Because Flickr is Being Even More Durrrish Than Usual
A completely inoffensive post, except possibly for the jokes about drunk babies

Class of '96

I just sent in a check and RSVP card for my 10-year high school reunion. I have no idea why I'm going.

A couple months ago, Dooce wrote very eloquently about why Big Love makes her, as an ex-Mormon, uncomfortable. Oddly enough, the very next Sunday, The Sopranos featured a go-nowhere storyline about a fundamentalist Christian pastor visiting Tony in the hospital while on a break from a protest about pharmacists being forced to dispense birth control pills. Tony expresses concern about dispensing Viagra, correctly drawing the line from point A to point B in the drugs-that-have-to-do-with-S!-E!-X! spectrum. The pastor smiles and tells Tony that he’d never have to worry about Viagra, because of procreation-blah-blah-blah-double-standard-cakes. He then attempts to witness to Tony and get him to accept Jesus into his heart.

The whole scene unnerved me like crazy. I had to leave the room.

I grew up in the fundamentalist evangelical Christian church. I was a born-again Christian. I went to private Christian schools my entire life. And I was into it. 

Every Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night were spent at church, no matter what, and my weekends were filled with at least one youth group activity. I didn't have any non-Christian friends. Instead of Girl Scouts I attended Pioneer Girls.

I attended pro-life rallies with my parents. I thought homosexuality was a sin. I thought Rush Limbaugh was funny when he called women feminazis. I thought environmentalists were stupid. Global warming was a hoax. I believed in an extremely literal interpretation of the Bible and Creationism. Carbon dating was a conspiracy. I didn’t think you could go to heaven if you voted Democrat.

My sex-ed class taught us that it was possible to get pregnant from dry humping and women could only achieve orgasm when there was a penis present. (A penis you were MARRIED to, by the way, because YOUR CLITORIS WILL KNOW.) 

(Actually, I don’t think they covered that part of our anatomy, as I vividly remember turning to a boyfriend while watching Monty Python and asking him "What's a clitoris?")

I had a raging eating disorder, a compulsion to hurt myself and enough guilt to put an entire Catholic catechism class to shame. I got bent out of shape at sleepovers when my friends wanted to watch Dirty Dancing, but was myself a virgin mostly on technicalities. 

I never drank or smoke or did drugs until after graduation (when I promptly started doing all three, in a single night), living instead on a few emotional highs on teenage youth retreats where they basically made us sing praise songs over and over, standing up, on empty stomachs, until the oxygen supply to our brains ran low and the endorphins raged and suddenly everybody was crying and rushing to the altar to be reborn-again-again or confess their darkest sins and promise to never let their boyfriend feel up their shirt again.

I don't know why I’m going to this reunion. I don’t even know why I'm writing this. These words will sting and sadden members of my family and my fingers are shaking just from dredging up the memories.  I'm sure I'll get all kinds of hatemail and tracts about damnation and hellfire in my PO Box. 

Don’t bother. I've seen them all. I used to give them out myself.

My dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was in the ninth grade, and people at our church told us that if we had enough faith, God would heal him. Although radiation eventually sent the cancer into remission, I always blamed myself for not having enough faith to simply pray the tumor away. 

One of the graduation requirements at my high school was a mission trip. Our class decided to go to Jamaica and build a church. Which...great. Because if there's a group of people with 5,000 extra dollars lying around, it's broke-ass high school students who are trying to figure out how to pay for college in the fall.

I was a financial aid student to begin with, and had let my guidance counselor talk me into an expensive private Christian college in the Midwest that my family couldn't afford. ("Faith!" He told me. "God wants you to go there, and He will provide!") (Guess what: He didn't.)

So I (along with a bunch of other students) respectfully asked to be excused from the Jamaica trip. There was quite a lot of anger from the teachers planning the trip, for reasons I still don't get, and it was only after much protest that a second, local trip to clean up a homeless center in the west Kensington area of Philadelphia was planned.

I was sitting behind two teachers on the bleachers in the gym one day and heard them discussing the t-shirts they were having made up for the Jamaica students. 

"They look great," the one teacher gushed. "The Philly trip kids are gonna be so jealous."

"Well, it's not our fault they didn't have enough faith to raise the money," the other teacher snotted back. 

I grabbed my books and hauled ass off the bleachers, glancing back just long enough to see the OH SHIT expressions on their faces before I scoured the halls for a fellow second-class missionary to immediately report what I'd just heard. NOT HAVING ENOUGH FAITH. The ultimate Christian insult. The Biblical equivalent to flipping the bird.

45 minutes later I was being screamed at by one of the teachers in front of her freshman study hall students. She called me a liar and a gossip and a troublemaker. She started to cry because she was NOT GOING TO LET SOMEONE LIKE ME TAKE AWAY FROM GOD'S WORK. She talked about what a good Christian girl I used to be and started saying things about the devil.  I stared straight at her and didn’t flinch as she hurled insults at me. I narrowed my eyes and smiled, which sent her off on a new tirade of Crazy.

She finally calmed down and asked me if I had anything to say to her. She waited for my apology. I smiled and said no. I saw her draw herself up with rage and honestly thought for a split second that she was going to hit me. I sometimes think she would have if it hadn't suddenly occurred to her that there were other people in the room, staring at her with their mouths wide open. 

We all went on our respective trips. I cleaned up hypodermic needles in the yard outside the shelter and gave the children's play area a fresh coat of paint. We wrote papers about what we learned and how we served God and how the trip prepared us for being Christians in the real world. I wrote that only thing I learned was that Christians can be real assholes to each other.

I wonder if that teacher is coming to the reunion.

I don't keep in touch with anyone. I didn't have too many close friends there anyway. I was a huge goody-goody dork for most of my time there, and then became the mouthy gossip who hated the school and everything it stood for and every person there by senior year. I started eating again and got an after-school job where I learned to swear and found that non-Christians were really fucking easy to get along with.  I was in a car accident on my second-to-last day and barely made it to graduation. I left the Christian college after one overpriced semester when my dad's cancer came back, but I'd pretty much decided that it wasn't for me anyway. It was just like my high school, and I was fucking done with my high school.

But today, some of my former classmates seem like really cool, balanced people that I could probably be friends with now. Some of them read this site. Some of them married their high school boyfriends. Some of them had babies instead of going to college. A lot of them still go to the same church and live in the same towns where we grew up, while some of them couldn't move far enough away. The one girl I spoke to on the phone still said "oh my gosh" and I remembered how saying "oh my god" would get you detention.

Part of me envies them for still being so sure of everything that I once held dear. Another part of me wants to run screaming from the room. Another part is only going to the reunion for the cash bar and the schadenfreude. And one last small part wants to wear shoes that cost more than their mortgages.

