The Geektastics » Bookshelf of Holding A safe space to geek out! Wed, 26 Mar 2014 02:57:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Bookshelf of Holding: National Novel Writing Month 2013 /2013/10/30/bookshelf-of-holding-national-novel-writing-month-2013/ /2013/10/30/bookshelf-of-holding-national-novel-writing-month-2013/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 15:45:12 +0000 /?p=4890 Bookshelf of Holding


The time for NaNoWriMo is upon us!  National Novel Writing Month celebrates the writer in all of us by helping to free us from road blocks and “I can’t possibly be good at this” and instead focuses on the experience and just getting the words on paper (or in 0′s and 1′s).

Although I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this year (too many insane plans), I would like to encourage you to give it a try!

Would you like to know more about NaNoWriMo? Check out these posts:


And I have kept up with what I wrote last year. I have moved it all onto Google Dirve and work from Google Docs now.  I have a few beta readers who read my work as I fix it up and write more. My story/plot has changed, and so has my prologue and first chapter.

The Angel’s Guardian by Rhianna Ulrich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License. You cannot copy, use, modify, change, doodle, stare at too long, email, mail, hand deliver, orally relay, gossip, fax, interpretive dance, eat, etc. this work at all ever. Don’t be an asshole. Thank you.

Creative Commons License

The Angel’s Guardian by Rhianna Ulrich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.


The woman’s red and grey hair shone in the firelight as she gathered her children close and huddled them into the warmth of the blankets and furs.  The youngest, Willie, ran up clutching an old worn book to his chest.  The cover was long faded and many pages had fallen out only to be haphazardly placed back in.

“Which one shall I read, then, laddie?  The one of the Pirate Noel? Or perhaps the story about your Great Auntie Reverence?”  Picking up Willie, she tucked him into her lap and opened the book for them all to see.

“Momma, momma; I want the one about Grandad!”

“No, read about the Angel of the Lake!”

“I want this one, momma.” Little hands and voices struggled to overpower the others before she sighed loudly and shut the book, pinching tiny fingers lightly.

“Since you canna get along, I will read the story I want tonight, hellions.” There was a collective grumble of discontent amongst them.

“But momma, you always tell the same one,” came a whine from beneath the blanket, but they all settled down and stared up at her face.

The book was opened once more and flipped to one of the first few pages.  They were easily the most worn and someone had sewn and waxed the pages back in with care. The children snuggled in, and a few closed their eyes.

“Long ago there was nothing, save for the sun and the land.”

“Nothing, momma?”

“Not a thing: no water, no mountains, no animals, no flowers.”

“Not even a biscuit with honey?”

“No, Willie. Not even a biscuit with honey. Hush now.”  She gave her youngest one a squeeze and then continued. “There was only the sun and God, who spent His time traveling.”

“But He was lonely.”

“Indeed He was.  He longed for a friend. So, one day, He took his heart and split it into two.  He kept one for himself and the other he planted in the ground for ten years.  When He came back, Lilith arose from the ground, and so did the moon.”

“Lilith was bad!”

“Hold your whist, child. I am getting there.” She paused to see if there would be any more interruptions before continuing. “God and Lilith were happy to have each other, but were still lonely.  So, together they mixed their tears and planted them in the ground as well.  After ten days, plants began to sprout.  Overjoyed at their creation they tried again. This time their tears became the fishes in the sea. Next to be born of their tears were the animals and then, finally mankind.  God, delighted with their creations, became friends with mankind.”

“But that made Lilith mad, right momma?”

“Willie, stop ruining the story!”

“Hush to you both.  Yes, lad, Lilith was jealous of the time God spent with their mankind creation.  In her anger, she caused a great flood which killed many of the people God was friends with. Saddened, God split his heart once more and forged Lucifer to help keep Lilith from destroying any more.  Together, God and Lucifer turned Lilith into a spirit so she could no longer hurt anyone.”

“And that is why the moon only comes out at night! Because it was sad that Lilith wasn’t there anymore!”  The eldest spoke up to finish the story for her mother proudly.

“Ah, but there is more!” She turned the page carefully to depict a great warrior with wings wielding a great sword. The delicately painted and inked drawing had a few spots of water damage, but it did not take away from the grace of the angel.

“Worried that she may return again and destroy His humans, God and Lucifer mixed their tears together and planted them in the hopes that they could create defenders for them.   After a time their tears sprouted into two beings: one with wings like a bird and the other with wings like a bat, but both with the body of a man.   These became mankind’s first safeguards against Lilith.” She turned the page once more to show another man, this one with wings that seemed to be made of the softest leather and a tiny set of horns on his head.   He was posed in the midst of nocking an arrow in his large golden bow.

“There was harmony for many generations, until both Lucifer and God began to notice mankind showing malice towards one another. After all, they had been created by God and Lilith.  Studying them, Lucifer noticed that not all people showed the influence of Lilith. So, it was decided that God would take his Angels up into the sky and watch the humans from above. From there, he would make sure that those who had pure hearts would be rewarded.  Lucifer took his Demons down into the ground to watch from below. His demons would ensure that those with corrupt hearts would one day understand the hurt they cause upon others.”

She closed the book softly and told her children the rest from her heart.

“And that, my little ones, is why we are so important. Every once in awhile God sends down one of His Angels to make sure Lilith stays asleep and to make sure we keep our hearts full of love.  When He does, we take care of the Angels so the Angels can take care of us.”

“Is that why Aker lives with us?”

“That’s right. He’s our Angel.”

“Can I have an Angel, too, momma?”

“Not until you are older, Willie.  God makes sure he picks only strong grown men who eat their vegetables to get Angels, so you better start gobblin’ up your carrots.”

“Yeah, Willie, eat your carrots,” someone taunted.

“What do you do with an Angel?  Does he stay outside with Smokey?”

She gave Will an exasperated look. “Now, boy, does Aker stay outside with the dog? No.  You be treatin’ all Angels with respect or your pa will be tanning your behind.  We take the Angels God gives us and help them live, son.  We help them thrive when they are here; it is a lot different than heaven, you know.  We become their family.  A sacred bond.”


Chapter 1:

I was on fire. As in – the burning of 10,000 suns scorching along my back – on fire.  It had finally happened: my good ol’ rust-can Betty had kicked the bucket and was going down in a fiery fit of blazing glory.  I swerved off the highway, unbuckled my seatbelt, leaped out of my 2-door P.O.S. car, and dropped fluidly into a roll.  Mom would have been proud to see the grace I just showed after 25 years living as the resident cliché bookworm butterfinger. I would have to try to remember to let mom know that she was lacking the correct motivation when I was younger to get me to be a dancer; fire melting the skin off my body worked wonders.

Attempting the whole stop-drop-and-roll thing left me falling down the slope of the shoulder and gathering up every piece of dead grass on the way. I briefly wondered how much worse the dead grass would make the fire (it is amazing how much thinking one can do while on fire) before realizing that I had hit the bottom of the hill and my back didn’t burn anymore. Rolling a few extra times just for good measure, I finally stood up and hesitantly reached an arm around to touch my back and assess the damage. I was imagining a steamy, gooey mess that used to be flesh, and possibly some hard crunchy charred areas.  A small condolence would be that my long brown hair would be saved since I had it up in a ponytail.

I couldn’t feel anything but the cotton of my shirt and bits of dead grass. Doing my best impression of a dog chasing its tail I did a few complete turns before giving up and just taking my shirt off completely.  From what I could feel my back was whole and had no burned areas on it whatsoever.  I could hear my mom now enjoying that, although I was on fire, I was at least lucky enough to have an entire shirt to cover me up, even if it wasn’t doing it’s job right now.  We won’t go over what she would say about me being sans-shirt on the side of the road with dead grass in my hair, though.

I ran my hand along my back – smooth skin. Thank God.  But how?  I trekked up the hill I had rolled down and checked out Betty; she was flame free and just fine.  I used her side window to check out the reflection of my back.

What the hell?!

Nothing but smooth, unblemished skin.  Well, I guess I couldn’t exactly say unblemished. I now sported an intricate angel wing tattoo that ran between my shoulders. It hadn’t been there five minutes ago.

“Fuck me.”


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Bookshelf of Holding: RomCon 2013 Recap /2013/10/22/bookshelf-of-holding-romcon-2013-recap/ /2013/10/22/bookshelf-of-holding-romcon-2013-recap/#comments Tue, 22 Oct 2013 15:30:09 +0000 /?p=4883 Bookshelf of Holding

So, I guess it turns out I never actually recapped RomCon 2013! What madness is this?!


RomCon was AMAZING, and my first official convention for anything.  It was a great introduction into this “con” thing, and I am so glad I went.  My con started with breakfast and meeting two authors: Elizabeth Essex and Marsha West. Both were amazing, and Marsha and I became fast friends.  We con was filled with events, and I don’t think I spent any ‘dead’ time because there was so much to do.  My fan girl moment was meeting Gena Showalter.  But I also caught up with Darynda Jones, a friend of mine, and met Heather Graham and Shyla Colt.  There were many MANY other authors there – so many that it was impossible to meet them all!  There were so many intimate chats, talks, and presentations that I couldn’t make them all since some overlapped. I was able to attend the paranormal chat, the intimate chat with Darynda Jones, and a few of the game activities (Clue with all the paranormal authors, how to survive the apocalypse (I sat with Heather Graham!), and that’s not including the meals.  There was a bingo lunch (which satisfied my inner Bea Arthur), a comedy show and dinner, and Vegas night.  My absolute favorite event was the night the erotica romance writers put on their faux bachelorette party. Let me tell you, those girls know how to party! All of the events had authors meeting and greeting their fans and participating! It was neat to meet them all on a personal level. There were also a few vendors, but my favorite was Poly’s Pleasures Chainmail. Their chokers are amazing!!

20130621_102239.jpeg  20130622_205527.jpeg  20130621_140748.jpeg

Want to see my photos? I wish I had taken more, but I was busy having FUN!  Check out the photos here: /galleries/romcon-2013/


Event Ratings:

Fun scale (out of five): five

Family-friendly scale (out of five) : 0 – this is not a kid friendly event

Would I go again: YES! I am already signed up for RomCon 20141!

Things to remember next time: 

  • A corset is an any-time acceptable piece of clothing at RomCon
  • Bring an extra bag for the free swag!
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Grab Bag of Holding: RomCon 2013 Giveaway BLOWOUT! /2013/07/02/grab-bag-of-holding-romcon-2013-giveaway-blowout/ /2013/07/02/grab-bag-of-holding-romcon-2013-giveaway-blowout/#comments Tue, 02 Jul 2013 16:10:36 +0000 /?p=4357 grab_bag_HEART_v1

I am so psyched to host this giveaway showcasing some of the amazingly awesome swag I picked up from RomCon!  Believe it or not, I received twice the swag I am giving away here! RomCon was stellar and so much fun, I highly suggest you attend if you enjoy romance novels.

