The Prodigal Mom

I am thirty-three years old. I am holding my baby. I have come to worship. I am so anxious I can hardly breathe. Photo by Alex Hockett on Unsplash It feels like my heart is going to burst out of my chest.  It feels like a constant struggle not to run away.  It feels like my journey from ‘good Christian girl’ to ‘spiritual failure’ is complete.   It has taken me months to come back to church since my girl was born. She… Read more

Raising Children Without the Evangelical Savior Complex

“People need the Lord ~~” I can’t tell you when I first heard this emotionally stirring chorus, but I can tell you that I was very young. Growing up evangelical, it was instilled into my impressionable spirit a sense of urgency to reach the world for Jesus. Soothing, meditative music was good. Cultivating a love for others was good. A sense of mission and responsibility to the world was good. Developing an unhealthy evangelical savior complex was baaaaaaad.  Photo by Gabby… Read more

Teen Vogue, Anal Sex, and the Christian Response

I started following Teen Vogue back in the fall, when it first became clear that the editorial content had moved well beyond fashion trends and into the realm of politics. Here was a publication with a critical editorial vision and slant that lifted up marginalized voices — young women, people of color, queer folks (even pro-choice clergy!) – and spoke clearly about the impact of cis-het white (mostly male) privilege on its audience. Teen Vogue was connecting the dots. I… Read more

I Miss Pride Month

I miss PRIDE Month already. I miss Facebook’s rainbow emoji’s, the vibrant colors and encouraging words woven throughout corporate ads and banners, and the sea of rainbow-clad children parting the streets of Huntsville, Alabama, and other townships and cities that intertwine to form the Bible Belt. Photo: provided by author, Rebecca Wortham. Pictured: Rebecca and her son. I enjoyed marching alongside so many colorful comrades in this year’s PRIDE Parade. The lessons learned and love and laughter shared were invaluable…. Read more

Family Drama, Bad Religion, and Shit Happens

Family life is unruly. And I’m not just talking about the teenager’s bedroom, I’m referring to the reality that shit happens, from the inconveniences of delayed flights on family vacations to life-altering blows of divorce, depression, or death. Image: Unsplash There is within us a human impulse to try to contain the chaos, to explain and control events of our life in a way that makes sense and brings comfort. Fundamentalist families provide this by prescribing life into a system… Read more

Don’t Ask Your Child to Forgive

Growing up fundamentalist, forgiveness was an indispensable part of Christian life. Embedded in the gospel was the narrative of God’s forgiveness of our sins, and our subsequent reflection of God’s grace through our own forgiveness of others. ‘Forgive us, as we also forgive others,’ Jesus taught us to pray. There is depth and spiritual wisdom in the call to forgive that lead to powerful stories of healing, reconciliation from individual and family discord to large scale social/political schisms. And yet…. Read more

VBS Alternatives for UnFundy Parents

Summer is upon us. For parents, this means day camps, pool days, and for church folk – Vacation Bible School. VBS is fun-filled, over-the-top, and often chaotic but gosh, some of my fondest memories as a kid were those I made at VBS. There’s something special about a space carved out in the church during the summer that’s just for kids. However… Many of us who have deconstructed (or are in the process of deconstructing) our own childhood faith cringe… Read more

Parenting Without Spanking

In two recent posts, I took issue with the practice of corporal punishment against children. First, I said it’s high time that the church starts talking openly about physical punishment if we’re going to get serious about ending child abuse. And second, I argued that corporal punishment is inherently violent and violence against children is never okay. In this third post I want to offer resources to parents who are interested in pursuing alternatives to corporal punishment.   General parenting… Read more

Is it Possible to Maintain Healthy Relationships with Fundamentalist Family?

E asks, Hello, Cindy! I was hoping to receive some advice regarding creating and maintaining positive relationships between my children and their fundamentalist grandparents and other family members. I was raised in a fundamentalist family, where I was homeschooled and forbidden to have “secular” relationships with people, including cousins and neighbors. I’m now 34, married with two children, I have a degree in early child development and my husband is a high school teacher. We attend a Christian church that… Read more

Contemplative Prayer with Kids

It’s hard for a five-year-old to stay quiet for any stretch of time. It’s also challenging to help children stay on topic while sharing their thanksgiving and requests during prayer each evening. So it’s another level of difficulty altogether to guide my youngest son in the silence of contemplative prayer when we pray together. I aim to practice silent, contemplative prayer before God for at least 20 minutes each day. With my son, I’m lucky if I can even get… Read more

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