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Month: September 2016

Christian Mythology for Kids

I bought this book for my daughter, who is now almost 11 months old and not yet old enough to appreciate it. However, I have benefited from it enough to make the purchase worthwhile even if she never reads it. The concept behind this book is to introduce kids in secular families to the Christian stories without exposing them to the dogmatic and ham-fisted fundamentalist/evangelical interpretations of those stories. But this book is not just for kids. Going back and rereading the stories as an ex-Christian has been incredibly entertaining and therapeutic. And not only does it go into...

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Missionary Stories and Reflections

For a brief time in my childhood, I thought God had called me to be a missionary. I was raised in a church that put heavy empasis on missionaries and missionary work, so it wasn’t a huge surprise that I would think this. I read lots and lots of children-oriented missionary books about kids who went to far off places and meet interesting people and had adventures while leading the lost to Jesus. Our church had regular “missionary meetings” on Sunday nights were we’d listen to stories from missionaries and sometimes sample food from different countries. In the end, I think what I really wanted was to travel the world. The thought of trying to ‘witness’ to anyone who might be hostile about Jesus scared me tremendously. However I found that when I talked about Jesus to people anywhere near my home I found that pretty much everyone who lived near me already knew about Jesus and wasn’t hostile at all. They didn’t even ask any of the hard questions I feared like “Why should I believe the Bible?” or “How could someone be punished for my sins 2000 years before I was born?” Besides being teased in school for being a “goody-two-shoes” going around the neighborhood inviting kids to Vacation Bible School I faced no hostility at all. Despite what I assumed about the mean kids being lost...

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9/11 Reminiscing

Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile. — Kurt Vonnegut It’s been 15 years since the attacks of 9/11. I was 21 at the time, just coming into adulthood. Even though I live several hundred miles from New York City, it had a profound effect on me. In the confusion before we knew what was happening–not just the towers but also an attack aimed at the Pentagon, and who knew if there would be more–I realized that if the US Government was overthrown then the Constitution would be nothing more than a historic old piece of paper. So much for our precious Constitutional rights. We can’t ever take that for granted. Later, after initially taking part in the uptick in nationalistic religious fervor, I realized that being willing to die for one’s beliefs is not a good thing. Faith is dangerous, and unquestioning belief can motivate people to do terrible things. Just a couple years later, I identified as an...

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