this glorious maze

because life is full of twists and turns

dear evangelicals

It seems strange to hop on here with a post like this after not posting in so long, so I’m sorry for the strange re-entry.   This is a post that I’ve had brewing in my heart and mind for a few years now and finally this month typed up.  I’ve been sharing lots of quick thoughts over on Instagram so you’re welcome to follow me there if you want to see what I’ve been up to while the blog has been quiet.  Love, Callie


Dear Evangelicals,

I should be a shining example of all the beliefs you stand for, a testament to your disciplining. Instead you’ve lost me altogether.

I was raised deeply rooted in your circles: homeschooled, always in church, educated at a Christian university. And it was a happy life. For years I absorbed your messages and allowed them to develop within me. I touted your beliefs wherever I went and defended Christianity as I had been taught. I was ardently pro-life. I believed whole-heartedly in your teachings and shaped my life around your doctrines.

I am so very different now.

You see me as a failure, as walking always from all those beliefs. Yet I carry those same tenants of faith with me today. I haven’t walked away from my beliefs; I’ve simply given them space to grow and mature and the outcome isn’t what you expected.

You taught me to be pro-life. That abortion was one of the worst sins and that it must be fought at every turn. But I grew up and opened my eyes to the racial disparities around me. And so being pro-life for me means boldly declaring that black lives matter. It means listening to the weary voices who have been saying for so long that our country has a problem with race and that something must be done about it. It means amplifying their voices and standing alongside them.

You told me about purity and how the sexual revolution had corrupted our society. And yet it was your purity culture that corrupted me – my view of myself and of other women was bombarded by your lessons against sex. My worth somehow tied up with the width of my tank-top straps and the length of my skirt. I wasn’t taught consent because if all sex was forbidden than I should have been saying ‘no’ all along.

Your teachings on religious freedom were meant to steel me to fight for Christianity and look for religious persecution at every turn. But what I see are people of other religions being mistreated or underrepresented. So when I fight for religious freedom now it is with the hope that we can all live together with peace and understanding and respect.

You told me that God created this world with intent and placed it in the care of humans. Yet you also taught me to distrust science and to ignore the voices that are issuing warning. Instead I see a reason to care about the environment and feel a call to protect it.

You told me that God loves the little children. And yet I was there. I saw you not reporting abusers within your ranks, not believing the child victims. I saw leaders teach that God endorses corporal punishment inflicted onto tiny children and I knew I would not stand for that. I will not entrust my precious children to your Sunday school classes where my daughter would be told that she wasn’t as worthy in God’s eyes because of her sex. My son won’t learn that some families aren’t valid or worthy in your eyes because they have two dads or two moms.

You told me that God loved the world and so I too love this world as I seek to do good to the people around me. You taught me to vote with my beliefs and so I do. Yet my vote counteracts yours on almost every issue and almost every candidate.

You hate what I have become and yet you, Evangelicals, were the ones who seeded these beliefs so deep within me that I cannot let them go.

And this is what I want you to know, what you need to reckon with: there’s more than one way to live out these Christian beliefs. You don’t have the monopoly on virtue.   Evangelicals are far from the only moral majority.

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So I was listening to this one podcast…

“So I was listening to this one podcast…”

My husband estimates that I start a sentence this way about three times a day.  He’s probably not far off.  I’m always listening to podcasts and bringing them up in conversations.  Last year my friend Katie shared a huge list of her favorite podcasts and many of my top-picks are on there too.  But today I’m sharing a few new (or at least, new to me) podcasts that have been grabbing my attention recently.  (All links are to iTunes, but you can find most of these on Google Music, Stitcher, etc)

The Liturgists Podcast 

Start with: Episode 24: Christian Nationalism 

This podcast has sparked many great discussions between me and my husband.  The hosts are progressive Christians who are willing to delve into difficult topics and have unflinching discussions.  They have some great guests as well!

Missing Richard Simmons

Start with: Where’s Richard?

I’ll be frank: I never thought I would be so interested in a podcast about Richard Simmons.  I had a vague knowledge of his disappearance from the public eye, but I hadn’t kept up on the story.  This podcast investigates his sudden vanishing and it is EXCELLENT (and it is just getting started so if you want to listen in real life it would be easy to catch up).

Prophetic Imagination Station

Start with: Connie Comes to Town

If you grew up evangelical like I did, you may be familiar with a little radio show called Adventures in Odyssey.  In this brand new podcast D.L. Mayfield (a writer I admire) and her husband discuss and critique episodes of AIO.  Think of it like Gilmore Guys for post-evangelicals.  I seriously should have started this podcast myself because I’ve spent a lot of time rehashing those old episodes.

How To Be A Girl 

Start with: Episode 1: Mama, I’m A Girl

In this podcast a mom shares her experiences raising a transgender daughter.  I love conversations about psychology and parenting so this is a good combination of the two.  It’s given me more empathy and awareness for families like these and I’m glad for that.

Pray As You Go

Start with: today’s date!

This is a short prayer service on a podcast run by British Jesuits.  They combine prayer, Scriptures, music and a short reflection into a 10-15 minute episode for each day of the year.  I love listening to it as I get ready in the morning.  (You do have to go into the feed and manually download new episodes each week as they don’t keep the entire years worth of episodes up)

Terrible, Thanks for Asking

Start with: In Love and Memory

Just a warning: if you listen to this podcast, you might cry.  A lot.  I still love it.  The host, Nora, gives people permission to talk about how they’re really doing.  They have covered all sorts of topics: suicide, brain injuries, miscarriage, infertility, sexual assault, murder and cancer.  It’s definitely not for the faint of heart.  But I love this idea of talking about those taboo topics honestly.  Nora is a funny, gracious host for this podcast.  I think you’ll like it.

Is that the weirdest mix of podcasts ever?  Probably.  But they’re all good.

If you listen to any of these I would love, LOVE to hear what you think.  (I’m not just saying that.  I really would!)  Connect with me on Facebook or on Twitter.

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If you tell your 4 year old about abortion, will you also tell her about rape?

To the stranger on social media,

I saw your post about abortion.  How you told your 4 year old that some mamas don’t want their babies in their bellies any more.  So they kill them.  Your words, not mine.

Here are the questions I’ve been asking ever since I saw your post:

If you tell your 4 year old about abortion, will you also tell her about sex?  Because I know that in many households, children learn about abortion years and years before they learn about sex.  And that seems off to me.  Does she even know how babies get in bellies?  And if you haven’t told her, why not?  Why is it too early to learn about something beautiful, but the right time to learn about something heartbreaking?

If you tell your 4 year old about abortion, will you also tell her about contraceptives?  And will you tell her that it is her right and every woman’s right to have them at an affordable cost?

If you tell your 4 year old about abortion, will you also tell her about rape?  How women, teenagers, and even tiny girls can be forced against their will?  How it can happen once or happen repeatedly, but either way leaves deep and lasting imprints on the woman.  How sometimes that vile, despicable act results in pregnancy?  How a girl who has already had her body snatched from her would feel when she learns that the effects of the rape will continue to be physically in her for 9 months?

If you tell your 4 year old about abortion, will you also tell her about mamas who want to keep their babies?  Who are making a decision that rips their heart in pieces?  Because that is part of this story as well.  You can’t simply reduce this down to “mamas who don’t want their babies.”  Women agonize over this choice and come to this decision for a wide variety of reasons.

I’m not asking you to support abortion.  But, my friend, if you decide that 4 years old is the right age to learn about abortion, will you at least tell the whole story?

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