Reading, Writing and Listening:: November 2018
I’m a few days late posting this, but it’s been a crazy, surreal month so far. On Wednesday, November 28, HuffPost published an article I pitched them right before Thanksgiving. It went viral, and I’ve been busy responding to comments, messages and emails I received in response. To date, I have over 500 emails in my inbox, most of them overwhelmingly supportive. I am humbled that so many people reached out and shared their own stories of disillusionment, trauma, and often, hope. I have read them all and am trying to respond to as many as I can, but time constraints is probably going to limit me on how many I can actual write back.
Books I Read
I did more listening than reading in November, but did have a few good books to mention:
Life’s Work: A Moral Argument for Choice by Dr. Willie Parker: This book is a memoir by a Christian doctor who considers it his life’s calling to perform abortions- not in spite of his faith, but because of it. Abortion is such a controversial subject, and I am very much invested in the conversation surrounding the Christian response to the arguments for and against its morality and legality. This book is definitely worth the time to read to consider another perspective.
Shrill by Lindy West: I loved this memoir from writer Lindy West, and I especially appreciated her vulnerable insight on dealing with internet trolls.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander: I’m only about halfway through this one on audio; I’m listening to it slowly because it’s a lot of really heavy, dense information. It’s a devastating reality what’s happening in our country that so many people have no idea about.
Podcasts I Listened To (and was on!)
The Post Party: I was honored to be a guest on my friend Anna’s podcast The Post Party! On my episode, we talked about Grayson’s first year, special needs parenting, healthcare advocacy, and therapy. It was a really fun experience recording a podcast and I hope I get to do it again. I hope you’ll listen!
Believed: Believed is a podcast about convicted sexual abuser and former U.S. Olympic gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. The storytelling and production are exceptional, and I’ve been recommending this one to everyone.
The Dream (Season 1): This season of the podcast The Dream was a deep dive into the world of Multilevel Marketing companies (MLMs). It was really interesting to hear the history of these companies and heartbreaking to hear how so many of them exploit their members. I have a lot of friends involved in MLMs (and used to be in one myself), and I definitely have mixed feelings about them.
Bear Brook: I’m not a true crime fanatic, but I really enjoyed Bear Brook- a series about solving a decades old mystery of murders committed by a serial killer.
Articles I Wrote Elsewhere
My Evangelical Church is Gaslighting Me, but I Refuse to Fall For It Anymore: HuffPost
What great things have your read and listened to lately?
Keep up your inspirational work!
Good morning Elizabeth. Thanks for the chance to have a civil conversation on faith, religion, and spirituality. I was raised Catholic but left the Church early, for what I perceived as it’s hypocrisy. Now, at 78 yo, I believe that our spirituality is so much greater than we have been taught. I study and practice Buddhism; honor Jesus and The Buddha and all other spiritual teachers as guides, enlightened beings who are pointing out a spiritual path. For me, the Buddhist expression of that path is most clear.
I look forward to reading your blog. Thanks for writing, always welcome new thoughts.
Fern, I am a Jesus follower and am actively involved in my church but for the last 2 years I’ve really questioned my faith or church. My husband is an atheist who has started to practice some Buddhism so I am very intrigued how you were able to mix the two? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. -Allie
Thanks for sharing your HuffPost story. It’s actually the reason I subscribed to your website. I pray that there will be more women (people) that stand in their truth about the Jesus they serve. May He continue to give you the boldness to share stories that will impact change. ~~ Blessings to U!
Hello Elizabeth, I truly enjoyed your article about present day religion not following what the Bible teaches. I’ve been espousing that same exact thought for a long time and my husband and I have left organized religion because of what we could hear coming from the pulpits of the churches we attended. We have a lot of present day Pharisees trying to get us to abandon all that is good and what we as Christians know deep inside is right. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there! Stay strong…
Elizabeth, thank you for writing the reflection HuffPost published. You gave words to thoughts I have had for a long time but hadn’t been able to voice so articulately. I grew up in the mainline church, but spent time worshiping with Evangelical Christians during youth group in high school and as a college student. I gained from the experience, but as with any human institution, was faced with hypocrisy, too. After an “unchurched” time, I returned to the mainline church. There are failings here as well, but loving too broadly is no sin, and if we are making mistakes, I like to say that we are making “the right mistakes.” Peace to you.
Your HuffPost article helps me explain to others why I left the traditional church. I found peace by caring with my co-workers who do the work of humble servants. I run from the holy others who have no idea how to truly love. And I am a Gigi (grandmother)!
Dear Elizabeth, I so appreciated your HuffPost article. Your ideas and opinions are right on and more evangelical Christians need to read it!!
I wondered if you might be open to visiting a Unitarian Universalist church nearest you, wherever that might be. I found them back in 2009 and am so excited to be a part of a progressive religious church that should have people beating our doors down since Nov. 7, 2016!! We are a church that is not one of creeds but of 7 Principles that we all agree to support. There may not be a UU church in Katy but I know there are several in Houston. Please check out http://www.uua.org to read more about our denomination that is based out of Boston, but we have churches all across the United States. I am a member of Westside UU church in Fort Worth. Our website is http://www.westsideuu.org. Have a great holiday season and I look forward to reading more on your blog and in HuffPost!!!
I have a friend in the States who has been feeding me lots of information about Trump and the incredible behaviour of the GOP. Republican support for Trump just blows my mind, even more so as I see it coming from evangelical Christians., leaders and members alike. Racial bigotry, misogyny, corruption, violence, religious intolerance etc are all incompatible with the Christianity I hold to. It was so refreshing to read your op-ed in Huff Post. I admire your courage and I pray the Lord will always protect you through the onslaught you mus be receiving for speaking out. May the power of the Holy Spirit be with you.
God bless you Elizabeth,
David from UK
Thank you for your thoughtful articles and to all the kind responses. I’ve been a recovering evangelical for 30 years. The biggest feelings it’s given to me is a profound sense of loneliness and it is good to know we are not alone. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for much of these 30 years. This is a common experience of recovering evangelicals. You are not alone, and it is good to know I’m not either. And that is comforting though it will always pain me that I’ve essentially lost my family. I spent time studying the origins of Christianity and other ancient religions in college and graduate school thinking I would better understand the “fundamentals” of my religion. What I discovered is “fundamentalism” is a modern American moment that uses Christianity to justify it’s white nationalist racism/misogyny. The Franklin Graham quote opening your article on the “purity” movement struck me. Graham said now Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh’s rape of a woman “Is not relevant.” Graham also recent;y said the Golden Rule is only applicable to other Christians. As a fundamentalist Graham thinks it is not “relevant” to love your neighbor, or strangers, or immigrants, or people of color, of LGBT people. You can be certain Graham would have left the Good Samaritan to die a painful death on the side of the road.He has stripped Judaeo Christian Greek morality of its very essence. Trump is merely the logical conclusion to the teachings of Fundamentalist Conservatives. Best, Brodie
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