Originally I thought I was going to be able to do three giveaways: 2 swag and book winners and 1 signed reading journal winner. Once I had my stuff laid out, though, I had way more than I remembered getting.  Here are the prizes:

RomCon 2013 Signed Reading Journal

RomCon 2013 Signed Reading Journal

Signed Reading Journal (one winner)There was no possible way this journal would fit signatures from every author present. So, I got about 1/4 of them to sign the outside of this Moleskine Passions Book Journal.”A book lover’s delight, this journal is a place to keep track of all your tomes. Reflect on what you’re currently reading, reminisce about past favorites, and capture your list of future ones so they don’t fall through the cracks. The Moleskine Book Journal inspires you to gather information about the book such as the title, date read, author, quotes, the book’s original language and awards that it may have received. Plus, there’s a space for your opinion and rating. Have fun organizing your book reviews with 202 adhesive labels to personalize your journal inside and out. It’s easy and gratifying to log the books you’ve read, whether for reference, personal kudos, or recommendations to friends – a must-have for the avid reader.”Author’s signatures include:

and more!

Bitchin' Papergoods Package

Bitchin’ Papergoods Package

Bitchin’ Papergoods Package (two winners)You will never need another bookmark again! I have two of these paper swag goodie packages!  Each contains the official RomCon 2013 convention guide, a fan, a ruler, a bumper sticker, too many bookmarks to count, a cowboy RomCon magnet set, and three door hangers.

Sweet Swagbag

Sweet Swagbag

Sweet Swag Bag (two winners)I also have two of these babies!  Each contains: a bag, water bottle, notebook (one swag bag winner will receive the white notebook shown, the other will receive a black RomCon notebook of the same size), cowboy RomCon magnet set, four buttons, three pens, one coaster, one drink coozie, five excerpt books, one stickie note pad, assorted temporary tattoos, a bandage kit, two metal bookmarks, a nail file, a pair of earrings, and a key charm.

Gena Showalter Grab Bag

Gena Showalter Grab Bag

Gena Showalter Grab Bag (one winner)This set of books contains:

  • The Darkest Kiss
  • The Darkest Seduction
  • After Dark

Passionate Book Bundle

Passionate Book Bundle

Passionate Book Bundle (one winner)The book set contains:

  • Beneath the Skin by Lauren Dane
  • The Dom who Loved Me by Lexi Blake
  • The Reckoning by Alma Katsu
  • Doms of Darkhaven by Sierra Cartwright, Cherise Sinclair, and Belinda McBride
  • Embrace Me at Dawn by Shayla Black
  • Their Virgin Captive by Shayla Black and Lexi Blake
  • A Seal in Wolf’s Clothing by Terry Speak
  • All Jacked Up by Lorelei James

Romantic Book Bundle

Romantic Book Bundle

Romantic Book Bundle (one winner)This book set contains:

  • Wicked all the Way by Shayla Black
  • The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
  • The Unspoken by Heather Graham
  • A Dom is Forevery by Lexi Blake
  • Beneath the Skin by Lauren Dane
  • All Jacked Up by Lorelei James
  • Fireside by Susan Wiggs
  • Entwined with You by Sylvia Day

A few things to note before you enter:

  • I cannot ship out of the United States. So sorry!
  • You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • There will be eight winners total select, each receiving one of the random prizes mentioned above.

Alright, let’s get to the good stuff! Enter the giveaway below!!!!!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bookshelf of Holding: You Lost Me Book Review (Part 2) /2013/03/06/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me-book-review-part-2/ /2013/03/06/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me-book-review-part-2/#comments Wed, 06 Mar 2013 15:45:41 +0000 /?p=3246

Normally, this is where I would tell you “A bit about my reviews: They are short and sweet. Any opinions expressed are completely my own. Feel free to agree, disagree, or be somewhere in between. If you would like to see all of my book reviews, please check me out on Goodreads,” but this review is different.

This review is long and incorporates my own story and direct quotes from the book which I found of interest. This review will include my opinions on: how and why the church should change to suit the needs and mindset of the newer generations, personal experiences with the church, why I left the church, why I became an agnostic, and my thoughts on re-integrating/re-attracting those who have left the church back into its folds. These themes were featured in the book You Lost Me.

Due to the length of this post, I have decided to split it into two, yesterday was the first half of this post.

10222837You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church…and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman

Close to 60 percent of young people who went to church as teens drop out after high school. Now the bestselling author of “unChristian” trains his researcher’s eye on these young believers. Where Kinnaman’s first book “unChristian” showed the world what outsiders aged 16-29 think of Christianity, “You Lost Me” shows why younger Christians aged 16-29 are leaving the church and rethinking their faith.
Based on new research, “You Lost Me” shows pastors, church leaders, and parents how we have failed to equip young people to live “in but not of” the world and how this has serious long-term consequences. More importantly, Kinnaman offers ideas on how to help young people develop and maintain a vibrant faith that they embrace over a lifetime.

I guess the first question that may come up is why I decided to read a book that comes from a pro-Christian/Church point of view when I am obviously happily agnostic. The answer is fairly easy: I didn’t know it would have that point of view until I started reading it. I picked up the book because a friend of mine was interviewed for the companion video to this book and the title didn’t hint that it would come from a biased perspective. But, I decided to read it anyway. I also decided to use the book as a catalyst for an open discussion about the major theme covered: why do young people leave the church?

Let me be completely clear: I acknowledge that I am not the intended audience for this book.  The book has been written for Christians (pastors, youth leaders, etc.) to help them face the decreasing numbers of those between the ages of 15 and 29ish, read stories about why they may have left, and come up with ideas on how to bring them back into the fold.  As a happy agnostic, who has zero desire to be brought “back in to the fold” I am not the audience for this book, and a lot of my frustration with it can be explained by me NOT being the intended audience.

You Lost Me tries to come up with reasons “mosaics” (Millennials) have left the church, but still be open enough to encompass the laundry list of reasons their focus groups have given for leaving.

…we discovered a wide range of perspectives, frustrations, and disillusionments that compel twentysomethings to disconnect. No single reason pushes a majority of young adults to drop out. Each person has his or her own set of unique and mundane reasons—that is, both deeply personal and rather pedestrian. Yet the everydayness of these reasons does not make them unimportant or uninteresting. Every nomad, prodigal, and exile has a story. And as we have observed before, every story matters. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 1429-32)

I am not sure if I support this point or not. On one hand I can agree that there are a wide range of reasons people leave the church, on the other hand, I feel like it should be a huge red flag that there are so many reasons people give for leaving that it should signify exactly what is wrong: more people just don’t need to rely on faith to provide a moral compass in their lives, and/or more people are finally getting fed up with the corruption within the church that has taught justice/humility/honor/respect but aren’t following it.

A few years later, in 2007, Gabe Lyons and I released a book called unChristian, which explores how young non-Christians perceive Christianity. In addition to realizing the extraordinarily negative views of the Christian faith that young outsiders held, I was shocked that the data also revealed the frustrations of young Christians. Millions of young Christians were also describing Christianity as hypocritical, judgmental, too political, and out of touch with reality. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 216-19)



My largest frustrations came from David Kinnaman’s treatment of the group he named “Prodigals.”

[Prodigals] includes those who deconvert (including atheists, agnostics, and “nones,” those who say they have no religious affiliation) and those who switch to another faith. For the sake of simplicity, I refer to both as prodigals. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 1008-9)

I’m not sure what is more insulting, calling us “Prodigals” with the insinuation that we are “wastefully or recklessly extravagant” ( and/or the insinuation that we will eventually dry out/waste and come back to the fold where we will be welcome with open arms and a feast. Probably involving a fattened calf, as in the parable.  Perhaps the worst for me, though, is the insinuation that “those who switch to another faith” “agnostics” and “atheists” are all assumed to, deep down, somehow WANT to return to their church.  Or even more asinine assume that…

Both kinds [atheists and agnostics] of prodigals (and nomads too) often struggle with sex, alcohol use, or drug abuse. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 1048)

The author listed no evidence nor listed a footnote to indicate research to support his claim of sex/alcohol/drugs being part of a prodigal’s life.  Nor did he mention that sex/drugs/alcohol are also things faithful Christians can and do struggle with.  There was an entire air of ‘these people are lost and desperate for faith, even though they don’t know it’ in the book that is completely insulting to those of us who have made adult decisions to leave Christianity.

Let me try to move on.

Kinnaman has interesting views on the role of science and technology within Christianity. On one hand, I have to commend his instance that Christianity and Science can work together.  I agree. If you let the Bible dictate literal translations, you are missing the point of the actual messages. What I can’t support is Kinnaman’s wish-washy view on technology in church.

On one hand he encourages social media as a new way to reach out to Mosaics and include them in new ways into their church. On the other hand…

The heightened level of access provided by these tools is changing the way young adults think about and relate to the world. For better and worse, they are sensing, perceiving, and interpreting the world—and their faith and spirituality—through screens. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 597-99)

…or without the screen of Christianity, in my opinion. More points of view and more access to information gives us a clearer picture of the world around us.

Technological access allows them to experience and examine content originating from nonbiblical worldviews, giving them ample reasons to question the nature of truth. It generates extraordinary distractions and invites them to be less linear and logical in their thought processes. It empowers them to think as participants, not just as consumers, of media. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 623-26)

Exactly! I’m glad we agree, Mr. Kinnaman…except for that “less logical” implication.  Education is so highly valued in today’s world, and Christianity’s fear of knowledge is holding them back, turning off mosaics, and leaving the church behind as mosaics educate themselves.

Adults identify as Christians typically because they had formative experiences as a child or as a teenager that connected them to Christianity. But that connection is often shallow and on the surface, having more to do with cultural identification than it does with deep faith. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 261-64)

So, at this point I feel the author is indicating that children can’t be considered actual Christians, right? I mean if it is a shallow connection, and real Christians have a deep connection and understanding of faith, then kid’s can’t be considered.  I agree! Look, we agree again!

Most mainline and Catholic parishes have a similar ceremony for young teens called confirmation, the “sacrament of maturity”—yet many do not follow the ceremony with a meaningful expectation that the confirmed will contribute to the spiritual growth of the community. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 2012-14)

How can you expect young teens to contribute meaningfully when they don’t yet have the capacity to critically think and deduce, on their own merit, if they want to accept and follow the faith that has been thrust upon them?

God looks at how we shape our children’s hearts and minds to be responsive and obedient to him. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 1715-16)

If you want quality meaningful followers, perhaps you should consider nixing the word “obedient” and instead try for adults who are educated, wise, knowledgeable, smart, and old enough to actually make decisions?  Teaching your children good morals is important and necessary as a parent.  Teaching them to be blindly obedient and blindly obey a faith that is complex and difficult to understand (even as an adult) is impossible.  Yes, young children need to be taught obedience.  “This stove is hot. Don’t touch it.” Necessary.  But for blind obedience in faith? The inability to welcome questions?  Impossible when attempting to create a community of devout followers.