I'm still bitter as hell. I'm still mad as hell. And I'm still totally afraid of going to hell.

Last summer, when I was pregnant, Jason and I decided to find a church. For Noah. For baptism and Sunday School and…I don't know. A moral compass we're afraid we can't provide because of the all-or-nothing approach to religion we grew up with.

(Jason's religious upbringing was, if anything, even crazier than mine, except he attended the evil public schools.)

We found a church we liked and attended for several Sundays. I remembered all the words to all the praise songs and all the prayers and found that I still know the order of the books in the New Testament. The church seemed alive and vibrant and accepting. We contemplated becoming members and volunteering in the nursery and they sent us free coffee mugs.

Then one Sunday, the pastor started talking about the next week's guest speaker. A young minister who was delivered from "sexual darkness and confusion" to "sexual salvation." 

Jason and I took one sideways glance at each other and got up and left. We never went back.

I'm not an atheist. I'm not even an agnostic. I still believe in something. I believe in God, but not in His people. I don't believe in the intolerant and legalistic bullshit that goes on in His name.

The word "Christian" carries so much baggage for me I almost bite my tongue every time I say it. I wish I knew how to fix that. I wish I could say the word with pride instead of rushing to clarify that I'm not like THOSE Christians.

I'm not the Christian I once was. But when you're taught that's the only type of Christian who counts, you can't help but wonder if you're actually nothing at all.



So, so beautiful and true, Amy. Thank you. As an ordained minister, I am often ashamed of what "Christians" do in the name of their faith. I have no longer remained in the parish ministry, and am instead a fringe hospice chaplain. The dying offer me a true perspective on what matters--the love we share with one another, and not the judgment. Your post brought me to tears. Blessings on your journey.


I believe God wants us to get off of our lazy asses, quit praying, and actually DO something for a change. :-)


I too attended the Christian private school system and for some reason even to this day I have a hard time telling people the name of my high school when someone asks where I went. I am afraid to tell them that I'm one of those people. I found it hard to bring up my beliefs or the fact that I even believed in God at all because I got tired of people rolling their eyes and saying "Oh, are you going to try to convert me now? Me and my sinful ways? Should I stop cussing around you now?". I would never, EVER, want someone to act differently around me just because I'm a Christian. I feel like yelling to cuss freely! Tell me debaucherous and scandalous stories! I have plenty myself! I know that there are a lot of Christians out there who give the rest of us a bad name, and I know it's hard to ignore them but please remember that the focus is on God, not the congregation. Easier said than done . . .

Anne Glamore

Fantastic post. Here in the Bible Belt some people are brave enough to have a bumper sticker that says "God is not a Republican... or a Democrat." Apparently that's news to some people.


What a poignant entry. And sadly, so accurate.

Sometimes I hate being labeled a "Christian" if only because of the misconceptions that come with it, most of which you named here. I still have some friends who have taken the bible and twisted it so severely that we can barely have an intelligent conversation without me eventually rolling my eyes at her, because IS SHE SERIOUS? I mean, REALLY?

I'm actually on the planning committee for our 10-year this year, and though my high school was nothing like yours, I'm still wondering if I even want to go. People can be such pricks. STILL.


I read your site every day and never comment. But this was such a beautiful and brave post. I grew up going to Catholic school but somewhere in the middle of that my family became born-again Christians. So I got a lot of different versions of Christianity and Catholicism all at once. And for a while there, I really embraced them; first the Christian part and then I really got all into the Catholic part. Now I don't know what I am, atheist, agnostic, slightly pagan--I've stopped asking. And I know that's a lot easier to do without kids because I have no idea what I would tell a child about God.

I went to my high school reunion. It included a mass in the school chapel. I was even asked to bring up some of the gifts during mass. I'm not sorry I went, though I wouldn't do it again. I may still be confused about who I am or what I believe, but that weekend showed me that I don't belong in that group. And that even if I wanted to, I simply cannot believe in the things I used to.

My family is still born again. They didn't like it when I was all Catholic but I bet now that I have tattoos (sinful) they would rather I believe in some kind of God at least. I also have suffered from depression on/off for 20 years. My Aunt says it's the devil causing my negative thoughts. My mother thinks I would be OK if I just believed and had more faith.

I didn't mean to write such a long post. But your words are really appreciated by me: Your honesty, your openness, and most of all your questions. I really admire that. So, thanks for what you wrote today. I love the baby pictures, I read your advice smackdown, and you consistently make me laugh (often out loud). But I also loved this very real and thoughful and probably difficult to write post. Thank you.


OH MY GOD! Amalah, we are one and the same! I too am a long time reader but have always been WAY too shy and intimidated to post a comment. But I now feel almost compelled to since that was such a goddamn good post! Plus, it seems kinda eery that I wrote a very similar one just a few short weeks ago on my own blog ( Anyhow, thanks for saying all that. I agree wholeheartedly. I too still believe in God, but the general culture of Christianity makes my skin crawl (and not only did I too have to suffer through Pioneer Girls, I also had to attend AWANA, where I hung out with all my non-spirit-filled, non-speaking-in-tongues, non-charismatic-therefore-slightly-less-superior-but still-goody-goody-two-shoes friends). Wow. Anyhow, well done!


I thank God my mom NEVER took me to ANY church. I don't think spirituality has anything to do with religion. Most atrocities in the world are carried out in the name of religion. I believe in God and read the bible, but you will never see me in any church. Thanks Amy!


I had a similar upbringing. And like you, I still believe but make sure people understand I'm not like THOSE PEOPLE who tell everyone they're going to hell. I finally figured out that finding a church is like finding a political party: you're never going to find one that is exactly what you want. But you might be able to find one that is close. Good luck. I'm not going to my class reunion: I hated them then, and now I just don't care.


Thanks for this Amy (as I gather your name is from reading the comments). I atttended a Pentecostal church from eight days old till I finished high school. Then I took a break, went to university and turned Mennonite (without the horse). After graduating I moved to England an am now a practicing Anglican and I love it. There is room for debate, for multiple-sided coins and intellectual discussion without guilt or emotional manipulation. Plus the choir is really good and that makes me happy.

I don't tell anyone I'm a Christian though unless they ask. Mostly this is because of my accent and I am terrified people will assume am a Bush-supporting American bible-thumper. A little paranoia on my part perhaps but here we are.

Right, didn't mean to write so much. Thanks for a great post. I'll have to mull things over and post something on mine.


