Natural Wonderers On Hiatus

Hi friends, A quick note to let you know I’m taking a hiatus from Natural Wonderers, as I’ve begun writing a new book and need to focus my very-limited-even-on-the-best-days mental energy on that. In the meantime, consider finding me on Twitter or Facebook, checking out my column at the PBS NewsHour, or tracking me down at Brown Paper Press — a boutique publishing [Read More…]

‘Tolerance is on the Ballot’ — and Children Stand to Lose Big

As some of you no doubt heard, President Barack Obama (boy, do I like still writing that) gave a stirring speech Sunday in which he pleaded with every African-American citizen to, GODDAMMIT, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GET OUT AND VOTE. Okay, he didn’t put it that way, but he may as well have, as emphatic as [Read More…]

Q&A: Author of ‘Grandmother Fish’ Shares His Eureka Moment When Writing Children’s Book on Evolution

As my legions (read: dozens) of loyal readers will no doubt recall, I recently reviewed a children’s book called Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution by Jonathan Tweet (illustrated by Karen Lewis). A beautiful and engaging tale told for very young children, the book is, bar none, the best book of its (admittedly kinda limited) genre that I’ve ever [Read More…]

6 Reasons Teachers Need to Expel Behavior Charts

My daughter started her first day of fifth grade this week with a wonderful new teacher and, to my delight, the absence of one of the most annoyingly ubiquitous “tools” in modern classrooms today: the Behavior Chart. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those color-coded charts meant to represent your child’s  level of behavior that day. If kids are “good,” they get [Read More…]

How to Become an Ambassador for Your (Nonreligious) Worldview

Is it just me or does it seem, sometimes, that nonbelievers are more “tolerant” of people’s cultural beliefs than they are of people’s religious beliefs? Maybe that’s because culture implies something inclusive, unthreatening, even poetic; while religion implies something elitist, closed-minded — and not the least bit charming. I’m overgeneralizing here, of course, but hopefully you see my point. Like, when we think of “Nigerian [Read More…]

Cheers! God Can Kill You With the Push of a Button

In celebration of my daughter’s 11th birthday — ELEVEN, PEOPLE — I offer you a post from five years ago. May the messy conversations continue. My 6-year-old likes to talk about God. She delights in the idea that the Big Guy upstairs made everything she sees around her. And she’s eager to explore why some people [Read More…]

Science Camp Teaches About God, and It Reminds Me of Insane Clown Posse

“Where there’s a will, and there is a fucking will, there’s a way, and there is a fucking way. There’s always a fucking way.” — Sexy Beast (2000) This is the quote that first jumped to mind when I read about a Texas church hosting a children’s science camp with a heavy emphasis on — what else? — God. According [Read More…]

Video of the Week: Irish Kids Talking About Religion 

An Irish news site posted a short video yesterday featuring four children talking about what it’s like to learn about religion in school — and there is ample evidence to suggest that it wins the week in videos. Exhibit A: There are few things more adorable than 11-year-old children speaking in Irish accents. I don’t mean that to be condescending; it’s just [Read More…]

‘Patriotic American Muslim’ Delivers Speech for the Ages

Today I relinquish this humble space to the words of Khizr Khan, the Muslim father of a fallen soldier — and war hero — who died protecting his American comrades in 2004. Delivered at last night’s Democratic National Convention, Khan’s words were few — but they were powerful. And his delivery was off-the-charts good. Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal, [Read More…]

Church Is Fun! (Or Is It?)

Many years ago, I interviewed Dale McGowan, the director of growth and engagement here at Patheos and the editor/author of Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion and Raising Freethinkers: A Practical Guide to Parenting Beyond Belief. McGowan is an advocate for exposing children to a variety of religions firsthand and told me that, over the years, he has [Read More…]