding hands. Do you know what I feel when I look at that … [Read more...]

Naghmeh Abedini, Franklin Graham, and the Silencing of Evangelical Abuse Victims


Let me start with a word of background. Saeed Abedini converted from Islam to Christianity in 2000. In 2002 Saeed met Naghmeh, an American citizen who grew up in Boise, and together they became active in the Iranian house church movement. They married in 2004 and left for the U.S. when the Iranian government cracked down on this movement in 2005. When Saeed returned to Iran to visit family in 2009, he was detained by authorities and forced to sign a pledge to forgo any house church activities. A … [Read more...]

Bill Gothard’s Disturbing Slavery Apology


Bill Gothard has been accused of sexual harassment and abuse by literally dozens of women, most of whom were teens under his care at the time the incidents occurred, but while these accusations have forced him to step down from his position with the Institute in Basic Life Principles (IBLP), they haven't prevented him from starting a new ministry, Life Purpose Power Teams. What exactly is this new ministry? The website talks a lot about rhemas, prayer, and accountability partners. According to … [Read more...]

Young Earth Creationism’s Important Scientific Veneer


Several months ago, my mother sent me some books for the children. Most of them were standard fare and some I was really excited about, but one thing stuck out---an Answers magazine insert about volcanoes and designed for children. Answers, of course, is the publication of Answers in Genesis, a young earth creationist organization my parents support. At six, Sally is scientifically inclined and knows quite a bit about evolution from books, documentaries, and episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy. … [Read more...]

Demons and the Consequences of Feeding Children’s Fears


So, demons. I've written on this topic before, but it's been a while, and when I last wrote on this topic my children were too small to be scared of the dark. When I was a girl, I was taught that demons were real. My dad used to pray a "hedge of protection" around our house, to keep the demons out. My parents told me that there's an invisible world all around us, in which angels and demons are at war, constantly.At one point when I was girl, another woman in my parents' Bible study group … [Read more...]