I had to de-lurk if only to say AMEN SISTER. Outside of the Christian school, I had the same upbringing. When my mom had cancer, my dad went as far as having the deacons of the church come and perform a laying on of hands. When she died, he said that she lacked the faith that she could be healed. I was 15, and it was downhill from there. I escaped attending the ultra-expensive Christian college because they didn't offer TV production classes. I went to a party school in Pennsylvania and promptly drank, drugged and sexed (is that a word?) my way through my four years and then moved to LA.

I still consider myself religious - I believe there is a God, and like you, I'm still afraid of going to hell. But I can't believe in my father's God. Because that God is one of hate, prejudice and vengeance.

And I skipped my 10-year reunion - there was no way I was flying 3,000 miles to hang out at the bar on the corner with everyone who never left town.

I went to Vegas instead.

On second thought, I should have worn the shoes that cost as much as their mortgages. Damn.


Anyone who terrorizes someone in the name of God is totally missing the point. I personally find it more terrifying to grow up in any religously fanatical environment than to grow up in one without religion. This black or white, no grey area attitude towards religion is how things like 9/11 and the Holocaust happen.

Scary shit.


Excellent, excellent post.

Remember, going to church for an hour each Sunday makes you no more a "Christian" then standing in your garage for that same hour makes you a car.

You'll both pass on to Noah what you know in your hearts to be true. No worries!


Marijayde said:

Guilt - Check

Shame - Check, Check

Setting bar of perfectionism and then berating myself when I can't meet it - Check, check and check

I second that and then shamefully add that I still struggle EVERY SINGLE DAY. My upbringing was unique in that my parents shunned organized religion yet embraced a die-hard christian almost cult like organization that was close to but not quite like organized religion. When major bad things happened in or to my family it was because I wasn't faithful enough and God was punishing me. Not that I was told that directly but that was (is) the burden I carried. It is scary to be small with a sick mom and think that God hates you because somehow, at 9 years old, you are a horrible human being.

Thank you for your post. It means the world to me. I feel so very very not alone anymore.


Wow - what a lot of positive comments - to such a truthful and inpsiring post. I struggle with the term Christian. Too often I think that people mix reglion with Christianity. They use their 'belief's' to enable them to live how they feel they should live and try to push their ideas on everyone else becasue the KNOW they are right. What about love thy neighbour? What about do to others as you would want done to yourself? What about true forgivenes? Those type of things are the key values of christianity yet so many religious people forget about them. Jesus loved and honoured everyone - even prostitutes, beggars and lepers -and showed true love and fogiveness yet so many "christains" shun those same people . I think you don't need a church to be Christian- its more about living a life that is loving, honest and true


So well stated. I too was a rabid Christian teen on mission trips and letting people know just how hell-bent they were. And I too grew up to be amazingly disappointed in what kind of people the church produces. It seems as if "Christians" are really the very opposite of what it means to be Christ-like.
Unlike you, i no longer beleive in anything. And I am confortable with that.
Thanks for sharing this.


I almost started crying as I read your post. It was like reading from a page in my life. Raised a southern baptist where high school civics class gave us a semester long project to "invest" $1000 in the stock market then next period was my bible class where the teacher told us it was a sin to invest in the stock market unless it was for a "Christian" company.

I'm sorry. I'm still reeling. Your post was my life. Your feelings about your school and religion are my feelings. I went back for the 10 year, but unfortunately, it was the same people, the same empty minds filled with the thoughts of someone else. A group of people who used religion to make decisions in their life and ignore the ugly truths right in front of them.

I'm sorry. it still hurts for me too.


I can add no other words to this post except ont. AMEN.


Dear Amy,

What can I say that hasn't already been said? Ditto, perhaps?

I haven't been there but I have seen friends who have - and it has always made me uneasy. I'm Catholic, I have beliefs (although I don't practice) but they're mine, and I disagree with anyone who tries to push their religion onto others. It's personal.

I really do think that it's the extremes that are dangerous. The youth groups leave me concerned, the ones that almost seem like cults. But my partner is a practicing Catholic who attends church every Sunday, and it is the most normal thing in the world. All comes down to the extremes.



Oh, and I have to say, it was really nice to read everyone's comments and not see a single narky one.

That's support, right there.

-high fives-


With that kind of exposure to Christians and Christianity as a young adult, I can't blame you for feeling the way you do!

For my own part, I was raised Catholic and am still very happily Catholic. To me, the Catholic Church is the single best organized way to worship God, and I hold true to all the Church's teachings. This means that I disapprove of the lifestyles of many people I know and work with, but I try my best to treat everyone with (Christian!) charity at all times, and to see the best in people. I have a few atheist friends who know I don't approve of some of their behaviors, but they like to hang around me anyway because I don't get in their face and tell them they're going to hell. I'll testify to my faith when they ask me about it, and because I'm nice about it, they do ask sometimes.

Kudos to you for not rejecting God along with those wack jobs you knew in high school! I hope you someday find a good church to join that gives moral direction without being irrational and hypocritical about it.


I went to a private Christian school called VALLEY CHRISTIANS (enough said) until 9th grade where I went to public school and then became a raging anoretic/ bulimic and drug addict. It's pretty common. I love you for this post. STILL HATE YOU FOR THE MINOLO BLAHNIKS, THOUGH!



Didn't read all seventy million comments, but I do relate to some of what you said. I grew up in the AG since I was about 11, became a Christian then, and have never regretted it. Grew up, married a man who had been a Christian his whole life too, and never regretted that either. That is not to say that we haven't had our share of dealings with plenty of screwed-up Christians. My husband, who is applying for ministerial credentials btw, has a saying, "If it weren't for Christians, church would be great."

We too have had a hard time finding one where we felt like we belonged, but we keep on looking. And we have gotten up and walked out of more than one church for just being too stinkin weird or having doctrine that sounded like the pastor made it up after one too many espressos. Best wishes for you in your search.

I spent a long time being mad at God for reasons I won't go into here, but He was big enough to handle it. He didn't zap me with a lightning bolt or strike me down with cancer because I questioned Him and thought quite a few of His people were morons. He just waited for me to get my crap together, and for me to decide that I couldn't really and did need His help after all. Kinda like a good parent would. It's hard for me to comprehend that this crazy, all encompassing, take a bullet for my kids love that I feel for them is but a fraction of the love God feels for us. Makes ya think.


Surely I wouldn't want to hit Preview so I could actually read my comment before posting it for all the Internet to see...sorry, just realized that much of my previous post may not have made sense. Because one of those kids that I would take a bullet for? Is currently screaming her fool head off at a volume level that is causing my ears to bleed...Lord help me.


This post reminds me of the first time I saw the movie "Saved!" and how uncomfortable it made me. While my friends were laughing and scoffing, I was just sitting there, wanting to cram my fist into my mouth and gnaw on it for a while. Everything about that movie felt so FAMILIAR, because that was my life for eighteen years, and seeing it parodied just...made me want to throw up.

