Thanksgiving: When Life Hands You Exploding Apple Cake…

Thankfully, my disaster didn't involve scraping glass shards up off the oven floor. (Credit: David Lounsbury, CC license.) I don't know exactly why this container shattered, but just as a PSA, don't put cold pyrex into a hot oven--let it rest a bit first, or else put it into the cold oven right when you turn it on.

First off: Happy Thanksgiving! I’m glad you’re here. Today I want to talk about kitchen disasters. Don’t get me wrong. I take pride in my skill in cooking. This skill was won only at a great cost in effort, and the fact that I ended up a good cook is the best evidence there is that cooking is in [Read More...]

The Google Doodle: Surprisingly, Ken Ham Was Right About Something.

Notice anything... science-y about it? (Screengrab from

If you’re seeing this blog post a bit late, here’s the writeup about the wide-release November 24th doodle from the folks at Google themselves. You see, November 24′s doodle celebrates the 41st anniversary of the discovery of that world-famous Australopithecus afarensis skeleton quickly nicknamed “Lucy.” [Read more...]

Salt and Light: Christians (Don’t) Light Up My Life.

Light and darkness. Can't have one without the other, can we? (Credit: Ricardo Liberato, CC license.) A cloudy day in Latvia.

Hi all! Last time we talked about the first part of a new Christianese metaphor making the rounds, “salt and light.” We focused on the “salt” part of the metaphor last time, so today we’ll be looking at the “light” part. The term “light” has long been something Christians claim ownership of in the context of seeing themselves as the shining lamps that light up the dark world. We’re going to talk about the term itself, how I used to see it discussed, and how I see it changing in usage today. [Read more...]

Salt: The Permission Slip Christians Wanted.

Salt farming. (Credit: Brian Evans, CC license.)

Today we’ll be talking about the increasingly-popular Christianese phrase, “salt and light.” It’s one of those fundagelical concepts that has been creeping around in the background of Christian churches and apologetics for a while now–this idea that churches and Christians alike are supposed to be “salt and light” to the society around them. I didn’t hear the phrase much at all when I was a Christian; like a lot of their other weird ideas, this is a pretty modern one so it might have taken you by surprise too. We’re going to talk about how Christians conceptualize this idea, and then how it actually works out in reality, because this idea is yet another in a long, long line of excuses Christians use to be assholes to people. Knowing about this permission slip helps you see it when it’s deployed against you, and it’s one of those dog-whistle terms that is useful to know when you see Christians slip it into conversation. [Read more...]

Update Time! Where Are They Now?

KITTENS MUST HAVE MORE KITTENS. These are actually vintage kittens from the Boston Public Library's Flickr feed--and if you're not following this feed, I don't know what's holding you back other than, perhaps, not using Flickr, I suppose. (Credit: Boston Public Library, CC license.

While writing about Ben Carson, I realized that it’s been a while since I checked in on the various Christians I’ve discussed here, either on their own or as part of my series about the Cult of “Before” Stories. I thought it’d be fun to see how they’re doing nowadays. Let’s check in on a few of them! [Read more...]

Full Kitten Update 1: Wonderment.

Kitten butts make the nicest pillows.

Recently the fabric of my universe got re-woven through the adoption of a pair of orange kittens. Today I wanted to write an update about them since so many of y’all were interested, and also to talk about something I was reading about wonderment last week that caught my attention. Bumble and Bother are getting big [Read More...]

Regarding Christians Who Gloat About People Burning in Hell.

Burning Down the House. (Credit: Joseph Krawiec, CC license.)

There is something truly grotesque about the way so many Christians seem to get off on the idea of people burning in Hell. I don’t think they even realize they’re coming off that way, they’re so desensitized to the idea by now. The idea that a huge number of their family members, loved ones, and total strangers alike are one day going to burn forever and ever and ever is so endemic to their worldview that I’m not sure they even realize what it means or what their gloating implies about them as people. Today we’re going to talk about this mindset and what it means–and why good people reject it. [Read more...]

We Welcome Ben Carson to the Cult of “Before” Stories.

We can all be thankful that the supernatural isn't a demonstrated reality. (Credit: Sin Jones, CC license.)

A long time ago, I wrote a post called “A Cult of “Before” Stories” in which I described what it was like as a young Christian to realize that my then-husband had constructed a testimony full of lies–and how I realized that pretty much all of the really dramatic testimonies I heard from other Christians were largely untrue as well. On the heels of realizing that these stories were untrue, I also began to perceive the unbelievably rich rewards Christians get for concocting and sharing these dramatic testimonies. I began to see my tribe as one that was simply obsessed with these “before” stories–thus, my name for the mindset. [Read more...]

Priorities, Priorities: Freedom 2015.

If you keep people busy and confused, they're liable to think they're having fun. -- P.J. O'Rourke. (Image credit: Pete Markham, CC license.)

Sometimes when people can’t possibly achieve a goal, they start setting some downright odd priorities to make themselves feel like they’re getting something done. Lately we’re seeing some of that behavior out of Christians–and it’s another sign that things are getting better (for the rest of us). Misplaced priorities are just part of the dying pains of a major movement. This time it’s not quite as comical–or as harmless–as their apparent war over how brightly-lit their churches should be during services. This time they’re attacking tolerance itself. [Read more...]

To Flounce or Not to Flounce: Christians Are Starting to Admit They’ve Lost Their Culture War.

Some things last... other things don't. (Credit: Alun Salt, CC license.)

I couldn’t help but notice a major shift in the tenor of how Christians are engaging with general culture in the wake of the Supreme Court case about equal marriage–and a new discussion emerging from the ashes of that decision. Today we’re going to talk about that shift and what that discussion is, and what that discussion is leading toward for them–and us. [Read more...]