Fat Girl,

The Stories We Tell: Purity Culture and Shame.

April 1, 2016 7 Comments

I had a very eye-open­ing con­ver­sa­tion with my mom recent­ly.

We were talk­ing about my mar­riage to my ex, and she asked me if her hunch was cor­rect that I’d have mar­ried him any­way if my par­ents hadn’t giv­en us per­mis­sion. (You see, in our iter­a­tion of puri­ty cul­ture, even as a 22-year-old adult, I need­ed my par­ents’ per­mis­sion to mar­ry.)

I thought a moment and answered hon­est­ly: yes, I would have still mar­ried him. Then I clar­i­fied, “I hon­est­ly thought I had to.”

You didn’t get that from us!” Mom respond­ed in aston­ished con­fu­sion. “You don’t have to mar­ry some­one just because you slept with them.

Let me state up front: that’s an entire­ly true state­ment. I agree with it 100%.

And yet it was my turn to be shocked.

Because that state­ment flew in the face the entire nar­ra­tive of my first 20+ years of life..

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Observations about relationships in Christianity.

May 8, 2015 2 Comments

What kind of foun­da­tion forms a last­ing friend­ship, then? I mean, friend­ships are a pret­ty per­son­al thing. There’s lots of aspects that are dif­fi­cult to pin down, usu­al­ly includ­ing com­pat­i­ble per­son­al­i­ties, shared expe­ri­ences, out­looks on life, mutu­al­ly enjoy­able activ­i­ties, etc. I think those things are a giv­en, no mat­ter whether you’re a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian or not. But in my expe­ri­ence, the ingre­di­ents that point to longevi­ty seem to be a pret­ty equal mix­ture of mutu­al admi­ra­tion, respect, and trust. The Chris­t­ian friends I have now who have been friends of mine for years weren’t my friends just because of our once-shared faith. We became friends through dis­cov­er­ing and indulging in shared inter­ests, sure, but we did it while demon­strat­ing respect for each other’s indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and per­son­hood. Our per­son­al­i­ties do click, but we also work hard to be empa­thet­ic, trust­wor­thy, respect­ful peo­ple. We care about each oth­er, what demon­stra­bly makes each other’s lives more mean­ing­ful and ful­fill­ing, no ulte­ri­or motives.

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No more faith: the whys and why nots of my deconversion.

December 31, 2014 22 Comments

It’s real­ly rather rare for peo­ple to ask me why I decon­vert­ed from Chris­tian­i­ty. Like, real­ly rare. It’s far more com­mon for them to assume they already know, whether they’re talk­ing to me while they’re express­ing this assump­tion or not. How­ev­er, in a sin­gle week, I’ve had two sep­a­rate unaf­fil­i­at­ed peo­ple ask me a vari­a­tion of the same ques­tion about the role fun­da­men­tal­ism had in my decon­ver­sion. Of course, I’ve been try­ing to fig­ure this out for myself on a less-spe­cif­ic scale for the bet­ter part of two years, though much of it has been in my own head. Per­haps it’s time for me to work out of my thoughts here with you.

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I belong to me: learning agency & consent outside Christianity.

November 15, 2014 28 Comments

By and large, Chris­tian­i­ty as a sys­tem in the West­ern world teach­es peo­ple to run rip-shod over the bound­aries of those with­in and with­out their camps under the guise of love.25 The con­sent of its mem­bers and non-mem­bers alike isn’t required, as clear­ly demon­strat­ed by the past almost 28 years of my exis­tence. And that’s a mas­sive prob­lem, enabling (and at times com­mand­ing) the manip­u­la­tion, mis­treat­ment, and abuse of count­less peo­ple.

In fact, I’d say one of the defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics of Chris­tian­i­ty today is that it has a con­sent prob­lem.

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Lessons Learned at the Fortress of Faith: Part 3

August 25, 2014 0 Comments

As I’ve stat­ed before, Bob Jones Uni­ver­si­ty habit­u­al­ly cre­at­ed spir­i­tu­al moun­tains out of cir­cum­stan­tial mole­hills. We were to strive for per­fec­tion in every aspect of life, and any­thing less than that was an offense to God and the admin­is­tra­tion.

There’s a say­ing from the founder of the school…well, I mean, there’s hon­est­ly a bajil­lion say­ings from the founder of the school. They’re so revered that they are lit­er­al­ly engraved in plaques in every class­room across cam­pus, and you can even buy a book filled with his quips of wis­dom. But one say­ing in par­tic­u­lar was quot­ed quite a bit when I was there: “It is nev­er right to do wrong in order to get a chance to do right.” On the sur­face, and espe­cial­ly when I very first arrived on cam­pus, I agreed with this 100%.

Again, I’m faced with the dif­fi­cul­ty of explain­ing a sub­cul­ture when some of my audi­ence has nev­er expe­ri­enced it, and some of it may think there’s noth­ing wrong with it. It’s dif­fi­cult to know where to begin or how to explain things that I intu­itive­ly learned through var­i­ous cir­cum­stances, oth­er than to talk about the var­i­ous cir­cum­stances that taught me that some­times, it’s good and right to do “wrong.”

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith: Part 2.

August 13, 2014 2 Comments

The atmos­phere and its com­plete per­me­ation of BJU dorm stu­dent life is impor­tant because of the nec­es­sary iso­la­tion it engen­dered. There was sim­ply no way of know­ing who was fol­low­ing the rules because they believed them to be right, and who was just try­ing to keep their head down long enough to get out as unscathed as pos­si­ble.

Not with­out open­ing your­self up in ways that could have pret­ty seri­ous con­se­quences.

That made it all the more pre­cious when peo­ple would acci­den­tal­ly let slip that they were a nor­mal per­son try­ing to get by, just like me. These moments were quite rare, but absolute­ly sacred — mem­o­rable if for noth­ing else than the brief sol­i­dar­i­ty they brought.

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith, Part 1.

August 8, 2014 0 Comments

What start­ed as a sur­vival tac­tic to escape the para­noia that Bob Jones Uni­ver­si­ty instilled in me turned into a con­fi­dent deter­mi­na­tion to con­trol as much of my life as pos­si­ble. It revealed my inde­pen­dent spir­it, and for that I am thank­ful.

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Lessons learned at the Fortress of Faith: An Introduction.

August 6, 2014 4 Comments

I thought that the hard­est thing about being at BJU was going to be just learn­ing how to fol­low an amaz­ing­ly ridicu­lous set of rules — and frankly, I thought I had that cov­ered. I grew up in a con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian school where BJU groups vis­it­ed for recruit­ment pur­pos­es. I was usu­al­ly one of the good kids, so I thought BJU was going to be a col­lege-ver­sion of my high school. No big deal.

Boy, was I wrong.

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The passing of a mentor.

October 30, 2013 2 Comments

One of my favourite art teach­ers of all time died yes­ter­day evening after bat­tling can­cer for just over a year. I was for­tu­nate to be able to com­mu­ni­cate the fol­low­ing to him before he died, but I want­ed to share with every­one else as a trib­ute to him.

Here’s to you, Mike Slat­tery, enthu­si­as­tic artist, kind-heart­ed soul, best of men.

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