At the time, of course, it felt normal. Like you, every Sunday morning, night, and Wednesday night were church-filled. Plus, charity events at least once a week, mission trips once every few months, various youth group "vacations". At one point, I was going to five church camps per year -- I'd be a camper at Summer Senior Camp and at Fall Senior Camp, and a counselor at Methodist Easter Camp, Summer Elementary Camp, and Summer Junior High Camp.

Just seeing the phrase "WWJD?" makes me break out in hives.

That's my long way of saying DUDE, Amy, I so appreciate your writing this. So much of what you wrote resonates, especially "I believe in God, but not in His people." I too, still believe in God, but there's no way I'll ever attend a church service again. My faith is better when it's not influenced by others.

You've created a great life for yourself, Amy. It's my own personal belief that God has never and will never stop loving any of us. Keep making yourself happy -- believe me, your being happy makes countless others happy as well. You are loved, and you deserve to be. I admire the courage it took to write this post. Thank you for being so honest.

P.S. the other day I was on the phone with a friend I'd grown up. I was telling her about this guy I'd just met -- a UCLA med student who grew up in France with his diplomat parents, he also plays soccer and it extremely nice. Her first question: "is he Christian?" Oh, PUKE.


You are so not alone in anything you wrote there. It is hard, but I can relate to what you seem to be feeling. I hope you have a good time and come back feeling good about going. I am still good friends with one of my friends from back in the day and Christian school. We often talk about how it was back then and how much we're glad we escaped and have more open minds than we were trained to have. I still believe in God, but I don't agree with many of His people either.

Hope you don't get too much hate-mail for this--I know there are many of us who share your views here.


thank you for having the courage to post this.

i think more people than you or i realize have the same disillusionment with religion. i've been thinking about this topic A LOT lately and it's nice to not feel quite so alone.


Amy, thanks for being so honest. I always find it illuminating to hear what others believe and why. I'm so sorry that you've been hurt by the church. It's really meant to be a good thing...and it can be. I love my church, but some people definitely have to be taken with a grain of salt. I know when I start getting confused or disillusioned about the way people in the church act, I go back and look at how Jesus lived and what He did, and try to take direction from that. I also did this whole "sermonette" thing at my Young Adults' group about authenticity, and the importance of being honest and loving with those who believe differently.
I hope that somehow, you figure it out, all this complicated stuff, and that you and your family are happy, and blessed. I commend you for your belief, and will pray for you, in a non-psychotic way...that God will show you what He wants to, and that it'll all work out for the best. I believe He loves you, and I think you know that too? And that is, by far, the most important thing.


Thanks for saying what alot of us are too chicken to say!


You are quite the dab hand at exposition, amy.

I hope you're able to have a good time at your reunion.


So well written it made me cry.

you are not alone.


I am sorry that those people hurt you. They were wrong. Don't give up in your search. Being a Christian is so different from being a churchy person.

Hope this doesn't tick you off, but I feel compelled to start praying for you - that God will take your ugly baggage away and reveal himself to you as you've never seen him before.



My heart started pounding as I read this. I can't believe what happened with that shitty, shitty teacher. I hope she is at the reunion and you can tell her off, although I know you're probably much too classy for that. But this was a great post, and I feel like I really got to know you by reading this. Great job, Amy.

Jessica A Kirkwood

Bravo. Wouldn't it be great if there was a version of the word "Christian" that only meant the best, most tolerant, loving parts of the faith that we could reclaim?

Magistra Omnium Domina Nihili

My religious upbringing was unusual, to say the least. Father came from New York Jewish stock, mother from Puritans (as in at least one relative on the Mayflower). So I was raised by a Jewish atheist and a non-practicing Christian (no specific denomination, her parents had always attended the most liberal church they could find). My father took the lead on religion and primarily raised us atheist. I had some education in Judaism, mostly because there was little opportunity to learn about it otherwise in our community. My parents assumed that I would be saturated in Christian culture, so did little with that. One result of this is that I learned the Easter story on the playground, much as children learn about sex. My classmates were shocked and told me assuredly I'd go to hell. I was a little worried, but just could not work myself up enough to believe what they told me.

My father was diagnosed with cancer and fought several battles with it when I was in junior high/ high school. It became obvious he would not recover when I started college. One of his colleagues, someone I had babysat for, asked me once if he would want to meet with her pastor, who was willing to visit our house. I was a bit taken aback and immediately knew the answer was no. He had no deathbed conversions, never worried that he had made the wrong spiritual choices, and died having said all he wanted to his family. Many people are shocked when I tell them that I don't believe in Heaven or that I find it peaceful to imagine death as the end, period. But my father's death gave me the courage to stand by my beliefs; I had tended to call myself an agnostic to soften the edges or allowed people to assume I was Jewish based on the last name.

There is one particular point in Amy's post that resonated with me, however. The envy. I do remember a conversation with my sister a few months after my father's death. I turned to her and said, "Sometimes I really envy people who believe, truly believe, in God." She understood exactly what I meant. We talked about how, in some ways, it would be nice to feel like we could give our grief over to that faith and simplify some of the complications. On the other hand, we both knew that neither of us has the personality to do that.

My son now will be second generation raised-atheist (on my side, not on my wife's, but that's her story). I don't worry about him missing out on moral teaching or even having a spiritual side--those are both things I've managed to develop even without a healthy dose of Sunday School.


Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. You so eloquently described my thoughts & experiences, to the extent that another person could possibly share them. I LinkyLoved you at my site, complete with QuotyGoodness. Truly, Honestly, THANK YOU - from a former Preacher's Kid, gone wild and then mellowed out again. ;) Oh, and a fellow Amy. :D


I'm the same...admitting to being Christian is like...well, suddenly everyone assumes I'm what you described. I totally understand. Thanks for that!


Amy - that was amazing.

I agree wholeheartedly. When I say Christian I feel like it's a bad word.

Bishop for a grandfather, insanely religious family - the whole nine yards.

Can't we all just start our own church. Last time I read the bible - it said something about acceptance and understanding. How has the church missed that?


This is the best post written by you since I have reading your blog (about 18 months). The truth is stunning.


Wow, you're getting a lot of lurkers to come out into the open today (including me), which should tell you how much of a chord you are striking with people. How about being told you're going to hell because you're were sprinkled, not dunked when you were baptised...

I know what it feels like to idea of church, but miss the comfort of faith, and STILL be scared of going to hell. I've only started to try to explore my concept of faith again in the past year. I went to a nice church here in DC a couple of times...lightning didn't strike me and nobody yelled, so maybe there is hope out there for chicks like us.

DEFINITELY wear the shoes if you go back.


