A Brief Comment on Divorce and the Bible

Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away. (Malachi 2:15-16) When was the last time you looked at this verse? It’s used all the time, in the Message and in evangelical culture, to justify opposition [Read More...]

The Old-School Logic of Abortion in the Message

I recently had a discussion with Libby Anne at Love, Joy Feminism about the logic of anti-abortion beliefs in evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity. I was struck by the difference in our past experiences. Although the Message has grown to look more and more like mainstream evangelical Christian culture by embracing courtship, the Republican party, Vision forum [Read More...]

(In)voluntary Submission

I’ve noticed a lot of comments on No Longer Quivering recently claiming that there’s a difference between “voluntary submission,” which is godly, and “involuntary servitude,” which is not. The arguments usually run like this: Submitting to my husband fulfills my God-given desires for leadership. I don’t mind submitting to my husband; he doesn’t lord 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...]

Overgrowth: the Story of a Big Marigold

My garden has been growing unchecked for at least a month while I tended to less earthy pursuits. Gardening always takes me by surprise. My plants seem so well-behaved, growing silently in their places, that every once and a while I stop, take a closer look, and am surprised to find that enormous clover have [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...]


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