I tried to pray my sexuality away

File this one under TMI. It’s super intimate and not something I yell at strangers, but it’s just us here so I’ll let you in on a secret:

My faith gave me issues.

As a developing adolescent I routinely heard sexual expression outside of marriage was anathema. Masturbation was an affront to my Creator; only within marriage were my sexual feelings legitimate.

So I prayed. I asked the Source of all living things to kill this part of me, to castrate me in the pursuit of holiness. I created an internal liturgy and recited it for years: remove this from me. Temptation was strong, but I believed God was stronger and could bring me to marriage spotless, untouched. Then marriage would solve all of my problems and, more importantly, validate this deeply meaningful portion of my personhood. Read more “I tried to pray my sexuality away”

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I Tried Beard Oil

I’m not sure what led me to it – perhaps some combination of mustacheod woodworker commercial and that one conversation with the aspiring barber at the bar – but after a stellar career of 14 years, my beard met oil.

The beard oil came in a small bottle and complimentary dropper, which I used to deposit three mounds of liquid on the tips of the index, middle, and ring fingers of my left hand, palm facing ceiling in ritualistic praise. It smelled good. Really good.

First contact [cue Close Encounters theme] changed everything. Time melted and I was sitting on my high school gymnasium stage, responding to the cute JW twins, “ya, I use conditioner because my hair is so curly.” Read more “I Tried Beard Oil”

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Wealth Trumped Jesus in the American Pantheon

Ancient literature once chronicled the history of Mammon, a conniving god whose allure of wealth concentrates power and inspires devotion, but few speak of it as openly as Jesus or Milton[1] — at least in this area of the world since its invisible hand took hold of a fledgling nation.

The Worship of Mammon | Evelyn De Morgan 1909

This last election, however, was revealing. Wealth had several horses in the race, with one telling Wall Street bankers it’s important to be two-faced, yet none were as ardent or thoroughbred as Donald John Trump, the Trump brand being synonymous with immodesty.

That the “make a lot of money… don’t run for politics” president pays homage to Mammon above all else is hardly a secret; it’s the fervor with which his Evangelical base cast its lot for him, whose leaders continue their unpopular support for him, that truly surprises. Those who otherwise follow the “you can’t serve God and Wealth” Jesus backed Trump hoping he would be good for the economy and make America wealthy again. Not economically just, mind you, wealthy.

America is already a wealthy nation. The lie that the United States is poor Read more “Wealth Trumped Jesus in the American Pantheon”

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Greater than Jesus

I have been thinking a lot lately about why I call myself a progressive Christian. It could be that I’m getting close to ordination in a progressive denomination, or that I’ve spent the past two years hosting a “post-evangelical” podcast, or maybe it’s this election and the distance that I feel from the conservative church I once called home, a distance I feel sharply whenever I scroll through a Facebook news feed.

At any rate, I’m thinking and so I’m writing.
(and, secretly, I probably hope to close the growing distance a little)

I’m progressive because Jesus said his followers would be.

Not in those terms, of course, but clearly.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is depicted comforting his disciples in preparation for his departure “to the Father.” He promises not to leave them orphans, commands them to trust in the miracles he did whenever they doubt his words and, with a hand under their chins (as I imagine it), he lifts their heads and says,

“Verily truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these because I am going to the Father” [John 14:12]. Read more “Greater than Jesus”

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An Open Letter to Evangelicals Who Voted for Trump

Dear Evangelical Brothers and Sisters,

Your neighbors are grieving in the aftermath of the election.

… hold on, let me back up.

I am a post-Evangelical, a progressive Christian. Folks like me ventured away from the Evie camp for matters of conscience and theology. While we may have journeyed to the Left, we do not hold malice toward you. We are thankful for the foundation you gave us.

The grief that I and many progressives are experiencing right now is not rooted in some sense of party or generational entitlement.

It is rooted in the knowledge that people we love are scared.

Read more “An Open Letter to Evangelicals Who Voted for Trump”

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That Time You Accidentally Go Vegetarian

Allen Reviews The Year of the Flood

I read a ton of books last year. It was my New Year’s resolution to devour as many as I could. Read one and done. Move on, keep going.

That was the plan and it went smoothly, until I slammed into the wall called The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. At first glance it seemed like an easy read; it was fiction, in the local library, and evinced all the elements of a dystopian sci-fi. Read more “That Time You Accidentally Go Vegetarian”

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