Wow - it was like reading my autobiography.
Nearly all of it.

I think we need to find a church like Cecily's.


Great post!


My parents aren't religious, but I became a Christian in high school I was totally obnoxious, and joined a very legalistic church. By the time I was in college, I was like "Forget this crap, hell can't be that bad." I was away for several years. But I stumbled into a different denomination, which doesn't have a lot of extraneous religious crap that I see in a lot of the evangelical community. It's sad that Christianity is a sub-culture. That it has it's own lingo, litmus tests, politics, and mores.

I personally feel so sad because I feel estranged from many good people who love God, just because they have so many qualifiers, I can't fit in with them.

I highly recommend that you read some Anne Lamott. She's a little to far left for me politically, but she is so awesome, and I think you'd really enjoy her writing. You can find some of her stuff online at Salon or TPM cafe.


I am a Catholic whose faith contains a dichotomy between what I consider basic Church tenets and Church policies. It is a difference that is very important to me. For instance, a central tenet is Love is good and great and fantastic etc etc; a church policy is their stance on birth control and homosexuality. My mind does not get from the tenet to the policy. Policies are made by people. People can (and totally will) screw up. It is what makes them human. So I toss out some policies and stick to the core beliefs...but that's just what works for me.

PS: love to lurk on your site :)


I went to a private Christian school my whole life including college and it wasn't until I graduated that I think that I really found out who I was in my faith. I don't agree with the religious right and I often disagree with our president. I find that many of my high school friends are self rightous and I have no desire to speak with them anymore. I get angry when I hear Christians say, “I'm going to vote republican because I'm a Christian." I often think educate yourself and vote on ALL the issues not just abortion and homosexuality. I have a gay family member and I hate that Christians judge him and all I can do is apologize to him.
I try not to judge because it is not my place, unfortunately not everyone thinks like that. I want to apologize to you as well, no one deserves to be treated that way and I am sorry that you were. I guess I can just ask that you not base your view on God on how Christians behave. We are the ones who are flawed not Him. Once again I'm sorry.


My husband and I wanted to return to church after some time away a few years ago. He wanted to return to the church he had grown up in, and my religious 'upbringing' consisted of family special occasions between United and Lutheran churches, and the infrequent visit to my grandma's Sunday School class during summer vacation. So we called the minister of the church he had been a member of for the last 15 years. He stopped going there about 5 years ago because his mother, who has custody of my stepson and is causing the legal battle from H-E-double hockey sticks, is employed there.

We called the minister, told him we didn't want to cause any difficulties, but that we wanted to return to the church family.

He told us he'd call us back later in the day.

When he did, he told us there were 42 other churches in our town, and it would be in our best interest to find one.

Forgiving. Togetherness. In the name of the Spirit. Uh huh.

Motherhood Uncensored

Wow. All that Lordy shit fucked me up too. I had knee jerks all over the place just reading that.

...Easter cards in my college friends' mailboxes (Jesus Has Risen)

...Evolution Sucks! t-shirts worn across campus

...5 Journals with all pages starting with "Dear Jesus" - please let me get 1200 on my SATs and make my dad stop drinking.

Bah. He never heard. Thank god for college, sex, and a little reality check.

I have a hard time with church now - just waiting to find one that accepts gay couples and equal rights for men and women.

Needless to say, I'm still searching.


Wow. Your ultra Born again christian school had sex ed?? In our school they didn't believe in sex. And they sure didn't teach about it. The fact that several girls got pregnant... well... they just kicked them right on out.

Anyway. What I really mean to say is, thank you so so so so so much for writing this. This is how I feel, but am not able to say this in most of my real life. Heartbreaking, really. So it's nice to know someone out there understands.

That last paragraph brought tears to my eyes and I still have a lump in my throat.

Thank you.


Bautifully written, Amy.

Linda B

I appreciate that you were willing to share your story. Letting go and opening up about religion is always a mindfield, esp in the blogging world.

I haven't the unfortunate and completely scarring experiences that you have had but I've seen the narrowmindedness and hate all around. Luckily, my husband and I finally found a church where we feel accepted and comfortable, even though we might not always agree with what is being taught. i think that is the beauty of believing in America. You are given the choice. Faith is a very personal thing and the relationship we have between God and ourselves is just that - between the two, not between God, the pastor, the neighbor lady who feels the need to tell you her gay neighbor is going to hell, the people who hold graphic pro-life posters on the side of the road.

I think you are a big person for continuing to search for something like this, despite all of the negative things you've experienced in the past. I hope you and jason continue to search for a place where you feel comfortable and accepted.


Wow. That is all so familiar that it hurts.

I haven't been able to maintain my faith in God or Christians. It took me years to be comfortable with saying, if only to myself, I don't know (if there is a God, if there is truth...)

My family are all convinced that I am going straight to hell. I find it difficult to have a close relationship with people who believe that for some reason.


Wow. I relate so much to this posting too, like so many others. Thanks.


Great (though painful) post, Amy. My husband was raised like you were, and we're still dealing with the concequenceos at times. My in-laws, though still fundies, are also undeniably kind, giving and loving people. I, on the other hand, was raised without any thought whatsoever as to why we might be on this planet. I grew up with no sense of purpose, no set of values imparted to me that was not about money or class. I'm not trying to minimize your experience in any way; I'm just saying that the opposite extreme is no better. As an adult, I became a Christian, as part of an open, accepting, tolerant church where the gospel preached from the altar is based on Jesus's actual words. They're out there. This church has seen us through thick and thin over the last few years, through years of infertility, a pregnancy in which we almost lost our twins, and the hard months that followed our boys' safe arrival. I hope you find what is right for your family, whatever that may be.



Don't worry, you won't go to hell because it doesn't exist.


At least you're having a 10 year reunion. The asshats in charge of my 10 year reunion were such slackers that we had an 11 YEAR REUNION instead. Like something from Spinal Tap - this reunion goes to eleven?



Ok, I'm sleep deprived and loopy so I'm not going to read the 154 comments before me, but I wanted to let you know that this post made me cry and touched me and that I'm very glad that you shared it because I know it must have been damn hard to write. Thank you.


I had a very liberal teacher in high school in the early 80s who spent the better part of her teaching time dissing Nancy Reagan as a way to show everybody how horrible Republicanism was. She just didn't get the fact that most of us didn't give a fuck about Nancy and knew better than to judge all Republicans based the one Republican the press and this teacher chose to condemn. So there are stupid people on all sides.

Go to the reunion and if things get intolerable before dinner, leave and have dinner at Pizza Hut instead. But you may be surprised to find out that many other people feel like you about wanting/not wanting to go. Maybe these people had good intentions and were a little misguided. After all ... you were.

