One of the things I discuss throughout my book and frequently on my blog is the question of rights - what do we have a right to? How do rights differ for Christians? What and how should we fight for? (Spoiler: I have a whole chapter dedicated to this question in Damaged Goods).
So, to close out a month of unlearning purity culture, I thought an #AskAwayWed themed around the question of “rights” would be good! Shoot me your questions by clicking the picture above or by clicking here. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

One of the things I discuss throughout my book and frequently on my blog is the question of rights - what do we have a right to? How do rights differ for Christians? What and how should we fight for? (Spoiler: I have a whole chapter dedicated to this question in Damaged Goods).

So, to close out a month of unlearning purity culture, I thought an #AskAwayWed themed around the question of “rights” would be good! Shoot me your questions by clicking the picture above or by clicking here. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

God’s Hope For America, Native Holy Grounds, and Cultural Appropriation

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One of my favorite things about my new apartment is the fact that it’s only about 2 minutes drive from my favorite coffee shop downtown. This makes it easier for me to support local businesses and economies, and it’s a genuinely nice place to go spend a morning. This morning, I went downtown to run some errands. While waiting to cross the street, I noticed a large bus making its way onto tenth street and snapped a picture. The side read, “God’s Hope For America.”

I rolled my eyes because bus tours and similar marketing devices are gimmicky and I’m really not a fan. I went and ran my errands and went to meet my family at the zoo. But, I got to the zoo early, so I decided to drive around Sherman Park just south of the zoo. Lo and behold, when I got to the parking lot at the top of the hill, there was the tour bus. Up on the hill, just beyond the Indian Burial Mounds which have been marked off withe a historical marker at the park for ages, there was a gathered group of people. I parked, and walked close enough to hear the speeches.

A white man was speaking about America and God’s special blessing on it. “America’s existence is God’s providence,” he said, before quoting George Washington and saying something about the Christianity and intent of the founders for America as God’s nation. He reminded the crowd that “America has a great stake in tradition,” and that we have to remind people to “bring God back into our homes.” He ended his speech to cheers and applause from the crowd.

The next person up to speak was a Korean lady who compared the struggle of the Native Americans against the colonialists to the suffering that Christians experience here on earth. I was at a distance and couldn’t catch all of her speech, but that much was clear.

And they did all this - seemingly purposefully, judging from their website - while standing on ground sacred to Native peoples, specifically ground sacred to the Lakota, which is the major tribe in this part of the United States. Upon doing a little more research, it appears that this effort is loosely connected to the Unificationist Church, which is a new denomination out of South Korea founded by Sun Myung Moon.

The tour itself, however, features a number of white Americans who are interested in returning America to the Christianity of the founders - a movement easily co-opted into conservative politics. The very fact that they are preaching the religion of the colonizers who killed Natives by the millions, while standing on Native holy ground, is an offense that must be noted.

To stand on holy ground and preach the religion of the the people responsible for annihilating native peoples is a deeply powerful statement - and it’s not a good one.

To stand on Native holy ground and preach that we need to remind America about God and talk about how America is God’s gift is to ignore the centuries of history of slaughtering Native people. It is to erase the fact that “God’s gift” was taken from indigenous peoples with bullets and knives and sexual crimes. It is to outright deny the fact that Native people in the US are still fighting to retain their holy lands and have been relegated to reservations where many suffer in poverty. Specifically, in South Dakota, it ignores the fact that Native peoples are often used as a pawn in the games of powerful white people, disproportionately populating our prison systems and our foster care systems.

I found myself walking away in disgust, wishing I could do something more to explain how deeply offensive this entire practice was. This is precisely the kind of colonization that justice-minded Christians are supposed to prevent, and yet, all too often, we are the ones perpetrating it.

Even after reading every argument in defense of BDSM, some Christians will still believe that it is depraved or perverted. And obviously, if that’s you, then you shouldn’t participate in BDSM.

But the Bible doesn’t talk about BDSM. There’s no verse in the Bible saying that BDSM is perverted — you just feel that way because BDSM is disgusting to you. And it’s unwise to make moral judgments based on your feelings.

Today, I have the first of two guest posts about kink and Christian sexual ethics. I’m thankful to Henri for stepping in and exploring this topic!

42 years, 51 weeks, and 5 days

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After a long struggle with a rare disease, my mother passed away this afternoon. My family and I - especially my father - appreciate your prayers at this time.

Monday would have been my parents’ 43rd wedding anniversary. Their love for each other, for God, and for us children has been a stable ground for me as I’ve grown up. Mom was a friend to me, as well as a mother. I will miss bringing back pictures of the kittens from the Humane Society for her, discussing the latest theology I’ve been studying, or simply watching a few episodes of Castle with her in the afternoon.

For more than 30 years, my mom was a teacher in the Sioux Falls School District. She cared deeply about her students and about her work, and was always concerned with teaching the whole person, not just testing to check subject-verb agreement. She taught me more than I will probably ever realize, and she was one of the first people to encourage me to pursue writing. She never stopped telling me how proud she was of me and opening her arms and her house to me when I was struggling.

Mom will be dearly missed by all who knew her. We appreciate and covet your prayers at this time. The funeral will be next week, and I will be passing off the reins of the blog temporarily to a couple of wonderful guest posters who are writing some fascinating and interesting articles. For now, I have closed comments on the main blog as I do not currently have the wherewithal to moderate them. I appreciate your understanding. Thank you.