The book promotes that Christianity should no longer be afraid to answer the questions that mosaics want to ask about faith, yet negates this by quoting “obedience” many times as a necessity to being a Christian.  Obedience implies a lack of openness to questions and struggle with faith.

I could go on. I should go on, but I wont.

If you are a pastor, priest, youth minister, or a member of a Christian community this book is a good read. If you are someone who is struggling with leaving the church, or who has left the church due to infighting, community issues, or issues relating to human error (versus scripture teachings/core Jesus teachings) then this book is also a good book for you. It acknowledges the gap between mosaics and older generations, acknowledges the mass exodus of mosaics for solid reasons, and invokes Christian communities to help bring mosaics back into the fold.

If you are an atheist, agnostic, or left the Christian church for another faith, this book is not for you. It acknowledges that change should occur, but negates the need for the changes most of us seem to desire: inclusion of gays, incorporation of other world views as equally valid, science as fact, religion as interpretational belief/faith, womens rights, the “cleaning up” of corruption, etc.




The experimental and experiential decade from high school to the late twenties is the time when a young person’s spiritual trajectory is confirmed and clarified. (Kindle Highlight Loc. 442-43)

…or, it many cases, disproved and dissolved.

- Rhianna

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Bookshelf of Holding: You Lost Me Book Review (Part 1) /2013/03/05/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me_pt1-book-review/ /2013/03/05/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me_pt1-book-review/#comments Tue, 05 Mar 2013 15:45:26 +0000 /?p=1778

Normally, this is where I would tell you “A bit about my reviews: They are short and sweet. Any opinions expressed are completely my own. Feel free to agree, disagree, or be somewhere in between. If you would like to see all of my book reviews, please check me out on Goodreads,” but this review is different.

This review is long and incorporates my own story and direct quotes from the book which I found of interest. This review will include my opinions on: how and why the church should change to suit the needs and mindset of the newer generations, personal experiences with the church, why I left the church, why I became an agnostic, and my thoughts on re-integrating/re-attracting those who have left the church back into its folds.  These themes were featured in the book You Lost Me.

Due to the length of this post, I have decided to split it into two, tomorrow will be the second half of this post.

It feels appropriate to begin by letting the universe know that I was brought up as a Catholic, but no longer am part of the church. Some family and friends will not be surprised by this post, some will. Some may be interested in hearing more about my decision, and some will be saddened by it. Many just won’t care, such is the expected reaction of the interwebs.

At the heart, I am not ‘coming out’ publicly to hurt anyone.  My parents should be very proud that they raised a daughter that can think and make decisions on her own. My family and friends who know me have seen firsthand what type of person I am.  Although many disagree, my religion (or lack of it) is not what makes me “Me.”  It is part of it, but not all of it; it is not even most of it – just a tiny fraction.

I am now officially agnostic on my good days and atheist on my other good days – I still go back and forth between the two, which works for me. Ultimately, I call myself an agnostic when asked. I am very happy in my life and with my life choices. I do not feel a void where church and God used to be, if anything I feel free of the chains that church and faith life forced upon me to follow ideals I didn’t agree with. Which Ideals? Most of my issues with Catholic Church teachings center on gays, the age of confirmation being too early, lack of the ability for women to become priests, lack of the ability for priests to marry, and how churches and people of faith handle and acknowledge other faiths. Beyond what I consider “ideals” are issues with how the Catholic church has handled pedophile priests and how fundamentalist Christians are trying to get Creationism/Intelligent Design taught as science. There are more, but these are the ‘stand out’ issues.

My own rational thinking, plus the issues above, led to me leaving the church. Although I feel like I left the church when I was a senior in high school, my official split was when I was 26.  In high school, I had issues that the Catholic Church could not answer to my satisfaction (and still can’t): why can’t women become priests, why is it so important that priests can’t marry, and more.  Answers from priests and Catholic Church counselors were never in line with my heart and my own logical thinking, and I feel like my heart left the church then, although I did get Confirmed.  Which brings me to confirmation…

Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments within the Catholic Church, one of the six that women can receive (that’s right, if you are a woman within the Catholic Church, you can only receive six of the seven Sacraments).

The age of discretion, also known as the age of reason, is defined by the Church as: “The name given to that period of human life at which persons are deemed to begin to be morally responsible.” Children have always been admitted to the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion around age seven. But, when it comes to Confirmation, the law gives great latitude to bishops, who are free to determine that a later age is more suitable for the reception of the sacrament. After the Second Vatican Council, the trend has been for Catholics to receive Confirmation later, between the sixth and the tenth grade. (Wikipedia on Confirmation within the Catholic Church)

So, we have Confirmation within modern times set to be administered when children are considered ‘morally responsible.’ When going through Confirmation classes at my Catholic High School, it was explained that Confirmation was given to older children because it was the time at which they could choose to be a Catholic (versus Baptism, which is when parents decide for their children to join a church).  Although I was Confirmed at 17, it is upsetting to me to know that many are Confirmed much younger than high school. This is much younger than I think the child would be able to say “no” to their family if they decide to break from Catholicism and too young to know what other options are out there.  I believe it is Richard Dawkins that speaks of the idea that there are no “Catholic Kids” just “Children of Catholic Parents” and I completely agree with this.  For something like faith and religion, children have no capacity to understand it and truly believe it until they are older and can make their own decisions.  While they are young, they just blindly follow what their parents are telling them.  It is one of the reasons we go to school: to learn, to grow, and to develop so we become adults who can participate in critical thinking. Why are we assuming children can do this at 11, 12, 13, etc.?

So, when do I think kids should be Confirmed?  My answer: kids shouldn’t be Confirmed. They should wait until they are at least 18, which is when modern society feels the maturity level is high enough to make decisions on voting and joining the military. It’s when we, as a community, have said that someone is their own person and no longer under their parent’s control. At that time, I feel, a person should be ready to decide ON THEIR OWN if they want to commit to being a church member or be strong enough to leave.  If Confirmation is going to be taught as a Sacrament given to Catholics who are choosing for themselves to be Catholic, they should be at an age where it is actually a choice (meaning there is a choice to do it, or not to – and the maturity to be able to select either).

I am one of the many in this newer generation to firmly believe that being gay, transgender, or bisexual is NOT a choice.  It is not an anomaly, rarity, or abnormality.  It is beautiful. Love is beautiful.  It shouldn’t be pushed aside, hidden, degraded, ignored, or punished. It should certainly never be rejected.  If Jesus’ golden rule was love your neighbor as yourself, why are we still fighting against this love?  I do not understand the bigotry and I never will.  Although the reasons against gay marriage within the Catholic Church have been explained to me, the reasons do not make sense. I feel like it is another example of picking and choosing what to follow literally in the Bible and what not to.  If you would like to see a representation, please check out the video below. Although it was featured in a TV show, I feel it exemplifies how ludicrous it seems to others (like me) how some things we should follow literally in the Bible and others we don’t.

Even though I went from a Catholic Church to a Presbyterian Church, ultimately I left both and haven’t had the need or desire to return to either a church or any faith/religion.  The time I spent with the Presbyterian Church in Burbank, CA was some of the greatest religious community experiences in my life.  The folks there were amazing, and Pastor Paul still holds a place in my heart for his guidance and outlook on life.  I often felt like the joy expressed during the Presbyterian services should be something the Catholic’s take up – in all of my 31 years there has never been the excitement, joy, and happiness in any Catholic Mass than there was on a regular basis at the Presbyterian Church community I went to.  It is true when they say Catholic’s mourn their faith (and that Catholic guilt).  Even though Mass is supposed to be a celebration, all six of the different Catholic Churches I have attended spent their hour long services with sad/humdrum songs, bland repeat-after-me content, and only the rare chipper sermon.  This is in total contrast to my mother’s experiences in the Catholic Church in the 60s and 70s where she describes vibrant songs. We often have spoken about how stale Catholic services seem to have become and long for Mass to be the celebration it is supposed to be.  Sure, one could argue it depends upon the community, but after attending services in six different locations (across three different states: California, Colorado, and Florida) and over the course of many years I am just done trying.

I would assume the next question would by why didn’t stick with the Presbyterian community if I actually found its services joyful, liked the people, and loved the pastor.  My husband and I decided, after attending the Presbyterian Church for over a year, that we would take their new member classes.  The classes basically taught us stuff we already knew by basic Christian knowledge, having been in the community for a year, doing our own research on the Presbyterian church, and from questions we had already had that we asked the Pastor.  On the last day of class, though, we received a list of promises that we had to agree to in order to officially become members.  I was held up on a single item on the list which boiled down to this: acknowledging Jesus as the only way to be saved and get into heaven, and that the Presbyterian Church is the correct church (all others being false).  I couldn’t promise this. I don’t believe this.  I don’t feel the need to be “saved.”  Using the term “saved” implies that there is something so inherently wrong in me (and humans) that I was evil from the second I was born. I am not a bad person.  I don’t go out of my way to do harm to others. I make mistakes, sure, but I certainly don’t feel they qualify me for a one way trip to hell (if I even believed in that) if I don’t acknowledge that Jesus was the only son of God and my savior.  I certainly don’t need an ancient book to let me know that hurting others is wrong, I should help those who have less than I do, and that my actions have both good and bad consequences.  I find myself thinking better of those who are atheists since they are able to critically think for themselves on how to live respectfully, responsibly, and ethically withOUT a book having to tell them to do so. I also don’t feel I can be respectful to the decisions of other adults if I flat right out say that my religion is the right religion and everyone else is wrong.  Everyone has their own opinion on what religion (or no religion) works for them and their lifestyle.  Saying I’m right and you’re wrong demeans the decisions and feelings of others.  I can certainly say that I feel I’m right and that everyone is entitled to their opinion, but promising that my way is the only way…it just doesn’t sit well with me – especially on a topic that is so divided amongst human kind (and on a topic that has changed so much over the course of human history).  There is no factual, proven evidence to support any current religion. Until there is, I will refuse to announce to the world which religion has ultimate supreme rightness over all the others (if there ever is any…).  This makes me unable to officially join any major religion, which is just fine with me.  I don’t want to be associated with any group that promotes the exclusion of others who don’t agree with them.  Life is always in shades of grey, and religion doesn’t leave much room for grey in any official teachings.

So, that’s that.

..and it feels like I am out of room for my actual review, so that will have to wait for tomorrow.  Come back in 24 hours to see my actual review!