Catholics, Lutherans, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Gays, Homophobes, WHATEVER, there are assholes in any group. There are also nice people in any group. Many of us go through the lost stage you went through. It doesn't mean everything you stood for was bad. It just means that sometimes people don't express themselves in the best way.

If you happen to run in that bitch who made the comment about the jealous Philly group, be sure to tell her the internet says to fuck off. But then again, maybe she has evolved, too.


I'm not sure you'll even read the 156th or so comment, but as a somewhat practicing Catholic, I wanted to tell you that was extremely powerful. We can't possibly know all the answers -- no one can -- and anyone who believes that they do is in danger of much more "hellfire" than those of us that will continue to question. Thank you for sharing yourself in this very personal post. And go to the reunion, if only to show some of those judgmental people that you haven't burned in hell and have, by the way, made a very nice life for yourself.


That was beautiful. Noah's lucky to have parents who are as thoughtful as you and Jason both are. And as snarky, because really, who are we to say that God doesn't like a little sniping humor every now & again (and by every now & again I mean EVERY DAY)?

But really, this is an incredibly brave post. Thank you for putting yourself out there for all of us to read.

And for what it's worth, I was raised by a lapsed Catholic and an Atheist, and I turned out fine.

Oh, and I got demoted from my high school reunion planning committee this year. I think they figured out who I was, hahaha. Some things never change.


Once again, proof that the best way to turn a person away from religion is to repeatedly subject them to institutional religion, or mandatory religious education. Nice post.


Amy, I don't comment here often, but I just have to speak up... I've had similar life experience, and I guess I have a similar dilemma now. I haven't rejected the faith I was raised with, but the Christian label makes me look around uncomfortably to see if anyone around me thinks I'm one of THOSE Christians. But I think I'm finding that middle ground, and I certainly hope (dare I say... pray?) that you and Jason are finding it too. It's a nice place to be. Maybe not as *certain* as it was when I was in my fancy Christian college, but in a way, it's nice to let go of that need to be so damn *sure* all the time.


I am so blown away. I never imagined that you came from such a background, and like so many other commenters today I really appreciate you sharing. I share so many of your feelings, having been raised as a "PD" (preacher's daughter) and now not even knowing how to view Christianity. Its so strange to be so distant from something that is the central part of your life for like...oh 20 years. I also have my 10 year reunion this year and so many mixed emotions about that.


My upbringing was very similar; the schools, the fundamenalists even the eating disorder. It really turned me off of organized religion. I thought this post was really well written, thank you for saying what Ive been trying to put into words for years.


Wow. Reading all of the comments has been amazing. There are so many similar feelings and experiences. Even though I left the church, I still feel hurt, and sometimes I would honestly like the comfort the faith and community can bring. But it's just too painful.

It's a shame that Christian has become a bad word associated with Jerry Falwell (Barney makes your children gay! So do teletubbies!) and James Dobson (Sponge Bob makes your children march naked in gay pride parades) and Pat Robertson (his prayers are better than EVERYONE else's! He can turn hurricanes!) I just keep reminding myself that if they're such fervent readers and followers of the bible, they'd realize that Jesus wasn't an asshole and wouldn't want them to be either.



I totally get the desire to find a church when you have a baby. We did for our boys (now 4 & 2) but ended up leaving because we couldn't agree with what was being said. My dh is much more comfy than I in a church setting. I set off to many alarms bells for the pastoral leadership to even be able to hide in the background. I think I give off "heathen" vibes :P

Awesome post.


I am a recovering catholic my self and couldn't agree with you more. My parish was all about who had a better car and who was a surgeon or a lawyer-with the catholics its all about the $$$$-I think if I went to church I would spontaneously combust-but I turned out ok nonethe less!


I couldn't imagine growing up like that. My parents were both raised Catholic. I think all of those reasons are why they didn't push it on us. Organized religion today seems to spew more hate than it does love.

I don't have anything against religion. If that's what blows your dress up, then go for it, but people like your teacher, who chastise me for not living a certain way makes me want to punch them in the face.


Had to delurk to say WOW and I am so glad I read this post. I absolutely loved it. From my own experience, you may want to investigate an Episcopal or Unitarian church, I found them both helpful.


Thank you. I feel like we dated.


I am kind of in the same boat as you are faith wise. I am Baptist, but I don't agree with a lot (okay, most) of the things my church does or supports. Of course, if you voice your misgivings, people think you're a "bad Christian" or something. Which I think is ridiculous, I believe people shouldn't lose sight of reality.

By the way, I am also going to my class reunion and I have no idea why. Class of 1996, woot. If it gets really bad, my husband and I will exit and go have fun elsewhere...I hope the high school drama doesn't continue in the present at this thing.


I think you summed up what so many of us feel. I do feel very different from my high school days - which is GOOD THING - as I have grown and changed and my ideas about God have grown with me. Despite me.

I'm with Mir - I'm a happy, content Methodist. There was a time I felt I couldn't be a Christian - if it was going to be all about keeping rules, that is. I feel loved by my church family, supported, and it's also open enough theologically for all the questions in the world. No guilt trip sermons, no yelling. Just plenty of humans screwing up together,trying to love each other, trying to remember and celebrate how deeply God loves us.

And! We drink! We dance! It's completely awesome. And yes, please pick up Anne Lamott. You will love her.


If there's one thing i know is true in this world, it's that we are all a product of our upbringing.

I feel for you, in that your experiences of Christianity effected you in such a manner.
The one thing i really appreciated from your post is that in no way did you "bash" the religion itself, but rather you limited it to your experience with the people you encountered. I think people are quick to judge a religion based on people they encounter who claim to be a part of it. These people who gave you so much grief in your childhood cannot be considered to be preaching the true essence of Christianity. Growing up as a teen is had enough in this world without added pressures.

I'm so proud to say that i belong to a Christian denomination that i feel truely close too. Not in any fudamentalist manner... just in a way where i feel there is a sense of love and understanding amongst the youth.

I tend to believe our life experiences ultimately shape us to becoming better human beings.
I truely hope that could be said for you.

In regards to your reunion. I know that you're outwardly questioning why it is you're going. But i have a feeling that deep down you feel the need to go. Reasons for this may be personal to you, but for some reason i think you're seeking a sense of closure to an episode in your life that caused you grief.

I hope you get exactly what you're after from this reunion, gorgeous shoes and all.


Fanfuckingtastic post...oops, can I swear in a comment about a post regarding religion?

My husband is (was) catholic. I am United. My church accepts them all. Everyone. Anyone. All of them. It is a very warm experience to see the acceptance that surrounds us. I'll just say thay my husband is now a member of the 'other' church, where we can believe in who we are, follow our own leads and still be good people.

