June 3, 2019

I’ve already written about how church communities can support people who’ve gone through religious trauma. Churches can do much better. Today, I want to address the ways trauma survivors can take responsibility for our actions. I don’t mean taking responsibility for our trauma. That’s never our fault. But sometimes we engage in harmful actions while reacting to that trauma, and we are never justified in harming others. It’s important for us trauma survivors to take responsibility for any destructive behaviors… Read more

May 9, 2019

I’m a mother. I love my daughters. I’m overwhelmed by how cool they’re turning out. Both of my daughters are artistic, sensitive, empathetic, and their ideal evening is eating wings and watching Doctor Who. I definitely feel like I’ve done the world a favor here. That said, I really don’t like Mother’s Day. I can’t stand all the sentimental and overly sweet messaging we throw out on Mother’s Day from a culture that very obviously doesn’t honor mothers, what with… Read more

May 6, 2019

When I was a kid, I had an intense fear of ghosts and monsters. I was briefly terrified of sharks walking on land and kidnapping me when I was four, but that didn’t last nearly as long as my enduring fear of ghosts and monsters. I kept myself awake most of the night. If I closed my eyes, I wouldn’t be able to see the monster sneak up on me. If I didn’t see the monster sneak up on me,… Read more

May 3, 2019

I have a special affection for people who’ve escaped toxic churches. While there are, unfortunately, many different flavors of toxic Christianity, I’m most familiar with the kinds of toxicity that tend to pop up in fundamentalist and evangelical churches. Since I left fundamentalism (“leaving” is a nice word for “ran for my life away from”), people who have left their own churches often contact me for support and advice. After I joined the Catholic church last year, among all the… Read more

April 17, 2019

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? –Matthew 16:24-26 When I was little, I helped my father pick… Read more

April 12, 2019

When I entered the Catholic church last year, I waited until the last possible minute to go to Confession. The whole idea of it stressed me out more than anything else, including having an extremely unflattering picture of myself prominently displayed in the foyer with all the other Candidates and Catechumens. At the last scheduled Confession time before Easter, I showed up a good ten minutes early. I still found a huge crowd waiting for the priest to arrive. I… Read more

April 2, 2019

Alia Joy’s Glorious Weakness: Discovering God in All We Lack is an antidote to glossy, sickly sweet, pray-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps books. There aren’t many Christian books I feel comfortable recommending, especially Christian books that touch on weakness, loss, mental and physical illness, or poverty. Most of these books are full of prosperity gospel promises that if we just have enough faith, we’ll have the comfortable life God wants for us, which of course, ignores the fact that Christians are never promised a… Read more

March 30, 2019

Easter is coming up, and anyone who will be confirmed then is probably started to think about choosing a confirmation name. March 28th is St. Teresa of Avila’s birthday. It’s my birthday too. Two days ago, I “celebrated” as much as I ever celebrate my birthday. I showed up at my parent’s house so my younger brothers could decorate the dining room with streamers. They love their streamers. I’m not really interested in celebrating my birthday. I don’t like being… Read more

March 10, 2019

I’m idealistic. That’s just how I roll. I’m a frequent source of annoyance to my friends and family with all of these causes I’ve attached myself to. On the days when I’m least inconvenienced by my own ideals, I figure their annoyance is nothing compared to the suffering of others. But on the days I’m backed into a corner and can’t realistically act on my own ideals, I understand what’s so obnoxious about me. We don’t all have the luxury… Read more

March 5, 2019

We’ve been lamenting the state of social media discussions for years. We talk about civility and chastise people for jumping to react before all the facts are in, and then we turn around and jump to react before all the facts are in on the next news item that comes up just because that one happens to support our existing views. We attack people who post opinions we don’t like, and we bristle when someone dares challenge our own opinions…. Read more

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