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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Redeeming Love Review: “Fallen” Angel

July 12, 2015 25 Comments

Overview and analy­sis of chap­ters 1 – 6. Trig­ger warn­ings for top­ics includ­ing sex traf­fick­ing, child­hood sex­u­al abuse, rape, emo­tion­al abuse, domes­tic vio­lence, and sui­cide.

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Of masculinity & abusive breeding grounds.

June 8, 2015 0 Comments

This post orig­i­nal­ly appeared on Ply­mouth Brethren Dropout on May 26, 2014. An updat­ed ver­sion appears below. It’s been just over a year since the tragedy at Isla Vista that prompt­ed the orig­i­nal pen­ning of this post. So many things have hap­pened since then that illus­trate the points made here­in, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to: the large­ly…

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The journey in and out.

May 15, 2015 5 Comments

There had always been a dis­con­nect between what I was taught and what I observed and expe­ri­enced, between blind faith in invis­i­ble things and repeat­ably testable evi­dence. But as a child, as a teen, even into ear­ly adult­hood, I wasn’t giv­en the words to rec­og­nize the dis­con­nect, or even the tools to inspect or decon­struct my beliefs to see if there was any mer­it to them out­side of want­i­ng them to be true.

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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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For the well-meaning Christian: the rightly divided word.

May 1, 2015 0 Comments

Con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian men approach what I say in the exact same way they approach what the Bible says.

I know that’s quite a claim to make, but the more I reflect on how I was taught to approach the Bible and observe how these men approach my words, the more pro­nounced the par­al­lel becomes. What do I mean, exact­ly?

  1. They iso­late our words from the con­text in which they were writ­ten.
  2. Then they insist that nei­ther con­text nor autho­r­i­al intent can mean­ing­ful­ly affect a “plain read­ing.”
  3. Final­ly, they assert that any oth­er inter­pre­ta­tion is intel­lec­tu­al­ly dis­hon­est.
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Let me hide myself.

March 30, 2015 3 Comments

I was 15 years old, sit­ting in the front row of the church, star­ing skep­ti­cal­ly at the woman who was preach­ing to us. This wasn’t my youth group, of course — the assem­blies would nev­er allow a woman to speak like this. I deter­mined that per­haps she was like Balaam’s don­key, and did my utmost to pay atten­tion to what­ev­er word of the Lord she might iron­i­cal­ly speak despite her unfit­ness for lead­er­ship.

She walked over to her pro­jec­tor and held up a trans­paren­cy sheet. “This rep­re­sents you,” she said sim­ply. “Your lives.” She picked up a few dif­fer­ent mark­ers and start­ed doo­dling on the sheet, explain­ing that our sins and deci­sions and actions were like the marks on the page. “Every­thing is here — from the clothes you wear, to the words you say, to what you do in your every day life. They all show up here.”

The speak­er placed the sheet back on the pro­jec­tor and turned on the light. “This light is Jesus,” she con­tin­ued. “Notice how you can’t see him through the ink, only through the clear parts?” I stirred in my seat, aware of how it seemed the Spir­it was mov­ing with­in me.

She took an eras­er and slow­ly began mov­ing it across the mark­er draw­ings. I watched, mes­mer­ized, as the marks dis­ap­peared. “This is what the blood of Christ does” — she point­ed to the now-clean sheet — “so that all that can be seen through you is Jesus.” She spent the rest of her time with us explain­ing how impor­tant it was to make sure that our trans­paren­cies remained clean, that our deci­sions and words and lives were so clean that we would only reflect Christ to those around us.

As I got in the van with the car­pool that brought me to church that night, I was deeply con­vict­ed to start chang­ing my life so that I would bet­ter reflect Christ. It occurred to me that this meant becom­ing a dif­fer­ent per­son. But wasn’t that what Chris­tian­i­ty was all about to begin with, becom­ing a new cre­ation in Christ?

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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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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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Halloween as a deconverted former fundamentalist.

October 13, 2013 2 Comments

Michael and I went into a Hal­loween shop today.

I’d nev­er been in a Hal­loween shop before, and it was an eye-open­ing expe­ri­ence.

I was real­ly sur­prised to see so many lit­tle kids every­where — and not a sin­gle one of them cry­ing or scared. These kids…they clear­ly could sep­a­rate fic­tion from real­i­ty in a way that I couldn’t at their age. In a way that I couldn’t as a young adult. I envied this abil­i­ty they had that I’m still work­ing on devel­op­ing. I envied their lack of fear, their pure delight, their rea­son­ing skills.

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