Prone To Wander: The Allure of Deconversion Testimonies

On July 26, 2019, Joshua Harris, former megachurch pastor and author of the infamous purity culture bestseller I Kissed Dating Goodbye, announced to his Instagram followers that he was no longer a Christian. "By all the measurements that I have for defining a Christian, I am not a Christian," Harris wrote. "I don't view this moment…

At the Beginning of the World: Dinosaurs, Genesis, and the Gift of Science

When I was ten years old, our church library ordered a book called Dinosaurs and The Bible. I couldn't have been more excited. Like most ten-year-olds, I was a huge dinosaur nerd. When I grew up, I wanted to be a paleontologist, and I could rattle off the Latin names for all my favorite dinosaurs.…

Revolution in the Manger: The Untold Story of the First Christmas

Growing up, I never thought the story of the first Christmas was very interesting. Oh sure, it's a nice story, but for a ten-year-old boy who couldn't even begin to grasp the meaning of the word "Incarnation," the Christmas story was the one with the cute baby surrounded by barnyard animals. But as I got…

The War On Christmas Is Over, and Other Holiday Misadventures

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm happy to announce the War on Christmas is over. And it's been over for about one hundred and fifty years. The Puritans waged the original War on Christmas in 17th century England and, later, the American colonies. A bunch of killjoys, the Puritans were a super-conservative branch of Protestantism that believed…

We Are Not the Prodigal: A Jesus Story Deconstructed

If you were compiling a "Greatest Hits" album of Jesus stories, the Parable of the Prodigal Son would definitely make the cut. During his three year ministry, Jesus told many parables, or short stories. Parables were a popular form of storytelling and preaching in Jesus's day. Most modern religious writing and teaching is meant to change…

The Divinity of Doubt: A Letter to Those Who Struggle to Believe

To the Poor in the Spirit, I may not know you, but I know how it starts. A visit to another church, a sentence in a book, a comment on a podcast, an encounter with a classmate, a shared article on Facebook, a changing political stance, a travel experience - whatever it was, something jarred the…

Dispatches From Purity Culture: How Sexual Shame Overtook a Generation

The guest speaker stands behind the podium. A clear pitcher of water sits on a stool at his side. Our youth group listens with rapt attention. The guest speaker is talking about sex. He invites three boys to the front and tells them to spit into the water pitcher. Like, really spit. To make it…