Again, sorry for the 'bad' word.


My first visit and I am blown away.

After being raised a C&E (Christmans & Easter) Catholic, I became born again in my mid-twenties, mostly because like you, I was searching for that moral compass for my two little children. I got very involved in my evangelical church, had another baby, homeschooling, the whole bit. Looking back I'd say it was mostly a positive experience. But 7 years ago I faced a personal crisis and learned who the true Christians were. I no longer live in the same town but those people will always be in my heart. As for the others, I forgive but I don't think I've ever gotten over the hurt I experienced.

Every so often I try to go back to church but it always ends up making me cry. I'm still struggling to sort the core stuff from all the baggage. I haven't attended a church service in over a year. Not even last Christmas. But I still believe. I still know that God is there. I see him every time I go for a long walk or spend time in my garden. It makes me sad that despite my best efforts, none of my three kids, now in their teens & early 20's, believe in God. So, you see there are no guarantees.

Like everything else, just do the best you can for your son and have faith that it will all somehow work out.


Been there, done that. I turned away from the faith only to come back in my late 20's (I am now 30). It is now about me and God alone and I am staying away from the legalistic end. I am very careful about churches and the people in those churches. It is the people who ruin it and turn people away from God, not God Himself. It is very sad and I have struggled with my own anger from my own experiences. Over the past few years I have noticed a change of heart within me that I had not experienced before and my faith has deepened as a result. I am no longer trying so very hard to be "Super Christian", earning my way into God's good graces, and resenting it in the end.


Hi Amy. I've been reading your blog for about two years now. I was such a fan, that I could probably safely say I've gone back through the archives and read every old post too. As crazy good and hilariously funny I think you are, and Noah (oh my! the cuteness) I think this has been by far my favorite post of yours. I am in my early twenties, had been raised pentecostal all my life, and left the church a little over a year ago. I still worry about a lot of things, so unsure about others, and like you think a lot of christians (from first hand experience) are down right more snarky and cold hearted than the average joe's. (my mother included) I'm not sure if its the best decision I've made yet by leaving the church, but I know I've been more happier than I've ever felt, more real, and not feeling fake for the first time in my life. I heard the statement the other day "I'd rather be hated for someone I am, than loved for something I'm not"...... Thank you for this post!


Sadly, the extremist Christian (and sometimes outright religious nutcase) seem to be the only models of Christianity that people focus on when they look at Christians.

I'm a Christian, but I'm not always happy to tell people that, mostly because of the looks that I see on their faces.

Yes, I'm a Christian. I still read "Amalah" - it's entertaining and intelligently written. I don't believe that AIDS is God's idea for wiping out the gay population. It's a tragic disease that affects all spectrums of the human race. I'm pro-life, but I don't campaign. I find that campaigning is merely preaching to the converted, because anyone who's pro-choice doesn't want to know.

I don't want to carry the can for every Christian that's ever hurt anyone who believes differently (or doesn't believe at all). If you can do that for me, I'll extend the same courtesy to you. I think that sounds fair.



I did the whole fundy thing back in public school after being born again at 16. And then I figured out that I'd like to keep the Christianity without the judgemental prickiness that I picked up along with it. Which I've been doing rather successfully for about a decade, whether regularly attending a church or not. It was actually through a blog (Real Live Preacher) that I found the church I'd dreamed of where people are genuinely open and loving and the sermons are under 20 minutes. (With a preacher who writes about embracing homosexuals, drinking beer, and uses curse words! In Texas!) But now I'm moving and will start the search all over.
Also, my 10 year reunion was last summer and I couldn't attend since I was in Italy at the time. Not that I would have flown to Wisconsin for it anyway, but I really wished there had been a reunion blog where I could have written "sorry, but I'll be in Italy that week."


This is one of the most touching and revealing essays from you in recent memory.

There's a marketing adage about underpromising and overdelivering. I fear that organized religion does exactly the opposite. And when the underdelivering happens, that's when the people say, fuck it, and find their own paths. I hate to say it, but generally that's a good thing. I know few people who abandonned their churches/temples and became anarchistic heathens. Generally they just became more introspective.

Go to the reunion. If nothing else, it's an excellent benchmark of how far you've come; and likely, how far others have come too.


Very intense, indeed. I started to feel the anxiety as I read further and further. My mother was constantly on my arse after Snowflake was born to get him baptized and all the side dishes that come with it. I feel for you. Part of it all is still a part of you. It's so hard to let it go even if you don't believe because it's almost subliminally ingrained.


I went through the Catholic school system, but it never affected me the way your religious upbringing has - purely because I just never bought the idea of religion, and higher powers etc. It made no sense; it had no bearing on reality and every person who was trying to sell this to me was thoroughly unpleasant. Even while in Catholic school, I thought of myself as agnostic - although sometimes this edges towards atheism on the rare occasions I encounter someone who is trying to push their views onto me (rare becuase Australia is largely secular - while many 'have' a (mostly Christian) religion, few do more than attend church occasionally).

I think that you should feel nothing but pride in your life now, if only because you came out of that hateful, manipulative and hypocritical environment with your own beliefs and respect for others.

Margarita Mama

wow, I went to that same church, in a different state. I can't tell you how many times I've been born again.
I don't feel the need to find a church for my children, they are "home-schooled" on Sunday mornings. We talk about all the religions in the world, celebrate holidays of different religions. And we discuss Christianity and its faults a lot, because we live down the street from the Billy Graham Center and I just don't want them going down that path. It's very important to me that they don't.
Some friends of mine go to a Unitarian church and they like it. there are a couple of Christian churches out there that welcome gay families, couples, something less authoritarian might work for you


Wow Amy. VERY interesting post. I didn't grow up in this country (wee Catholic Ireland actually!) and we don't have HALF so much controversy and angst or even discussion over religion there. It is SO fascinating to hear stories like these from you and lots of the other posters.
BTW nearly 200 posts for this entry - surely a record!
Anyway, I just had to say, nearly 200 posts and barely any mention from anyone of the 'raging eating disorder' and the 'compulsion to hurt thy queen-like self'? Wow. Amy. I would never have guessed. (I don't know whether you've alluded to this in previous entries - I haven't read all the way back).
Anyway, well done for coming through all of that and writing about it so absorbingly.


Eloquent, Amalah!

Ditto from beginning to end, but with a Catholic spin for me.

Oh, and definitely wear the shoes. Bonus points if they are pink Manolo Blahniks with peak-a-boo toes.


My 10 year reunion is next year.
I don't know if I want to go either.
I still keep in contact with the few friends from high school that I care about keeping in touch with. Although I do think it might be amusing to see how everyone looks & what they're up to these days. But I don't know if I can be bothered to fly 3500 miles to see a bunch of people I didn't like back then, and will probably not like even more now. Hmmmmmm have fun!


