Why I Don’t Use Bible Verses as Evidence

It has been noted that my writing comes from experience and is secular in nature. This frustrates some of my readers and gratifies others. Here is where I officially stand on the matter. Bible verses are extremely soft evidence. Fundamentalists have taken them to “inherently” mean something they have made up for themselves. The notion [Read More...]

Contradictions: Who’s the Visual-est of Them All?

Fundamentalists argue that women should dress conservatively because men are visual. This is supposedly something women can’t possibly understand, because women are emotional, not visual. Women become attracted to men through flirtation and flattery; indeed, male visuality is like a foreign language to them. Men are not obliged to cover up for women for this [Read More...]

How the Modesty Doctrine Hurts Men, Too

I’ve written a few times about how the modesty doctrine hurts women. Now it’s time to switch lenses.┬áThe modesty doctrine also wreaks havoc on the minds of young men in the Christian patriarchy movement. Here’s how: It teaches men to be afraid of women because their sexual power is too great to be resisted. It [Read More...]

Modesty: a response to common misunderstandings

Inevitably, when I write about the modesty issue, I get some variation of the following responses: Modesty is about respecting yourself. Dressing “immodestly” also objectifies you. Only my husband has the right to see those parts of me. Do you want everyone to walk around naked? Even if men are responsible for themselves, we shouldn’t [Read More...]

How Modesty Made Me Fat

This isn’t a story about how modest clothes allowed me to “let myself go” and conceal a growing figure. It’s not even a story about how wearing modest clothes kept my self-esteem at rock bottom and thrust me into a too-close relationship with Ben & Jerry. It’s a story about how modesty doctrines impacted my [Read More...]

Throwing out the moral GPS

This is cross-posted at No Longer Quivering. Growing up in fundamentalism was like living with a moral GPS navigator installed in my head. Every decision was mapped out already; all I needed to do was listen to the voice telling me where to go. Sometimes I could stop and look at the map. Most of [Read More...]

How to fake it like a Message girl

Women in the Message of the Hour are not allowed to wear makeup. They are taught two standards of beauty: “worldly” beauty, which allegedly sends men packing into a boxcar bound for hell, and “godly” beauty. Roughly translated, “godly” beauty means being a skinny natural blonde with clear skin who manages to make her frumpy [Read More...]

On Counterculture

“Culture” is a fraught concept just about everywhere. In the academy, people debate what it is and whether it’s a useful term at all. In some Christian circles, culture is that thing you fight against in order to follow God. Evangelical Christianity in America is counter-cultural. There’s a problem with counterculture: it’s wholly dependent on [Read More...]

The Message vs. the Gospel: Lust and Responsibility

One Sunday, about a year or two before I left my Message church, my pastor warned us that one of our own had fallen away. She was the primary pianist for a small church in Maryland. Unmarried and in her early twenties, she was someone I’d always looked up to as a smart woman, an [Read More...]

Hatred and Modesty

Women’s clothing is a favorite pig to roast in the Message. Some preachers, like one “Brother Ron” who frequented youth camps in the early 2000s, would deliberately play the crowd for laughs by mimicking women applying nail polish or mascara. We were supposed to infer from his exaggerated performance that the women who spent time [Read More...]


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