How to talk about religion and politics on Facebook


At least once a week, I get the same message on Facebook. It is some variation on “I don’t know how you do it!” Usually, these messages come from my more progressive friends who express astonishment at my ability to share my thoughts on very controversial topics without losing my cool. 

My response is almost always the same. I share my honest belief that if we cannot even TALK about important subjects such as religion and politics with respect then that there is no hope for taking any sort of meaningful action towards change. 

I believe that. I do.

However, the reason I can talk about religion and politics and stay calm is a little more complicated than that. 

 Read the rest of the post in Irreverin on Patheos.

A Harry Potter Children's Sermon

Last weekend, our church - Grace Episcopal Church of Paducah, KY - hosted a Harry Potter themed Vacation Bible School. I had A LOT of people ask me what a church was doing teaching Harry Potter. Most were in awe. Some were confused. A very few were skeptical. We began the weekend with a family night and screening of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Then, Saturday the kids spent all morning crafting wands, eating wizarding treats, and generally having a blast. On Sunday, our seriously awesome interim rector Meghan Holland taught a special Harry Potter children's sermon for the whole congregation, which I think wonderfully illustrates why the witches and wizards of J.K. Rowling's magical world are perfectly suited to church. 

This sermon is why I'm an Episcopalian

This is the sermon delivered by The Rev. Richard Paxton on April 26, 2015, the date of Felix's baptism at Grace Episcopal Church.

Whenever I begin to formulate a sermon, I often start by consulting Bible commentaries. I like to see what biblical scholars are saying as I ponder their meaning myself.

In the case of today’s readings on this Good Shepherd Sunday, I consulted a few commentaries, and a recurrent theme kept cropping up—in fact, a recurrent adjective:  “superfluous.”

It's not really about the boobs

My response to the viral post "My Husband Doesn't Need To See Your Boobs" and why it's not REALLY about the boobs at all. 

Last week, my cousin Taylor texted me a link to a blog post. Written by Lauren from Apples & Band-Aids blog, the post was entitled “My husband doesn’t need to see your boobs.”

In the post, Lauren goes out of her way to say she is not judging any woman who posts her bikini-clad self on social media but does ask if any and all bikini-clad women could just NOT. The photos were a “stumbling block” in her marriage and everything would be so much better if the photos weren’t there. 

Taylor’s commentary was simple. “This bothers me.”

It bothers me, too. 

It bothers a lot of you if this Facebook conversation is any indication. It also CLEARLY bothered a lot of other people too because Lauren shut down the comments section because it had come a place of attack and “hatred.”

Accusations of Intolerance

Recently, my stepfather and I were having a discussion about Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty controversy. He expressed disgust with some of Robertson’s remarks but also told me he felt that Christians were often called intolerant for upholding the tenants of their religion.

I understood his point. Many of you know that I was raised Southern Baptist and for most of my adolescence was a devoted evangelical Christian. I remember feeling persecuted for my beliefs during that time in my life. I always felt like I was on the losing end of the culture wars and that no matter what I did or what I said I would always be the outcast who wasn’t having sex before marriage or who would prefer reading her Bible to late night partying.

Of course, in reality, it doesn’t take much to make a teenager feel persecuted and I realize now that often people took real issue with my beliefs but never singled me out merely because of my identification as a Christian.

Sacramental Sounds

Me in my Southern Baptist days.

Me in my Southern Baptist days.

I love music and the spiritual insight that music can provide. I still love many of the songs from my Southern Baptist days - despite leaving most of my ideas from that time behind. 

This is one of them.


He had me by the opening line.

On the banks of the Tennessee River
In a small Kentucky town


I knew that river and that town. Steven Curtis Chapman was born and raised in my hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. There is something special about a song that begins with your own geography.

However, that is not why I love this song. From the song’s quiet beginning on the banks of the Tennessee, the song’s tempo and fervency increases. It builds into an energetic and enthusiastic testimony to a faith and God that makes you DANCE. A God that himself dances. 

The world beneath us spins in circles
And this life makes us twist and turn and sway
But we were made for more than rhythm with no reason
By the one who moves with passion and with grace
As He dances over all that He has made


There’s only one problem. I was a Southern Baptist (at the time) and we didn’t dance and we certainly didn’t dance to songs about God. 

At this time in my life, faith was a heavy thing - a burdensome theology of sin and failing and fear. 

The soaring and joyful sound of Steven Curtis Chapman’s Lord of the Dance reminded me that faith didn’t have to be so heavy. Faith didn’t have to weigh you down. Faith could leave you light and full of movement.

Faith could make you dance. 

Church is for me.

Over two years ago, my husband and I started taking Griffin to church. At the time, I wrote an honest and heartfelt explanation of why I was taking my child to church despite my long and complicated personal history with the institution. 

I was doing what was best for him. I was giving him a chance at the spirituality and faith I had long ago abandoned. I was being a good mom.  

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the altar. Week by week. Month by month. I began to fall in love with church.