/2013/03/05/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me_pt1-book-review/feed/ 0
Giveaway: Giveaway: February 2013 Bag of Holding Daily Grind Book Giveaway WINNER! /2013/03/01/giveaway-giveaway-february-2013-bag-of-holding-daily-grind-book-giveaway-winner/ /2013/03/01/giveaway-giveaway-february-2013-bag-of-holding-daily-grind-book-giveaway-winner/#comments Fri, 01 Mar 2013 15:30:15 +0000 /?p=3354 Are you looking for my You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman book review? Please check in later this month. I needed a few more days to put it together.
Instead of the review, though, I do have a special announcement!

Congratulations Josette!

You are the winner of the Bag of Holding Daily Grind Giveaway!

Please email me at [email protected] with your mailing address (no P.O. Boxes) so we can send you your copies of First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, and Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet!

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Bookshelf of Holding: You Lost Me Chat Discussion /2013/02/25/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me-chat-discussion/ /2013/02/25/bookshelf-of-holding-you-lost-me-chat-discussion/#comments Mon, 25 Feb 2013 14:00:09 +0000 /?p=2017 Bookshelf of Holding

Welcome to the first community chat*! This chat was specifically related to the book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church and Rethinking Faith by David Kinnaman. The chat deals with difficult issues of religion and faith. The group present had read the book and were prepared to discuss the topics covered by the author.  Please read the chat log below, I feel it reveals some interesting points of view, and helps verify the gap/disconnect within the book.  I also would encourage you to participate in the survey below to express your point of view, and to comment as well.
Would you like to participate? If so, please fill out this survey:

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world’s leading questionnaire tool.

About the book:

You Lost Me_bookClose to 60 percent of young people who went to church as teens drop out after high school. Now the bestselling author of “unChristian” trains his researcher’s eye on these young believers. Where Kinnaman’s first book “unChristian” showed the world what outsiders aged 16-29 think of Christianity, “You Lost Me” shows why younger Christians aged 16-29 are leaving the church and rethinking their faith.
Based on new research, “You Lost Me” shows pastors, church leaders, and parents how we have failed to equip young people to live “in but not of” the world and how this has serious long-term consequences. More importantly, Kinnaman offers ideas on how to help young people develop and maintain a vibrant faith that they embrace over a lifetime.

The Chat:

[20:21] <Rhianna> can everyone say their first name, and one sentence about themselves as a whole, and one sentence about their faith life.

[20:21] <RossBlocher> Would be nice to have more of a balance, but I’m fine.

[20:21] <Rhianna> no  bio-epics, please.

[20:21] <Rhianna> Yeah, i agree, Ross. i would prefer more balanced, but I did my best.

[20:21] <Megan> More balance would have been nice. :/

[20:22] <Megan> but you can only try.

[20:22] <TJP1> Let’s go in alpha order

[20:22] <Rhianna> MattC, you are up first for introductions.

[20:23] <MattC> OK. I’m Matt.

[20:23] <Rhianna> can everyone say their first name, and one sentence about themselves as a whole, and one sentence about their faith life.

[20:23] <MattC> I make my living as a Software Engineer working in Web Applications and Machine Learning.

[20:24] <MattC> Publically, I was a Christian until about 2.5 years ago; privately, I’d been on a journey away from faith for 10 years.

[20:24] <MattC> My only degree is in Religious Education from a conservative Evangelical university.

[20:24] <MattC> Done.

[20:25] <MattC> no worries. It happens in IRC.

[20:25] <Megan> I’m Megan. I’m a registered vet tech with ‘sucker’ written across my forehead for animal sob-stories. I was raised Christian but lost my faith in it when I was 13 after reading the bible the first time and have self-admitted my atheism for a year.

[20:26] <MattC> Megan, how old are you now?

[20:26] <Megan> 30.

[20:26] <Megan> Went to school with Rhi.

[20:26] <MattC> cool, me too.

[20:27] <MattC> 30 years, I mean.

[20:27] <Rhianna> RossBlocher, your go.

[20:27] <RossBlocher> Ross. I was raised as an evangelical Christian, but lost faith when I was 21 (I’m also 30 now). I am what the book would refer to as a head-driven prodigal. Other than my wife of 12 years and my 11-year-old son, my main loves are Animation (my job) and science (my hobby). I co-host a podcast in which a friend and I investigate religions, alternative health claims and the like.

[20:28] <Rhianna> TJP1?

[20:28] <TJP1> I’m Todd – I’m a Librarian at a Medical School…

[20:28] <TJP1> Born and bred in FLa

[20:29] <TJP1> I have been a participant in Roman Catholic Youth Ministry, College Campus Ministry, and Young adult Ministry since I was 13

[20:30] <TJP1> I participated and was a leader -  not much active for the past few years – but still have a heart for it.

[20:30] <TJP1> basically this book was written for me

[20:30] <TJP1> end of line

[20:30] <RossBlocher> Nice. Would you consider yourself a nomad by the book’s reckoning?

[20:30] <Rhianna> I’m Rhianna. imp 31. I live in Colorado and love it. I’d prefer to wait to give my stance until the chat is over. It really is my hope I can remain neutral.

[20:31] <TJP1> No – I would consider myself the intended audience – as a Youth & Young adult, and Campus minister.

[20:32] <RossBlocher> Gotcha.

[20:32] <Rhianna> ready for a starter?

[20:32] <Rhianna> just for reference, I pulled these directly out of the official discussion guide for the book.

[20:32] <TJP1> go

[20:33] <Rhianna> I’ll be giving a series of statements

[20:33] <Rhianna> for the sake of this NOT being the discussion part yet, please reply ONLY with:

[20:33] <Rhianna> strongly agree, agree somewhat, not sure, disagree somewhat, strongly disagree

[20:33] <Rhianna> incoming statements…


[20:33] <Rhianna> The Bible has a straightforward answer for every issue.

[20:34] <Megan> strongly disagree

[20:34] <MattC> strongly disagree

[20:34] <RossBlocher> strongly disagree

[20:34] <Rhianna> (doesn’t mean you have to agree with the answer, just that is HAS an answer)

[20:34] <TJP1> disagree somewhat


[20:34] <Rhianna> Being “in but not of this world” means separating ourselves from non-Christian influence.

[20:34] <TJP1> strongly disagree

[20:34] <RossBlocher> disagree somewhat

[20:35] <MattC> disagree somewhat

[20:35] <Megan> disagree somewhat


[20:35] <Rhianna> I want to use my gifts and skills to participate in and influence culture.

[20:35] <MattC> agree somewhat

[20:35] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

[20:35] <TJP1> Strongly agree

[20:35] <Megan> strongly agree


[20:35] <Rhianna> I have a strong friendship with one or two church people from a different generation.

[20:35] <TJP1> Strongly agree

[20:36] <Megan> somewhat disagree

[20:36] <MattC> somewhat agree

[20:36] <RossBlocher> strongly agree


[20:36] <Rhianna> I connect with church friends on Sunday, and that’s enough.

[20:36] <MattC> n/a ? not sure

[20:36] <TJP1> Strongly disagree

[20:36] <Megan> N/a…

[20:37] <RossBlocher> disagree somewhat

[20:37] <RossBlocher> (I still go to church(es))


[20:37] <Rhianna> The claims of science threaten Christianity.

[20:37] <TJP1> Strongly Disagree

[20:37] <MattC> strongly agree

[20:37] <Megan> strongly agree

[20:37] <RossBlocher> strongly agree


[20:37] <Rhianna> There can be harmony between matters of science and matters of faith.

[20:37] <TJP1> Strongly agree

[20:38] <Megan> not sure

[20:38] <RossBlocher> agree somewhat

[20:38] <MattC> somewhat disagree


[20:38] <Rhianna> When scientific evidence contradicts a faith claim, we should reevaluate our beliefs.

[20:38] <Megan> strongly agree

[20:38] <MattC> strongly agree

[20:38] <TJP1> Agree somewhat

[20:39] <RossBlocher> strongly agree


[20:39] <Rhianna> The Bible’s teaching about sex and sexuality is clear and unambiguous.

[20:39] <RossBlocher> strongly disagree

[20:39] <TJP1> Somewhat agree

[20:39] <MattC> somewhat disagree

[20:39] <Megan> agree (if we’re again not agreeing with what it says, just that it says it)


[20:40] <Rhianna> My choices about sex are nobody’s business but mine (and my partners).

[20:40] <Megan> strongly agree.

[20:40] <TJP1> Somewhat disagree

[20:40] <RossBlocher> agree somewhat

[20:41] <MattC> somewhat agree


[20:41] <Rhianna> Procreation is the main purpose of sex.

[20:41] <Megan> somewhat disagree

[20:41] <MattC> strongly disagree

[20:42] <TJP1> somewhat agree/disagree whatever is in the middle

[20:42] <RossBlocher> somewhat disagree (depends on the viewpoint)


[20:42] <Rhianna> Other people’s beliefs are as valid as mine.

[20:42] <MattC> somewhat disagree

[20:42] <TJP1> Somewhat disagree

[20:42] <Megan> somewhat disagree

[20:43] <RossBlocher> somewhat disagree

[20:43] <RossBlocher> Glad we all agree on that. ;0)

[20:43] <TJP1> wow we have a winner

[20:43] <MattC> (note thats the first question where we all believe the same)


[20:43] <Rhianna> Faith should not get in the way of friendships.

[20:43] <RossBlocher> strongly agree

[20:43] <MattC> somewhat agree

[20:43] <TJP1> somewhat agree

[20:43] <Megan> somewhat agree


[20:43] <Rhianna> Being fair is more important than being right.

[20:44] <TJP1> somewhat agree

[20:44] <MattC> note sure (depends entirely on context)

[20:44] <Megan> not sure

[20:44] <RossBlocher> somewhat agree


[20:44] <Rhianna> Having doubts is a symptom of weak faith.

[20:44] <Megan> disagree

[20:44] <TJP1> disagree

[20:45] <RossBlocher> disagree

[20:45] <MattC> somewhat agree


[20:45] <Rhianna> The church is a place where people can ask their most pressing questions without fear of being judged.

[20:45] <MattC> strongly disagree

[20:45] <Megan> strongly disagree

[20:46] <RossBlocher> disagree somewhat

[20:46] <TJP1> agree somewhat


[20:46] <Rhianna> It’s okay to disagree with pastors and other leaders on matters of faith or theology.

[20:46] <MattC> strongly agree

[20:46] <TJP1> agree somewhat

[20:46] <Megan> strongly agree

[20:47] <RossBlocher> strongly agree


[20:47] <Rhianna> Pastors and leaders should never express doubt.

[20:47] <Megan> disagree

[20:47] <TJP1> strongly disagree

[20:47] <RossBlocher> strongly disagree

[20:48] <MattC> somewhat disagree


[20:48] <Rhianna> thanks everyone

[20:48] <Rhianna> so, I have a set of quotes with questions. If we branch from those, that’s fine. But, I may bring us back to a central point.

