On Weakness and Temptation: The Checkout Aisle and Me

I learned growing up that everyone has their own particular weaknesses, their own particular points of temptation. For men it might be porn, for women it might be gossip. In order to avoid your temptation you might have to avoid a particular store - like Victoria's Secret - or a particular activity - like watching chic flicks. Mine was the checkout aisle.Every time I approached the checkout aisle at the grocery, I knew I was in for a battle. It was the magazines, you see. The trouble w … [Read more...]

You’re a sinner, you’re a sinner, you’re a SINNER!

  I just read this article about how fundamentalist Christian boarding schools are luring in Chinese exchange students with promises of sound economics and repaying them with religious indoctrination. This quote from one such student struck me:  “Before, what I believed, what Chinese people believe, is that people are innately good,” she said. “I realized that I was sinful. I was lying, not loving. Those are as bad as killing someone. There’s no difference between me and a murdere … [Read more...]

Christianity, Sin, and Thought Crime

Growing up in a fundamentalist evangelical home, I had little chance to commit any serious sins. To some extent this didn't matter: I was taught that a sin is a sin is a sin, and talking back to your mother is just as bad in God's eyes as was murder. Practically, though, what sins I did commit - being mean to a younger sibling, not coming immediately when called, doing a chore sloppily - were rare and easily made right. What I was much, much more concerned about was committing thought crime. … [Read more...]

A Self-Created Problem

For a long time, I couldn't understand how anyone would turn down God's gift of salvation. Who wouldn't want to be saved? But really, the answer to that question was right in front of me, and I should have seen it. I was taught that the first step of evangelism involves convincing a person that he or she is a sinner. Once you've convinced them that they're sinners, then you tell them, using the Bible, that the punishment for sin is eternal torture in hell after they die. Once you've got them … [Read more...]

Shame, shame, shame!

I came upon this video via The Friendly Atheist. It's about what Christians are really thinking about during worship. The Friendly Atheist watched it and laughed; I watched it and wanted to cry. Why? Because this video was produced by a church. It's no simply "funny song," it's a blatant attempt to shame parishioners. And it's not like this sort of thing is uncommon - it isn't. In fact, it's common practice. Watch at least a little bit of the video, and then I will explain further.I spent … [Read more...]

The Beautiful Girlhood Doll, part 9: The Broken Doll

Soon after this rethinking of my parents’ beliefs, I returned home from college for a semester break more worried than I have ever been in my life. What were my parents going to think about my new beliefs on things like evolution, the Bible, the pro-life movement, and female equality? For a few weeks I said nothing, afraid of what would happen when I did. But the longer I listened to my parents praising me for my steadfast beliefs and condemning evolution and liberal college professors the more I … [Read more...]

(Too) Great Expectations

Quiverfull teaches that Christian parents should have large numbers of children in order to raise up and army for Christ and take back America for His Glory. My parents always told me that they were filling their quiver with arrows in order to shoot them out into the world and retake this country and this culture for Christ. They said the reason they weren’t out being missionaries, pastors, or politicians making godly laws was that they were instead investing their time in raising us to go do t … [Read more...]