You just made me weep a little. I don't even think I'm gonna be able to blame that on the early pregnancy hormones.

Thank you.


Wow not much I can add with 180+ comments, but I had to say I'm glad you've been saved by a more sane version of Christianity. :)


Here's a website that I found VERRRY interesting.

I was raised liberal Presbyterian.

Apparently, after filling out this questionnaire thingee, I am Pagan.

ZOINKS! I'm lovin' it. Try it.


oh my god, Amy....that is EXACTLY how I see it. I went to Catholic school my whole life and let me tell you. It's all a load of bullshit. The ones that sit in the front row and sing the loudest are the first ones to talk shit. I think people focus WAY TOO much on god and jesus and scripture. They are just "idols" for people to brag about. It's all TALK, TALK, TALK!!! The "Jesus" license plates, the stupid fish. What do those mean?! Nothing! Not a damn thing. They are just about the "image", how much better they are than other people who don't do the same thing. Damnation!! (Sorry you really got me riled up right along with you!) P.S. I hate Fred Phelps. I wish a tornado would come through Topeka.


Oh.My.God. EVERYTHING you said was and is exactly me! Except I went to school in NJ and our senior trip was to the Dominican Republic and yes, we built a church.

I just can't believe what you just wrote. It literally is like we are one in the same in regards to this.


Amy, you are offically Da Bomb. Yeah, I said it. As if I didn't already think so. Look how many 'wow's you got. Very brave of you.

I have issues with Christianity as well, but I've never actually BEEN a Christian - I grew up in an atheist household until the age of 13, when my mom became a born-again Christian and proceeded to shove everything bible-related down my throat for the next five years until I hurriedly Got The Hell Out of Her House. It almost destroyed our relationship. Faith is a funny thing. It makes people do some crazy things, including alienate the people you love most. Luckily, she finally realized that trying to force me to 'see the truth' and 'accept Jesus' was going to mean a very messed up, unhealthy, estranged mother-daughter relationship. She didn't bring it up for a long time - until I started planning my wedding (this September) when she said 'You're getting married by a Christian minister', just like that - not a question, but a command. Sigh.


Aaaaccckkk! You've just managed to encapsulate my entire childhood in a single post. As a recovering Assembly-of-God-a-holic, I absolutely appreciate the "I know I don't want the old way, and I'm not sure about totally committing myself to a new way when all I really want to do is aviod the slide down that slippery slope to hell." Those knee jerk reactions never really go away, but they definitely fade. I can now drive past a church on Sunday morning without the overwhelming urge to pull into a parking spot and haul ass to the altar. Hallelujah!

PS I was an Honor Star Missionette...just giving you a Holla on the Pioneer Girl thing.


EXACTLY! i was raised a strict catholic (although never had to go to catholic private school, thanks goodness), and was a firm believer that the catholic's way was the right way. then, as i matured, went through college, experienced life and other cultures, i quickly realized what a bunch of freakin' hypocrites a lot of "christians" are and that every religion believes they are the "right" religion. i majored in philosophy in college and took a lot of other religion classes as well (hinduism, buddism, taoism, etc.). so enriching and enlightening. i quit going to church because, like you, i couldn't take the hypocracy and the narrow-mindedness and the HATE. i still have a firm belief in a creator and that life should be lived for others, loving all people and treating them kindly. it's just all the other details i question.

so... great post Amy! and good luck with the reunion!

oh, and PS: i did the whole "hurt myself" thing, too, for a while. glad you got through that and the eating disorder.


generally, me and organized religion don't mix, and you pretty much laid out why. I still believe in God but I find that I can worship him much better without all the intolerance (ok, sometimes outright hate) and politicized crap that seems to get wrapped up in 'C'hristianity these days. I know there are very loving, tolerant congregations out there, but I can't seem to get past the bad ones....


Wow...speechless...I don't think I've ever seen the frustration and anger I felt when I realized something that I was raised to believe was all about love and acceptance and forgiveness was actually full of hate, repression and judgement expressed more eloquently. Thank you for that. My husband and I have wrestled with what we will do when we have a child (DAMN THE PUNK ASS OVARIES! DAMN THEM!). He would like to see us active in a church as a family while I have such a hard time deciding. It seems like the actions that are carried out under the guise of "righteousness" and "Christianity" are so full of hate and anger yet they are glossed over or swept under the rug. I certainly will never claim to be a pillar of morality and goodness but I'm starting to think that I could teach a child more about morality than a church who thinks I'm going to hell because I don't want prayer in public schools or the government in my uterus. Reading all these comments reassures me that I'm not alone in that.


I'm sorry this was your experience.


WOW. Comin' in for shoes, babies and hair product and THIS is on the table. Just, wow.

I have come to distrust any person who automatically uses "Christian" as an adjective to describe themselves. I've found too often this quantifier actually indicates a whole boatload of non-Christian behavior and beliefs. You can have a personal relationship with God, I do. I just don't use it as a badge of superiority when introducing myself.


What a wonderful post. In high school, I was one of the kids you would have judged, one of the faithless ones with heretic parents. That came with a lot of guilt, too. My mother tried to take me to church regularly; she even found one that refused to take a stance on homosexuality (Church of the Brethren). But I obviously wasn't getting the same things out of it as my contemporaries. Pretty awkward.

Then were a thousand other reasons I was awkward in high school. Even in a small school, apparently the drama kids who LIKED Beowulf are immediately uncool.

I was home last month because there was a random, violent shooting in my hometown. The parents of one of my classmates were the victims. His mother died and his father was shot five times, but will recover fully (phsyically) by the end of the summer. Another classmate who was the polar opposite of me at church threw a supportive BBQ for the family. It was absolutely lovely to see my old classmates. I know I've changed since high school. So have they! We've all grown up and some of them are pretty fantastic people!

I'm happy I saw them. It's so good to know that there are people in the world who know where you came from, even if at the time you were developing "where you came from," no one understood each other.

I'm not sure any of that relates to your worries about evangelical Christianity, but it's what I thought of as I was reading your post.


Fantastic post. I feel sad that you had this experience with something that has the potential to be so good and affirming.

I truly hope you are able to find a church with a good fit for you all. I'm sure it's out there, keep looking.


This is a great post. I was raised catholic and my family still considers theirselves catholic. I am not catholic, and really don't even think that I would be considered christian any longer. I do believe in God, I do not believe in hell. Which makes me athetist in some of my families eyes. I had a very hard time growing up and not believing in the things that my family did. However, I have very strong faith and I believe that faith is not only for God, but also for yourself. It is nice reading from someone that does make me feel like I am so different!!

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