[20:49] <Rhianna> I have them in no particular order of importance, just by kinda-category.


[20:50] <Rhianna> “The book’s title[not this book, a different book the author is discussing that i wasn't smart enough to write down] is inspired by their voice and mindset, and reflects their disdain for one-sided communication, disconnect from formulaic faith, and discomfort with apologetics that seem disconnected from the real world.”

[20:50] <Rhianna> “Millions of young Christians were also describing Christianity as hypocritical, judgmental, too political, and out of touch with reality.”

[20:50] <Rhianna> “A generation of young Christians believes that the churches in which they were raised are not safe and hospitable places to express doubts. Many feel that they have been offered slick or half-baked answers to their thorny, honest questions, and they are rejecting the “talking heads” and “talking points” they see among the older generations.”

[20:50] <Rhianna> discussion question: Why do you feel churches have a reputation for being not safe and hospitable places to express doubts?

[20:51] <MattC> Because they have a history of being inhospitable to even rumors of someone having doubts.

[20:51] <Megan> I see part of it as the exclusivity “We’re completely right, everyone else is going to hell”, fear of being condemned as a non-believer, fear that maybe one isn’t ‘saved’ if one has doubts…

[20:51] <TJP1> Depends on the Church and their style of Catechesis.  And the style of Preaching.

[20:52] <MattC> “A little leaven leveaneth the whole lump” -> Doubters must be “fixed” or thrown out.

[20:52] <TJP1> Generally, people go only to the Sunday service which has a mode that favors one way communication – not much Socratic method or relational dynamic

[20:53] <RossBlocher> Yeah, it does vary based on the church community, but I find that the sense of shunning doubters is pretty common.

[20:53] <TJP1> Often Youth ministries at large churches tend to be “show message” oriented.  And if they are too large not enough individual face time.

[20:53] <TJP1> Sunday School and Catechism class are also in the instruction mode.

[20:54] <RossBlocher> “Slick answers” also resonated with me – I think there’s a lot of quick, catchy-phrase answers to questions that need to be explored more deeply.

[20:54] <TJP1> Furthermore – Youth ministry tend to favor “peer” leadership of strong Christian kids – and “peer” pressure tends to squash the kid that is questioner.

[20:55] <RossBlocher> Or admission that the question is tough, and then a dodge.

[20:55] <Rhianna> I have a tie in…

[20:56] <Megan> I got the dodge a lot, especially in high school.

[20:56] <RossBlocher> That being said, my regular church pastor regularly encourages doubt and says it is healthy, but he never really models it or talks specifically about any doubts.


[20:56] <Rhianna> “Overall, knowledge of Scripture, doctrine, and church history is poor among most Christians, not just young adult believers.”

[20:56] <Rhianna> “Technological access allows them to experience and examine content originating from nonbiblical worldviews, giving them ample reasons to question the nature of truth. It generates extraordinary distractions and invites them to be less linear and logical in their thought processes. It empowers them to think as participants, not just as consumers, of media.”

[20:56] <Rhianna> “we[the church] must teach through experience, reason, and authority”

[20:56] <Rhianna> Question: How can the church work to fix the education/knowledge gap?  Will the greater education in the Bible hurt or help numbers?

[20:57] <TJP1> Yep and no – poor catechesis is the problem – Familiarity with scripture is only part of it

[20:57] <Megan> I think a greater education will hurt it a great deal.

[20:57] <MattC> Probably hurt.

[20:57] <Megan> It was reading the bible that killed my faith.

[20:57] <MattC> I had a degree from a bible college before I left.

[20:57] <TJP1> Oh – yes I reread the question – the answer is yes.

[20:58] <Rhianna> Why is education hurtful?

[20:58] <Megan> Church glosses over a lot.

[20:58] <Megan> You get the nice message with a bit of hellfire depending on the church.

[20:58] <Megan> You don’t get Lot offering his daughters for gang rape.

[20:58] <MattC> Re-reading the gospels was a big part of my finally discarding belief permanently.

[20:58] <Megan> That Job’s trials started as a bet with the devil.

[20:59] <RossBlocher> Yeah, I studied the Bible extensively, and that fueled my abandonment of religion. I also think the Internet is the tool that will continue that trend, because as your quote suggests, it’s very difficult to shut out the ideas of others anymore.

[20:59] <TJP1> Greater knowledge of Scripture can’t hurt – if it is coupled with good exegesis and a strong catechesis.

[20:59] <Megan> They don’t really go over the fact that God took away Pharaoh’s free will in order to visit plagues upon Egypt.


[20:59] <Rhianna> “Ryan says, “I want to build loving friendships with those in the church, but my main focus will be anyone who cares about the things I believe Jesus calls us to care about, whether they label themselves Christian or not. I’ve had too many negative experiences in church”

[21:00] <Rhianna> “One-third of young Christians (32 percent) identified with the statement, “I want to find a way to follow Jesus that connects with the world I live in.””

[21:00] <Rhianna> Question: Why do some feel there is a difference between that their church teaches, what the bible says, and what they feel Jesus’ message is?

[21:00] <MattC> cf. the quote, exposure to secular content doesn’t challenge the “nature of truth;” it challenges the *content* of truth.

[21:] <TJP1> They don’t see enough positive role models.  Some great people are secret Christians.  Some popular Christians are great sinners

[21:] <TJP1> Heck all of us are great sinners

[21:] <MattC> There IS a difference between what churches say, and what the bible says, and Jesus’ message.

[21:02] <MattC> Jesus’ message isn’t even consistent between the 4 gospels.

[21:02] <TJP1> Jesus had many messages

[21:02] <RossBlocher> “Some great people are secret Christians.” – Interesting! I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that before.

[21:03] <TJP1> Sure – we often feel cull and discourage from showing our faith in public and at work.

[21:03] <RossBlocher> As to the question, I agree with Matt. There is a conflict between Jesus’ message as presented by the church, and the text of the Bible, and what’s expected by society.

[21:03] <Rhianna> What is the difference?

[21:03] <MattC> I don’t want to nit-pick, but The question isn’t about people’s behavior, it’s about conflicting messages.

[21:03] <TJP1> I have often spent year with people I thought were really great people and later found out they were faithful Christians

[21:04] <Megan> I see a major disconnect with how the religious right treats the very people the Jesus of the bible would have been amongst.

[21:04] <MattC> Churches tend to pick-and-choose the parts of the Bible that support their cultural vision.

[21:04] <TJP1> No nit-pick – we find that it is this behavior of people that that are sending the conflicting messages.

[21:05] <MattC> The religious left also glosses over a lot of problems in the bible.

[21:05] <RossBlocher> I believe Jesus’ message has such longevity BECAUSE it is vague and ambiguous. Many denominations and churches and eras have been able to find support for their varying beliefs within Jesus’ teachings.

[21:05] <Megan> True. But what we see most of in society is the right’s disconnect from the bible’s teachings about wealth, health, and how to treat others.

[21:06] <Megan> There is that, Ross. It’s amazing what people can find to support completely opposite positions in the same text.

[21:06] <TJP1> And – people often confuse the churches and mix them up.  They hear a Christian preacher on TV and think that all Christian have the point of view.  – Of course it sounds conflicting.

[21:06] <RossBlocher> TJP – I’d call that the “No True Scottsman” problem. It’s hard when Christians are claiming that other Christians who disagree with them aren’t Christian at all.


[21:06] <Rhianna> Do you feel, that for Christians, it is better to be a blatantly sinning Christian or a non-Christian?

[21:06] <TJP1> What do you mean by blatantly sinning?

[21:06] <MattC> better for who?

[21:07] <Megan> But they’re all Christian TJ at the core of it.

[21:08] <Rhianna> either having the viewpoint that ‘I can sin as long as I go to church and am forgiven later’ or sin because they already hold onto the viewpoint that ‘i accept Jesus, therefore I am saved’

[21:08] <TJP1> The general definition for Christian is only a few core doctrinal things… not usually the messages you hear on TV or from the pulpit.

[21:08] <RossBlocher> I don’t think any Christian would ever consider those to be two options to choose from. They want to avoid sin as an expression of their Christian journey.

[21:09] <TJP1> Blatant sinning – No that is not helpful to anyone – it is flaunting and presumptuous.

[21:09] <RossBlocher> They feel Christianity is the only way to truly overcome a sinful nature.

[21:09] <TJP1> Admittedly a sinner – who is trying to do better – now that is helpful

[21:09] <Megan> I think that some Christians do think that way. Namely people who claim to be Christian, but commit crimes.

[21:10] <RossBlocher> Ah, but they think, “At least I’m a Christian.”? Interesting. That makes sense, though how sad.

[21:10] <Megan> And I’ve met some who feel that ‘sinning’ against a non-believer isn’t a sin at all.

[21:10] <TJP1> They would be of the once saved always saved group – not Catholics


[21:10] <Rhianna> “One of the recurring themes in our research with young exiles is the idea that Christianity does not have much, if anything, to say about their chosen profession or field.”

[21:10] <Rhianna> “What has God called you to do, in partnership with the community of Christ-followers? How can you be on mission for Christ in the world, based on what you’re gifted to do?”

[21:10] <Rhianna> Question: Does faith belong at/in work?  Giving examples of film makers and musicians are easy to draw a connection into promotion the Christian faith, but what about those who work in finance, IT, sales, and customer service? How are they to make ties to faith?

[21:11] <Megan> I don’t think you *can* make ties to faith in all job fields except for “doing a job well done” as expression of faith… or something.

[21:11] <TJP1> Faith is at the core of the person… it belongs in everything they do – or they would be denying their very selves.

[21:12] <Rhianna> How does one integrate faith at work?

[21:12] <MattC> Faith is a bad thing. If you make decision at your job based on faith, you’re bad employee.

[21:12] <TJP1> If one cannot find a faithful tie-in with their work – then they should find other work – or they should look harder for the tie in

[21:12] <MattC> *a bad employee.

[21:12] <RossBlocher> I have co-workers who are openly Christian (and at least one Mormon), and they know I’m openly Atheist, and we have very interesting, polite and productive discussions. I think its okay as long as it’s done graciously and lovingly.

[21:13] <Rhianna> Giving examples of film makers and musicians are easy to draw a connection into promotion the Christian faith, but what about those who work in finance, IT, sales, and customer service? How are they to make ties to faith?

[21:13] <TJP1> Why would anyone “have to” have a discussion about that at work?  That has nothing to do with tying your faith with your work.

[21:14] <MattC> If the question means, “expressing religious devotion at work,” then I think it should be treated like any other hobby. If it doesnt impact your performance, have at it.

[21:14] <Megan> I don’t want faith to be a part of certain jobs, like doctors or nurses.

