Fundamentalism and the Duggar Fantasy

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I’m a writer, artist and poet, which means I fantasize quite a bit. Sometimes I fear I spend more time in my head than I do in the real world. In the recesses of my mind, anything is possible. The colors are brighter, the adventures more exciting, the people more fascinating. When I’m in that space, I feel comfortable. Joyous. Sometimes it’s hard to come back and rejoin reality.

And that’s exactly the problem. Sometimes the fantasy is so seductive, so compelling, that I start to think that it is reality–or, at least, could be. This can affect how I interact with others. In my effort to affirm the fantasy, I start to ascribe to them feelings and motivations that they may not actually have. I want the fantasy to be realContinue reading

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Don’t be Fooled: Our Culture is Lying to Us

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A few years ago, I watched a powerful documentary entitled America the Beautiful. In it, filmmaker Darryl Roberts explores America’s obsession with physical beauty–to the point where even 8-year-old girls are succumbing to bulimia. But the thing I found most intriguing about the film was Roberts’ own confession of how cultural standards of beauty affected him as a young man: He broke up with a charming, intelligent, beautiful woman whom he loved very much just because she didn’t look like the models he saw in magazines. Only years later–after his dynamite lady had married someone else–did Roberts realize he was chasing an impossible fantasy.

About three years ago, I started following the blog of a woman in Colorado. She and her husband had been married for about 13 years, and their sex life was starting to feel a little stale. They decided to try an open marriage to spice things up. (She started the blog to document the experience.) Within six months, her husband left her for a serious relationship with another woman, throwing the lives of their 3 school-age boys into turmoil. Betrayed and desperate for some genuine affection, the woman sought it in the casual hookups she made during her open marriage. This only wounded her further, as the men expected only one thing from their relationship: sex.

Every day, our culture bombards us with a variety of messages: Continue reading

On the Altar of Sacrifice

Once upon a time, there was a guy named Abraham. He was really old and afraid that he’d die without an heir. But then God gave him a promise: his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. A couple of decades later, Abraham’s son is born–the firstfruits of a great promise.

And then God tells Abraham to do something unthinkable. He is to take his son up on a mountain and sacrifice him to the Lord. We know how the story ends: Abraham goes up to the altar, the Lord stays his hand, a ram gets the knife instead (see Genesis 22).

Atheists like to use this passage as evidence of God’s cruelty, even though Abraham kept his child in the end. But I think this scripture is indicative of something else–of what it means to be, as Romans 12:1 says, a living sacrifice. Continue reading

Dealing with an Addicted Spouse

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American culture is rife with addiction. And many people in the church like to pretend it doesn’t exist within their pews. But it does. Often, when all the ‘amen’s and ‘hallelujah’s have ceased, and the worship team has gone home for the day, a fellow church member is whispering to a trusted friend in the back corner about her struggle to live with an addicted spouse. I know, because I’m often the trusted friend.

My heart breaks for people who have to deal with a significant other’s addiction. It is almost unbearably painful and frustrating. Addiction destroys trusts and often brings couples to financial ruin. After seeing the effects of addiction within my own family, I think it’s time to address the issue for others who may be suffering. I will attempt to shed some light on addiction and hopefully provide a little wisdom in how to deal with it effectively. Continue reading

My Faith Experience: Part 4

So here I was–despite the spiritual hunger in my soul–wondering if I would ever go back to church. Months began to slip away into years. Meanwhile, the anger and hurt that had been brewing in my heart began to overwhelm me.

I had been praying for years for God to help me forgive people who had hurt me in the past. The list of people was long and the pain very deep. At 8 years old, I was molested. At 11, a visiting missionary in his 50s came onto me. In elementary and middle school, some of my friends used me. In high school, people teased or ignored me. And of course, the pastor I had loved and supported through several of my young adult years betrayed me. Though God was helping me, I couldn’t escape the memories, and anger gnawed at me constantly. Continue reading