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...]


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“Daddy, Is the Devil Real?” A Response

A few weeks ago, a reader sent me a post from a blog on the progressive Christian channel and asked for my opinion. The post is called Daddy, is the Devil Real? The author, Morgan Guyton, explains that the devil came up during scary story telling with his sons, and that his five-year-old asked if the devil was real, and that he said yes, which very much concerned his son. Guyton explains his belief as follows:  I really do believe that somebody’s out there who’s behind the world’s evil. People r … [Read more...]


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What’s More Terrifying than Left Behind?

I remember the movie very clearly. We watched it some church event or other, which I can't remember. But the movie---the movie I remember.It began when an angel appeared to a woman and told her the date and time she was going to die. The woman was a worldly woman who did not know Jesus, and the angel's announcement of her time of death was meant to bring her to her knees and lead her to salvation. It didn't. Instead of accepting the inevitable and coming to Jesus, the woman determined to do … [Read more...]


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I Am Not a Child

Over Thanksgiving we got together with some relatives on Sean's side of the family. One of his cousins, whom I will call Hillary, is about ten years older than Sean and I, and watching her interact with her mother (Sean's aunt) was fascinating. Her mother, you see, can be a bit overbearing. Hillary, don't you think this, and Hillary, don't you think that, and so on. But that didn't phase Hillary. Hillary obviously loves her mom and vice versa and they appear to have a strong and healthy … [Read more...]


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Growing Up Evangelical at the End of the World

"Dad, when do you think the rapture will happen?""Oh, probably in the next five or ten years."I was eleven. Eleven. And I trusted my dad. I respected him, a lot. He was the smartest person I knew - well read, intelligent, a thinking person. You know how doctors sometimes tell cancer patients how many years they have left to live? That's what this felt like. I had ten years. Ten. No wonder I hoped to marry and have children early. I didn't want to miss my chance.Any time I saw a … [Read more...]


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The Purity Culture and Trust

I'm afraid I rather made my husband Sean miserable during our engagement and early marriage. For one thing, I found out that he had had sex with a previous girlfriend, and when he wasn't regretful for it, I did everything I could to let him know how much this hurt me in an effort to make him feel guilt and regret. For another thing, given that I was taught both that men constantly think about sex and that my husband thinking sexual thoughts about another woman was the equivalent of adultery, I … [Read more...]


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Fear and the Fundamentalist Child

Today is Halloween. Sally is giddy with excitement. I'm taking her trick-or-treating this evening, and she's been asking every day for a month now if it is "Halloween Day." Bobby will be going too, his first Halloween, in the matching outfit Sally picked for him. The thing is, I remember experiencing Halloween as a child raised on the border between evangelicalism and fundamentalism. I loved wearing a costume and attending our church's Harvest Fest, but I also believed that Halloween was Satan's … [Read more...]


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