[21:14] <RossBlocher> It may be different for other professions, but I work in the creative field. As a very good example, we were talking about how the Life of Pi resonates with believers and non-believers as a story. My Mormon friend and I had a half hour conversation in the hall.

[21:14] <TJP1> Easy – I organize records that give access to medical books that educate doctors that heal people.

[21:14] <Megan> I don’t want a nurse, who is religious, to decided that his faith means I can’t have a blood transfusion, or pain meds.

[21:15] <Megan> I’ve had wanna-be technician interns go “Oh, I couldn’t euthanize an animal, it’s against my faith to kill anything.”

[21:15] <RossBlocher> Agreeing with much of what’s been said above… As long as faith is not adversely affecting job performance.

[21:15] <MattC> to follow Megan, it can be far less “obvious.”

[21:16] <MattC> e.g., how many times has patient confidentiality been broken by a nurses prayer request?

[21:16] <MattC> It may not be life threatening, but it can have serious consequences.

[21:16] <RossBlocher> My sister is a strong believer and a doctor. She refused a Viagra prescription for a man because he wasn’t married. If I were that man, I would find another doctor pronto.

[21:16] <TJP1> Your faith should increase your job performance.  Every endeavor is a vocation within your faith.

[21:16] <Megan> Or being asked what religion and when I said “atheist” getting “Oh, I’ll pray for you.”

[21:17] <Megan> I didn’t want my nurse praying for me, I wanted her to check me in so I could get checked for appendicitis.

[21:17] <TJP1> Why not pray for you and get checked they are not mutually exclusive.

[21:18] <Megan> Because I’m an atheist.

[21:18] <Megan> And praying for me in that situation, with that knowledge, is passive aggressive and unwanted.

[21:18] <TJP1> The real question is whether it is “wise” and helpful to talk much about faith while at work ?

[21:18] <RossBlocher> Good point, Megan. I had a technician tell me she was going to pray for my wife when my wife had cancer. I know she meant well, but it felt very unprofessional.

[21:18] <MattC> Because holding beliefs based on evidence and beliefs based on pious feelings are mutually exclusive.

[21:19] <TJP1> Working with people is about building relationships.  A brief exchange that includes a promise for prayer is a friendly gesture that builds relationship.  As long as it doesn’t get outta hand.

[21:19] <Megan> She was checking me in at the ER.

[21:19] <Megan> I was in pain, and cranky and said I was an atheist.

[21:20] <RossBlocher> Yeah, that was insensitive of her to tell you she was going to pray for you with the knowledge that you were an atheist. I’d say that’s bad form.


[21:20] <Rhianna> “…think about which model the church most resembles—the established monolith or the grassroots network—and what that might mean for its relevance in the lives of a collaborative, can-do generation that feels alienated from hierarchical institutions.”

[21:20] <Rhianna> Question: Which is the correct answer? Which do you feel the church is?

[21:20] <Megan> Depends on the church. a little of both.

[21:21] <Megan> Once they start going the “our morality for EVERYONE” they get extremely monolithic in feel.

[21:22] <RossBlocher> To the question, I think the contemporary church sees that its monolithic parts are dying quickly, and so it’s struggling to become more adaptable and networked.

[21:22] <TJP1> As for the Catholic Church is obviously the monolith.  I don’t answer for other churches – I’ve seen little grass roots ones, too.  The question is contextual.

[21:22] <RossBlocher> But I think that as it makes that shift, it loses its identity and becomes more of a social club.


[21:23] <Rhianna> The church is: Overprotective, Shallow, Antiscience, Repressive, Exclusive, and Doubtless

[21:23] <Rhianna> Question: Do you agree? Disagree? Why? What is your level of agree/disagree with each of the major topics in the book (listed above)

[21:23] <Megan> All of the above?

[21:23] <TJP1> None – of the above – depending on “the church”

[21:24] <Rhianna> Question: which is the largest that you feel needs to be addressed

[21:24] <Megan> Ooh… that one’s tough.

[21:24] <Megan> A lot of those tie into each other.

[21:24] <MattC> All except Exclusive and doubtless. There are denominations that will accept anybody. The Quakers and some Episcopalians are pretty good about making room for doubt.

[21:24] <RossBlocher> To varying degrees within each church, but I’d say as a whole I agree with those characterizations. You can only be so flexible as a church before you lose your identity.

[21:24] <Rhianna> TJP1 – these are, indeed, generalizations, as the book says. But it also says these generalizations are appearing and need addressing. So, we are addressing them.  What is your take on the problems the church has that the book covered?

[21:25] <TJP1> As for the Mosaics that the author is trying to reach I would say the “repressive” and “doubtless” are the toughest.

[21:25] <TJP1> Although he does identify all of them as areas that need addressing for each of the identified lost one.

[21:25] <RossBlocher> To Matt’s point, Unitarians as well are incredibly open and accepting. So yeah, it depends.

[21:25] <MattC> “Antiscience” is the most important to address, for the good of society in general.

[21:25] <Megan> The antiscience is probably biggest for me.

[21:26] <MattC> Unitarians aren’t’ real Scotsmen. ;-)

[21:26] <TJP1> If “anti-science” is addressed well – would you consider returning?

[21:26] <Megan> I mean, I work with animals but I still get owners coming in who want to pray their dog’s cancer away rather than do surgery.

[21:26] <Megan> Absolutely NOT.

[21:26] <RossBlocher> Antiscience > Doubtless > Shallow – those would probably be my top three in descending order.

[21:27] <RossBlocher> Ha ha, touché. You’re right; Unitarians don’t really fall in the fold.

[21:27] <Megan> In this country at least, we have people in gov’t on education boards and science councils that think the earth is 6k years old.

[21:28] <RossBlocher> No, I wouldn’t return to belief, but I’d be happy that the church is not actively combating progress for the rest of the world.

[21:28] <MattC> TJP1: No. I still think its a bad idea to claim extraordinary beliefs that aren’t based on good evidence, which is essential for the church.

[21:28] <TJP1> The author tries to identify the reasons we are losing the Mosaics – when he identifies the issue – he is trying to assert that if we address he issue – then they would return.


[21:28] <Rhianna> “From this generation, so intent on reimagining faith and practice, I believe the established church can learn new patterns of faithfulness.”

[21:29] <Rhianna> “Many people I talk to think it’s impossible to embrace both mainstream science (especially evolutionary biology) and traditional Christian faith. Scientists tend to scoff at faith as being anti-intellectual, while Christians tend to reject scientific conclusions out of hand if they don’t fit with their view of the world. This should not be! Christians, of all people, should pursue truth with a spirit of confidence, and the church should take a more active role in encouraging that pursuit.””

[21:29] <Rhianna> Question: Later in the book, the author discusses the incorporation of science into the church more. What is your opinion on this idea? Is it something that could work in actual practice?

[21:29] <Megan> No.

[21:30] <Megan> Too much of the main premise of the bible falls apart in the face of science.

[21:30] <Megan> Original sin goes *poof*

[21:30] <MattC> Maybe. The Catholics and Anglicans are pretty far along in this process, but I dont think it will bring anyone back.

[21:30] <Megan> If that goes poof, no need for Jesus’ sacrifice.

[21:30] <RossBlocher> I’m all for incorporating science and encouraging believers to embrace science.

[21:30] <RossBlocher> I agree that it will lead many people away from belief, but I’d never discourage incorporating science. ;0)

[21:31] <TJP1> The incorporation can be done.  A subtly of perspective needs to be done about the relationship between the too – but the book doesn’t go into the how.  It merely addresses the need – not exactly the method.

[21:31] <Megan> This is true. I think that if they *don’t* try to keep up, they’ll lose just as many.

[21:32] <MattC> Scientific literacy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for being a satisfied non-believer.

[21:33] <RossBlocher> I agree with TJP that the book doesn’t go into the how (until the very end with some contributions from other authors). That was one of the frustrating things about the book for me. The bold, broad statements that weren’t accompanied by specifics.

[21:33] <TJP1> Not true – many an ignorant hedonist non-believer is very happy.

[21:33] <MattC> So, I think churches could strike a “safe” balance for keeping their flock, but it will probably won’t make much difference if they do.

[21:33] <Megan>  The bible gives us a ‘how’ for creation of the world and mankind, for example.

[21:34] <RossBlocher> I agree with TJP on that as well – many non-believers simply don’t give the issue much thought, and aren’t particularly literate when it comes to science.

[21:34] <MattC> TJP1: True. let me revise that to “being deconverted and intellectually honest”

[21:34] <Megan> scientific literacy is a big problem. “It’s just a theory!”

[21:35] <TJP1> The book assumes that the reader is already familiar with youth and young adult ministry and studies and training – he mostly spend time trying to explain the current generational challenges.  I was trained in similar ideas for the GenX’ers – not this book is helping me with the Mosaics/Millennials

[21:35] <TJP1> I mean “now this book”

[21:35] <MattC> i.e., I acknowledge some may deconvert for solely “carnal” reasons, and claim their intellectual doubts, but they aren’t being honest. But it’s very hard for a committed Christian to leave the faith behind without gaining some scientific literacy to answer some of the questions that the church used to answer.


[21:35] <Rhianna> “Young people are skeptical about the reliability of the original biblical manuscripts; they tend to read the Bible through a lens of pluralism; their changing media behaviors and vanishing attention spans make a physical medium of Scripture less viable; and they seem less likely than previous generations to believe the Scriptures have a claim on human obedience.”

[21:35] <Rhianna> “Finally, young adults’ location in a post-Christian culture encourages them to reject the authority of the Bible and of spiritual leaders and even to question the existence of truth. Many prodigals and nomads seek and find sources of authority outside of conventional Christian forms.”

[21:35] <Rhianna> Question: What has the church done to propagate this stance of authenticity and authority issues?

[21:37] <TJP1> Authority is a big issue for Mosaics – and previous generations to a bit lesser extent.

[21:38] <MattC> That questions doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t see that the church has encouraged the questioning of authority, except maybe in the anti-government fringe.

[21:38] <Megan> I think part of it is exposure to other faiths… that believe their holy books and beliefs are just as authoritative and authentic.

[21:38] <TJP1> Nowadays the church needs to address some many more of the main issues presented before they can address authority.  It needs to be built up – rather than assumed that any authority can be true.

[21:38] <RossBlocher> I think the culture has swung over to being very skeptical of any authority, and the church is just suffering from that perspective shift. Authority is one of the main pillars supporting faith.

[21:39] <Megan> “Believe us because we says so. We are the Authority on this.”

[21:39] <TJP1> Most Mosaics and GenXers were raised with a very weak sense of authority.  I agree this is tough to overcome since so much of the church rest upon the idea.


[21:39] <Rhianna> “God looks at how we shape our children’s hearts and minds to be responsive and obedient to him.”

