You could say my future conversion to Christianity was set in stone when I had my Bat Mitzvah in a church. At the time, that was my only option—borrowing another religion’s sanctuary to celebrate my entrance into Jewish adulthood because there were no synagogues nearby. Just as there are “Christmas and Easter” Christians, my family… Continue reading The art of living with tension
When I was in seminary (a rather impulsive decision after college, thinking God was calling me to faith-based counseling), I joined an on-campus Bible study. I remember sitting on the floor of my friend Isabel’s living room, munching on frosted cookies and sipping lemonade, thinking that the dainty yellow plates and flowered napkins were an… Continue reading Learning the language of Christian culture
I often joke that it was a bad idea to publish a memoir at the age of 22 because the shiny, child-like faith I had back then is now frozen in time. I’ve evolved quite a bit since, but only those who know me personally are aware of that. My readers are not. If I… Continue reading Important announcement about ‘Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter’
"Bitter" is a negative buzzword in Christian culture: it's holding on to anger and resentment, refusing to let it go. It's the opposite of forgiveness. In some circumstances, what some Christians call "bitterness" is actually trauma, depression, or anxiety. But good Christians aren't supposed to be "bitter"; they're supposed to reflect the joy they have… Continue reading Why so bitter?
I read with interest a Washington Post article about a white teenager who wore a traditional Chinese dress to her prom: Like many other teenagers preparing for prom, Utah senior Keziah Daum wanted to find a dress that would stand out, “something that would be more unique and bold and had some sort of meaning to it,”… Continue reading On cultural appropriation: how much do intentions matter?
It must be pretty obvious that I have a soft spot in my heart for the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11-32, seeing as I named my memoir after it. The parable is about two sons who work for their father. The younger one asks his father for his share of the inheritance… Continue reading A fresh look at the parable of the prodigal son
This is my weekly conundrum when I meet with my small group for Bible study: do I ask the questions that I really want to ask, at the risk of derailing the discussion and starting a debate? Do I say what I really want to say, at the risk of accusations that I have “bad… Continue reading “I don’t know” is a truth, not a cop-out
After so many years of church and church authorities providing the answers to all of life’s questions, within an environment that condemns voicing doubts regarding matters of faith, the person who leaves often feels psychologically and mentally stunted, and incapable of making life decisions. In a very real way, they must re-create their identities from… Continue reading My own brush with Religious Trauma Syndrome
During my one-year stint as a counseling major at seminary, I’ll never forget the first day of my last semester. The professor asked the class to stand up, and if you believed it was a sin to have depression, move to the left side of the classroom. If you believed it wasn’t a sin, move… Continue reading No, I’m not calling Jesus a liar: Christians and responses to depression