spirituality + sexuality + stories

Welcome! I wanted to learn what Evangelical Christianity didn’t tell me! The facts about God and sex — and the facts about Evangelicals. This is a place for highly researched…

Scholars are giving the religion a crash course in old words

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Back in my church days, I thought the pastors knew everything? Like, he went to seminary and knew Greek and Hebrew and basically everything about Christianity.

Come to find out, they “knew” the assumptions filtered through a few languages—and centuries of speculation.

1. “Faith”

Everyone knows what faith means. You know something so deeply that you don’t need to listen to facts? It’s “the opposite of reasoned judgment in consideration of the evidence,” as Matthew W. Bates explains. “Faith was reckoned not just an alternative but a superior way of knowing what is true and what is false.”

In his 2017 study, Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King, Bates explains the word pistis actually means, not any traditional idea of…

Remember when Evangelicals canceled their Pop princess?

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I’m thinking back to 1999, when the woman who’d been the face of popular Christian music for two decades got a divorce.

Seventeen years and three kids into her marriage, she’d fallen for another man—country singer Vince Gill. Or as she says: “We got along like two peas in a pod and made no bones about it.”

If she was Cinderella, this was her midnight. Christian radio quit playing her music and Christian bookstores took her products off the shelves. That she kept her record deal was front page news. As far as Evangelical America was concerned—Amy Grant was canceled.

Her soon-to-be ex-husband, Gary Chapman, was out raking her over the coals for the crime of liking somebody else.

“Since the beginning…

A look at the Evangelical horror show

A religion that loves “sex rules” has a leader die, as his history of sex abuse—and the cover up—comes out. You might want to laugh?

But the saga of Ravi Zacharias, strewn with victims, is a crisis from Hell. Let’s look at the unvarnished sex history of the great ‘apologist’. Trigger warning: subjects include rape, suicide, sexual harassment, sexual trafficking—and Evangelicalism.

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Ravi Zacharias (2009)

He wanted to be the ‘next Billy Graham’. He’d need a pretty Christian wife for that.

Living in Toronto in 1966, age 20, working as a hotel caterer, Ravi meets Margie Reynolds, age 16. He describes the moment in his memoir, Walking From East to West: “To my amazement, I found out that this bright, attractive young woman had never dated anyone.”

Her parents wouldn’t let them date, but two years later, when Ravi enrolled in Ontario Bible College, they…

An Evangelical leader’s old comments come back to bite him

It must be weird to say the same hateful things you and everybody you know has said for years—then something’s changed?

Max Lucado, the bestselling Christian author, wasn’t controversial in 2004 when arguing against gay marriage as akin to pedophilia, incest and bestiality, while putting in a good word for reparative therapy.

It was just being Evangelical?

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His speech on February 7th, 2021 was just another publicity pit stop.

It was a video sermon hosted by Washington National Cathedral, and not that big of a deal? Except now, there was a Change.org petition to cancel the date—owing to his earlier anti-gay comments.

The Episcopal clergy at the church did a dance over the matter, agonizing over the speech, and allowing it.

Lucado issued a letter that backtracks from his previous self.

“LGBTQ individuals…

Let’s look at the strange devotion of Sam and Frodo

It was strange — an all-male epic whose heroes were the feminine ones? Not everybody was into it. In 1955, one notes that the characters seem not to know “anything about women, except by hearsay.”

The gay poet W.H. Auden championed it, but notes: “I rarely remember a book about which I have had such violent arguments.” Whatever its critics say, he adds, “the objection must go far deeper.”

But, year by year, the world fell in love with the Lord of the Rings—the biggest, queerest, most closeted 1950s love story ever.

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GizTheGunslinger, “Behind blue eyes” (2020)

The books were even ‘queerer’ than the films.

We read passages now and sort of wonder…

New song: “A Woman” with Ellie Holcomb ft…

God likes that big “in between”

Growing up in church, I was told that God loves men best, women are sort of bad, and we all better keep to our assigned sex. Or else.

When I saw Christian art, I was puzzled, for there’s a vast gallery of multi-gendered beings. Later I learned—from scholars—that the artists were onto something. In the Bible, gender is a whirling mystery.

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Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Saint John the Baptist” at the Louvre

A lot of information about gender is stripped out of Bible translations.

In the book of Jonah, there’s a tale about a prophet swallowed by a whale. No Christian reader is thinking about gender. That would be weird?

“The gender of Jonah’s fish changes twice in the course of its appearance in the book,” notes the scholar Thomas M. Bolin.

A donkey in 2 Samuel 19:26 is a rather queer presence. …

The concept of being "perfect" is not biblical. This is just Christian readers imposing the idea that "imperfect" characters are narrated so they can diagnose the "failings" and see the "sin."

David is perfectly himself. He is a being on a journey. The Bible describes stages of growth, not "morality tales" whose only hero is the judging reader.

How do we “read” an Evangelical icon?

I didn’t begin to grasp the religion of my youth until reading queer theory. Evangelical Christianity is a bizarre array of sexual signs.

Consider Billy Graham’s finger.

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Every part of his body is theater of effects—his eyes, mouth, hair—but Billy Graham was the 20th century’s great finger pointer.

His finger accused the world of sin! But it was godlike. So many thousands came to “make a decision for Christ” at his famous rallies because they had been fingered.

Billy’s Christian story began with a traveling evangelist named Mordecai Ham pointing a finger. It’s in all the biographies. I’m reading a 1993 young adult biography, Billy Graham by Nathan Aaseng:

“He felt as though the finger of God was singling him out in front of all those people. Desperate to escape that terrible, accusing finger, he ducked behind a woman’s hat.”

A woman’s hat?


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