[21:39] <Rhianna> Question: What roll does obedience play in the church? The book used the example of the story of Daniel, many would consider him to have been NOT obedient to God since he made faith compromises. Where is the balance between obedience and adaptation? Who decides the “line” between obedience, adaptation, and failure?

[21:41] <TJP1> The Family is the first church.  How the family is modeled for a chld will have a strong influence on how the child grows to understand the church (and authority).

[21:41] <Megan> I think there’s too much emphasis on obedience, and it’s biting them in the butt.

[21:41] <RossBlocher> Agreed. Our culture frowns on obedience as well.

[21:42] <RossBlocher> Everyone is encouraged to think for themselves and not be submissive to anyone.

[21:42] <Megan> We’re teaching our children now to think about things. They’re growing up in a time where questioning things has led  progress towards ending racism, sexism, ableism, etc.

[21:42] <TJP1> Obedience can only fow from acceptance of authority.

[21:42] <Megan> Before, people were blindly obedient to what they were told, because it was right… because they were told it was right.

[21:42] <Megan> Our kids are growing up with a wider world view and seeing “what I was always told… doesn’t seem to be true.”

[21:43] <Megan> And they’re *thinking* and obedience doesn’t do well with independent though.

[21:43] <Megan> My *dog* is obedient.

[21:44] <TJP1> Obedience is part of trust in the authority.  Certainly not many armies would survive without that.

[21:44] <RossBlocher> And again, I think the Internet is playing a strong role in this. Kids are exposed to many different ideas and influences, and it’s hard to single just one perspective out as an authority worthy of obeying.

[21:44] <Megan> Many armies commit atrocities because they ‘obeyed’.

[21:44] <TJP1> Your dog has a dimmed reason compared to you – you know what is better fo ryour dog – so he does not over eat.

[21:45] <Megan> Yes. But my future children have minds that are like mine.

[21:45] <Megan> Or *will have minds

[21:45] <Megan> Blind obedience is bad.

[21:46] <Megan> And, to bring up your armies analogy, it’s not ‘trust’, it’s conditioning.

[21:46] <RossBlocher> I think the armies of the world will dwindle for the same reasons the church is dwindling. Which is fine, because the total amount of violence in the world is also dwindling (per the book I’m currently reading, “The Better Angels of our Nature” by Steven Pinker.

[21:46] <Megan> They are conditioned to obey, to not think.

[21:46] <TJP1> Your children, when they are young, have dimmed minds they most first obey not to cross the street before they understand why.

[21:46] <Megan> My parents explained. I understood that rule as early as 3.

[21:46] <Megan> And I knew *why*.

[21:46] <TJP1> And for a retarded child ?

[21:47] <Megan> TJ, don’t *even* go there. You will not like the result.


[21:47] <Rhianna> “The problem is not that this generation has been less churched than children and teens before them; the problem is that much spiritual energy fades away during a crucial decade of life—the twenties.”

[21:47] <Rhianna> “Adults identify as Christians typically because they had formative experiences as a child or as a teenager that connected them to Christianity. But that connection is often shallow and on the surface, having more to do with cultural identification than it does with deep faith.”

[21:47] <Rhianna> “Too many are incapable of reasoning clearly about their faith and unwilling to take real risks for Christ’s sake”

[21:47] <Rhianna> Question:  How does this concept, of twenty year olds leaving the church, coordinate with the concept that adults (18+) are able to critically think on their own? s that actually make you a “member”? Can a child actually be “Christian” before they can analyze and agree with the lessons taught? This is more than factual school learning (math, English, etc.) – this is reasoning and theology which is considered beyond the mental capacity of children and taught in college or as a starter high school course.

[21:48] <Megan> I think children can “be” Christian without understanding all the implications simply because they were raised in that faith and absorbed it.

[21:48] <Megan> Just like I’m American because I was born here, and grew up here.

[21:48] <TJP1> Catholics in the early 20th century developed the Baltimore Catechism – it was for children to try to address things at thier level.

[21:49] <RossBlocher> I would like to see an emphasis on letting a child choose his or her own beliefs and not feel beholden to tow the party line. In my perfect world.

[21:49] <Megan> But I do not think they should be ‘confirmed’ or ‘baptized’ until they do fully understand, and demonstrate that understanding.

[21:49] <TJP1> It can be a very helpful thing to address things at the level of understanding.  The problem came in when the kids left and the last theological text they read was that child’s book

[21:50] <TJP1> They went around for the rest of their lives as practicing – and non-practicing Catholics with the faith development of a 10 year old.

[21:50] <RossBlocher> I agree with Megan. Those official pronouncements of belief (confirmation, baptism, even dedication) should be saved for older children at least.

[21:51] <TJP1> I have seen this time and again – people in ministry and practicing their faith – with now more understanding than what they were told in CCD class at age 13.  And they didn’t even get good grades at it.

[21:52] <Megan> TJ, how do you define depth of understanding of the faith?

[21:52] <TJP1> If they are pious – then this is not a problem.  But, when they have doubts and are challenged by life – this childish understanding is simply not enough.

[21:52] <MattC> As for training children, I think if your concern is helping children to know truth, then you’re better off teaching them how to ask good questions, not giving the pre-constructed answers.

[21:53] <Megan> Definitely agreed, Matt.

[21:53] <MattC> And I have yet to see any catechism that I would classify as *good* questions.

[21:54] <RossBlocher> Great point. Teaching a child how to learn is far more important than teaching specific facts/beliefs.

[21:54] <TJP1> The church has a large deposit of 2000 yrs of traditional teachings – why should I not share it?  If I believe it to be true should I not teach it to my children and the children presented to me?

[21:54] <TJP1> Asking questions is good — and presenting good answers is also good.

[21:54] <MattC> but presenting reliable methods for confirming truth for oneself is better,

[21:55] <Megan> TJ, what do you consider proper “depth” of faith?

[21:55] <Megan> or ‘maturity’

[21:56] <TJP1> Good – question – depth of faith would differ for various people.  As we see in this book – various personalities need to have different aspects addressed.  -  Yet – I would say a better understanding of the catechism teachings.  First the catechism of a child and then as an adult.  This is at least a starting point.

[21:57] <TJP1> But – most to the point – the author states the “relationship” is where this all starts.

[21:57] <Megan> So why do you say that some people have a “childish” faith?

[21:57] <TJP1> Without a caring trusting relationship no minister has a chance at reaching out and reclaiming the lost.

[21:58] <TJP1> Yes – I know many people that have a childish understanding of the faith.

[21:59] <Megan> How is that not just a different depth? What if that’s all they need?

[21:59] <Megan> How exactly do you define “childish”?

[21:59] <MattC> So you want adult understanding but child-like submission to authority? Let them have cake and you’ll eat it too. :-)

[21:59] <TJP1> I know this because I have my conversations about the faith with people that claim to be good catholic that went to CCD – and they don’t get the answers right – or they present a childish answer that is clearly unsuited for an adult reality.

[22:00] <Megan> Why were they taught things unsuitable for reality then?

[22:00] <MattC> ..and why is adult reality about religious claims different from childhood reality about the same?

[22:00] <TJP1> They were taught what was suitable at that age.

[22:] <Megan> That’s just silly then, and probably part of the problem.

[22:] <MattC> example?

[22:] <TJP1> Often we use metaphor to explain various things . A metaphor is useless without a frame of reference.

[22:02] <TJP1> A child’s frame of reference demands an apt metaphor.

[22:02] <MattC> like what? Give us a metaphor that expresses something that is true for a child, but not an adult.

[22:03] <TJP1> Birds and the bees – “when two people love each other they get very close and then a baby if formed in the mommy’s tummy”

[22:03] <Megan> I knew about reproduction when I was 4.

[22:04] <Megan> I didn’t need a metaphor. The science worked.

[22:04] <TJP1> This is a “true” explanation and suitable for a 6 year old

[22:04] <Megan> Why is the mechanics of mating not suitable for a 6 year old?

[22:04] <TJP1> A 10 year old needs a bit more.

[22:04] <Megan> Why was I not traumatized at age 4 to learn what sex was?

[22:04] <MattC> It’s also true for an adult; just incomplete. Also, that’s a not a claim unique to Christianity.

[22:04] <TJP1> Its an example please don’t ager about the age that I placed there.

[22:05] <Megan> After all, discovery channel has plenty of shows that go on about mating, pregnancy, parturition and whatnot.

[22:05] <Megan> No, I’m arguing the *necessity* of a metaphor at all for that.

[22:06] <TJP1> Not all children, or people have the same learning style – and understanding style.  For many people metaphor works better.

[22:06] <Megan> TJ: won’t know unless you try the truth.


[22:05] <Rhianna> Thoughts on the book?

[22:05] <RossBlocher> Just to state my main gripe… I get that the book was written for believers who are trying to preserve and strengthen the church, but I was frustrated with the premise that the church’s flaws are only a matter of presentation. There’s a big possibility the book is overlooking: perhaps the teachings are simply incorrect, and that’s why people are leaving. I wish that possibility was at least acknowledged for a split second

[22:06] <Megan> The author was painfully condescending to non-believers and those who are wandering.

[22:07] <Megan> I can normally read a book that length in a sitting. It took me the entire time as I had to keep putting it down in outrage.

[22:07] <RossBlocher> I definitely didn’t appreciate the “prodigal” title. The word “prodigal” has a meaning that is very pejorative, and the biblical allusion just makes it sound like those former believers have wandered away and are now wallowing with the pigs.

[22:07] <TJP1> Ross – you are correct.  This book was written for the young adult minister who is a believer and wants to reclaim the lost.  That is the major premise of the book.  It is not a book about addressing the reasons.

[22:08] <Megan> Except that the author specifically mentioned us ‘prodigals’ and that he hoped he could bring *us* back.

[22:08] <Megan> And then writes a book that is condescending in the extreme.

[22:08] <MattC> I agree with Ross. The author could not even consider the possibility that the deconverted might have legitimate, logical reasons for leaving. It is assumed that when someone leaves, it’s because their reasoning or the churches communication was deficient.

[22:09] <TJP1> Yes – he mentioned it, I suppose, he know some might read it.  And perhaps get a better understanding of the information he was presenting.

[22:09] <MattC> I didn’t find the tone to be especially condescending, personally.

[22:09] <Megan> There were some sexist passages, and there was one comment near the end… let me find it.

[22:09] <RossBlocher> I was interviewed at length for the video companion series to “You Lost Me”, and made a lot of those points in the video that the book was lacking. I think the video series is a lot more broad-based in its treatment of the topic.

[22:10] <Megan> Here’s one:  “If you’re a nomad or a prodigal, I urge you to search your heart with the help of the Holy Spirit. Maybe it’s time to return home.”

[22:11] <TJP1> What’s wrong with that – sound like a genuine plea for a concerned Christian.

[22:11] <RossBlocher> Ta da. So… he was at least in part writing to “prodigals”. I’d call it more tone-deaf than condescending.