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Such recalibration of sexual ethics requires that we drop our preconceptions about gendered roles – which is a much bigger project than many anticipate when it comes to dismantling and unlearning purity culture. Purity culture is the loose thread that can lead to the unraveling of an entire tapestry. Purity culture is the underpinning of an entire false gospel of conservatism, based upon the control of men and women by telling them what they are as categories versus individual people. Abstinence promotion does not merely rely on encouraging whomever is listening to wait until marriage. It involves waiting in a specific way, modifying gendered behavior to fit restrictive ‘God-given’ roles within a further marriage. The entire basis of the theologically conservative misconceptions about traditional family can be pulled apart merely by challenging the abstinence message.

It’s been quite the week at the blog, and I’m coming to a close on the series on unlearning purity culture with this post about fluid sexualities.

Anonymous asked:

(Part 1) I've only just started getting into christian discussions surrounding the topic of sex and now understand that sexuality is a gift from God. I understand that it's not sinful to have a sex-drive and neither sinful to want sex. I have a problem though with conservative teaching around the issue of sex. I feel as if conservatives constantly say that lusting, masturbating, homosexuality, having sex outside of marriage is sinful, but give no truly helpful advice to help those who are

(Part 2) “struggling” with these sins. Their advice sounds like a person must completely deny those sexual desires, and I don’t think that’s entirely healthy. My question for you is how would one express their sexuality in a healthy way without falling into “sexual immorality.” I’m not sure if there is even an answer for this, but I would love to hear your input.

I’m actually doing a series over on my blog right now about unlearning purity culture and developing healthy sexual ethics. And my book - Damaged Goods: New Perspectives on Christian Purity - comes out in February and discusses the development of healthy sexual ethics and how to develop a healthy sexual ethic after recovering from purity culture.

So, yes, I have lots of ideas! Stick around and you’ll hopefully find some good ones.

fearfulwonderfulmonster asked:

What would you say to a spiritual leader who teaches equality of the sexes in ministry and partnership, but also occasionally drops the notion that men should be "pursuers" in relationships?

It would depend on my relationship with the leader, but I’d ask them questions about why they think that, especially in light of their other proclamations on equality. I wouldn’t go into this conversation looking to start a debate, but to bring attention to a contradiction in teachings.

Anonymous asked:

Do you know of any books by bisexuals of faith on the interaction of those two things?

vellophone:

diannaeanderson:

The only books I know of that discuss minority sexual orientations and faith are ones written mainly by gay men or lesbian women. I really don’t know if there are bisexual texts, as a lot of both the queer community and the Christian community have spent time erasing us.

Someone should write this book and call it “Saved Bi Grace!”

I do love a good pun.

Anonymous asked:

I hear this word a lot, but what exactly is "fundamentalism"? How would you define that? (I grew up Southern Baptist, and a lot of things you've said remind me of things I learned or was exposed to around that culture of christians.)

Fundamentalism is a system of beliefs that has several different elements:

1. A strict, literalist interpretation of Scripture.

2. A rigid, legalistic approach to the practice of the faith (“True Christians do X/are X.”)

3. The enforcement of the idea that you are either in or out and you must follow very specific methods of interpretation and practice in order to be “in.”

Evangelicalism shares some characteristics with fundamentalism, but historically has had a bigger tent when it comes to varying belief systems within it. However, that has been changing with the advent of a new, stricter form of Calvinism that’s being pushed by a lot of very powerful people in the evangelical church.

queenofattolia said: I really hope this means you watch Orphan Black.

(In response to the Felix making a kissy face gif). It does. It does indeed. One of my favorite shows on TV right now. Felix is literally The Best.

Anonymous asked:

Any advice for people trying to leave fundamentalism/legalism and trying to sort out their faith?

Find safe people to talk to. This has been the number one thing that has helped me over the years of sorting through my faith and figuring out where I want to go. Developing what Captain Awkward calls a Team You is immensely important in any situation, but even more so in a situation of leaving a fundamentalist, strict environment.

What should qualify someone to be a Team You member?

-Someone who will not try to quash your anger when you experience it. Someone who affirms that what you’re feeling is okay.

-Someone who is willing to listen to you without judgment or without trying to explain away abuses you may have suffered. Someone who can get angry on your behalf but also doesn’t go off half-cocked.

-Someone who can be trusted with your secrets - and that includes not demanding to know them as a rite of passage into a friendship. People on Team You know that you need to reveal parts of yourself in due time and don’t require you to share your whole life story right off the bat.

-Fundamentalism specific: a good Team You member won’t make fun of you for not having seen X Culturally Important Movie or not having had X Toy Everyone Had When They Were Young. They understand that things are different in the fundamentalist world and you don’t have the same experiences everyone else does.

As best you can, try to find people who are safe, whom you know you can trust, and who will have your back when you’re dealing with backlash from leaving fundamentalism - even if “having your back” means coming over with coffee and a movie.

For you, recognize that your feelings and emotions are valid and that you can trust yourself. A lot of religious fundamentalism consists of denying your own emotions, your own heart, in the name of “trusting God.” It can be really hard to get a handle on what you feel after leaving a fundamentalist environment and learning to trust yourself can be a long, hard process. As much as you need safe people around you, you also need to be a safe person for yourself. You need to allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling, to ask yourself why you feel the ways you do, etc, etc. You need to give yourself room to just be you and to figure out just who you are.

Grace. Grace. Always grace with yourself. And find people who will be grace-full with you.