[22:11] <TJP1> It was, at least a challenge.

[22:12] <Megan> A challenge? To what, ask the invisible pink unicorn to help me?

[22:13] <TJP1> Again the author hopes that all of “the lost” had their reasons.  His premise is that if we (the ministers) build a strong relationship and address the real reason the people left – then they would come home.

[22:13] <Megan> Gah, can’t find the quote, but he at one point says some problem isn’t *just* the fact that the younger generation is shallow, inattentive and exhibitionist.

[22:13] <Megan> I’m not lost.

[22:13] <Megan> It’s condescending to assume I am.

[22:13] <Rhianna> I think the disconnect is who the intended audience is

[22:13] <RossBlocher> I think the disconnect here is that those of us who have left the church already know about the Holy Spirit and all the arguments for belief. He’s acting as though we just haven’t tried hard enough.

[22:14] <TJP1> From his perspective these people are lost They left the church.  He wrote the book from his perspective and genuine concern for these people.

[22:14] <MattC> The real reason (some) people leave is that Christianity makes false claims. It really is that simple.

[22:14] <Megan> You wouldn’t find it condescending to have a stranger come up to you and say “Oh honey, if you would just get rid of that silly faith thing you’ve got, you’d be such a better person.”?

[22:15] <TJP1> I think the disconnect is that often the stated reason for leaving is not the “real” reason for leaving.  And he is grappling with both of those realities.

[22:15] <Megan> I left Christianity because I found the god described in the bible to be *evil*.

[22:15] <MattC> Someone who believes in the Holy Spirit is not really a prodigal, are they?

[22:15] <RossBlocher> I agree that we (non-believers) aren’t the prime target for the book, but I still see the efforts as futile. Even if all the ministers out there took his (vague) advice, I don’t think it would help the church one bit in stemming the tide of people leaving.

[22:16] <TJP1> Someone who believes in the Hold Spirit but does not belong to a church would fit another definition – not the prodigal – perhaps the “Wanderer”

[22:16] <Megan> Agreed.  The efforts are mostly futile in the end.

[22:17] <TJP1> I would hope that if the concerns of those that left are properly addressed that a sincere person would return.


[22:17] <Rhianna> I would like to thank everyone for coming tonight, i know it was very late for some of you.

[22:17] <Rhianna> And thank you for keeping it as civil as possible. Matters of religion usually bring out a lot of passion on every side.

[22:17] <Rhianna> It’s almost like the end of a little league game where everyone has to shake hands with the opposite teams.

[22:17] <RossBlocher> Congrats to TJP for holding up under the uneven representation. I’m used to being in the reverse position. I hope everyone felt it was civil.

[22:17] <TJP1> Except we all won !


[22:18] <Rhianna> To finish the evening: a statement and a question…

[22:19] <Rhianna> I’m Rhianna. I’m 31 years old and have a Master’s Degree in Adult Learning and Instructional Design.  I’m a happy agnostic who emotionally left the church when I was 17, and officially when I was 26. I was raised Catholic.

[22:19] <Rhianna> Question: What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?

[22:19] <TJP1> Asian of African?

[22:19] <MattC> African or European?

[22:19] <Megan> An African or a European swallow?

[22:19] <Rhianna> MattC for the win.

[22:20] <Rhianna> Here’s a juice box and a rice crispy treat.

[22:20] <RossBlocher> 42.

[22:20] <Megan> D:

[22:20] <TJP1> Dang – my answer for a laden elephant !

[22:20] <MattC> lol


[22:20] <Rhianna> Again, thank you everyone! This will be up on my blog on the 25th. I will link it. My own review of the book (and my agnostic story) are out March 1st. I hope you all read it and didn’t’ find this venture too torturous.

[22:21] <TJP1> Thanks – everyone – and thanks to our hostess – the lovely Rhianna.  Good Night and (I hope I do not offend) God Bless.

[22:21] <MattC> Thanks for hosting the discussion, Rhianna

[22:21] <Megan> It was quite interesting.

[22:21] <Rhianna> Thank you for joining.

[22:21] <MattC> Good night all, Luck of the Leprechauns to you all.

[22:21] <RossBlocher> Thanks, Rhianna, Todd, Matt and Megan!

[22:22] <MattC> ;-)

[22:22] <Megan> May you be touched by the noodly appendage of the FSM.

*chat has been edited for spelling and grammar, as approved by all those present.
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Guest Post of Holding: Darynda Jones from The Charley Davidson (Grave) Book Series /2013/02/10/guest-post-of-holding-darynda-jones-from-the-charley-davidson-grave-book-series/ /2013/02/10/guest-post-of-holding-darynda-jones-from-the-charley-davidson-grave-book-series/#comments Sun, 10 Feb 2013 14:30:25 +0000 /?p=2041 Guest Post of Holding

DJONES001-2Meet Darynda Jones!

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a RITA®, and a Daphne du Maurier. As a born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

1. What is the number one thing Charlie asked Santa for when she was growing up?

A shiny new scythe.

Just kidding! She’s partial to machetes.

2. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?


That show was amazing. Favorite episode? Hands down, Out of Gas. I simply love how they went back and forth in time, showing us how everyone got on the ship, how Zoe met Wash, how Kalie became the ship’s mechanic, and how Inara came to be a part of the gang. But the best part, the sheer genius of Joss Whedon, is how a salesman is trying to sell Mal a ship. He describes this ship through the entire episode, bragging about how reliable she is and how she’ll be with Mal until the day he dies, and then we are finally given a glimpse of that scene and we learn that the salesman wasn’t talking about the Firefly at all. He was trying to sell him another ship altogether, then Mal looks into the distance and sees her. Serenity. And the salesman, still talking about this other ship while Mal stares lovingly at Serenity, says, “Yes, sir, she’ll be with you until the day you die.” Cue dramatic death scene! I cry my heart out every time I see it.

3. How do you combat writers block: Paper, Scissors, or Rock?

You know, sometimes it takes all three, but I’d have to say most of the time it’s paper. I sit down and figure out what I’m doing wrong, because most of my own writer’s block comes from knowing deep inside something is wrong with my manuscript. Then come out the scissors and, if I’ve really screwed the pooch, a boulder or two.

4. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one sidekick to help you survive: Garrett, Cookie, Taft, Uncle Ubie, or Donovan?

Cookie and I could cry on each other’s shoulders, but that wouldn’t help us survive. Taft would just annoy me while I’d probably just want to jump Donovan. My ultimate death would be due to lack of attention. Garrett would be very skilled and handy as heck to have around, but again, lack of attention. I would have to go with Uncle Bob. I love that man. He is family. And I wouldn’t have that who ADD thing going with him around.

5. What is one scene or line from one of your favorite books or movies that has stayed with you as inspirational and/or damn funny?

It’s one that I love so much from a book by Jessa Slade. I want to say it was in her first book, Seduced by Shadows. One character says something like, “The end is nigh.” And another says, “It’s never nigh enough.” I love that! I love how she manipulated the language and message so playfully. It was a lesson to me, very much like the one I learned from Joss Whedon. Nothing is sacred. Convolute everything and never apologize.

6. If you could pick one item from Charlie’s closet to have for yourself what would it be?

Her collection of boots. Although she does have these Star Wars boxers I’d love to have.

7. National Novel Writing Month is a big deal for a lot of people. Since you have participated before, how do you think NaNoWriMo has helped your work? Has any of your NaNoWriMo work been published, or is your NaNoWriMo work just for fun? What is your advice for participants once NaNoWriMo is over?

I love NaNoWriMo! I participate every year but I’ve only won once. Not because I can’t write 50,000 words in 30 days, but because I have other deadlines that don’t always involve putting fresh words on paper, and those come first. I wrote Fourth Grave Beneath my Feet during NaNoWriMo, so yep! I’ve had one published.

My advice once it’s over is first, don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t win. I can write 10,000 words a day and I’ve only won once. It’s not always about getting words on paper. Whatever you have, don’t stop once it’s over. If your first draft is complete, get back on it. Edit. Polish. Layer in depth and emotion and description. Then get it out there! If you didn’t quite complete a first draft, do that first then see above for further instructions.

8. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?

There are so many that I love. If it involves animals in any way, I am so there. I belong to several animal rights organizations. But I am also very much about basic human rights. I love Amnesty International. They can be found here: They do good things.

9. What is the most embarrassing thing a fan has ever asked you?

Oh, gosh. I just don’t get embarrassed that easily. I guess it would involve someone putting me on the spot with something I did in one of my books. Like one girl asked me (on Facebook) what was up with Charley’s unnatural and disturbing obsession with “the picture.” She was talking about a picture Charley has of Reyes when he was being abused by the man who raised him. I see nothing wrong with her keeping it. In fact, I think she would be all kinds of dumb if she got rid of it. It’s evidence of how Reyes was treated growing up. But some people don’t see it that way.

10. What is your favorite internet meme?

LOL, while I love eCards, I really like the whole meme with Ryan Gosling where he says things like, “Hey girl, you can start an uprising in my district any day.”

11. Can you please put “‘that’s what’ –she” (that’s what she said) as one of your next book’s funny quotes? Pretty please?

Ha! I totally should. Okay, I have it on my list.

12. What’s your favorite useless bit of trivia?

Any trivia about the SR-71 Blackbird fascinates me to no end. Also, the fact that it is impossible to lick your elbow is fun.

13. I am a notorious picky eater. What’s one food you find absolutely disgusting? In contrast, what is your favorite dessert?

You know those shows where they make people eat gross things? Yeah, I cannot watch those. I have a terrific gag reflex. I will not eat brains. I don’t care how much they taste like chicken. And my favorite dessert? Wow, so many to choose from. It is quite possibly cobbler of any kind, but it could be chocolate cake. Hard to say.

14. How did Charlie form her obsession with naming everything, and how does she remember all the names of stuff?

Well, Charley has a strange need to keep her mind busy at all times. Her ADD is out of control more often than not. I think naming everything just came to her one day to give her mind something to do. As for how I came up with it, the whole naming thing started when I wanted to name her Jeep after my car. I’ve been naming my cars for years and the one I had while writing First Grave was named Misery. I wanted to immortalize her, and that’s how it all started.

Charley remembers everything because her brain just works that way. I, on the other hand, have to look back to remember what I named things. It’s very frustrating. I really need to write them all down.

15. What is the sweetest thing your husband has ever done for you that just melted your heart?

My husband is kind of amazing. He cooks. He cleans. He makes me coffee. I think the sweetest thing he’s ever done happened when I was moving into my new office and I just didn’t have time to put my desk together and get things in order, so I was working out of my old office which was soon to become a bedroom. He did it for me, everything, when I was gone to a conference. I came back to a beautiful new office. He’s so great.

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Giveaway: February 2013 Bag of Holding Daily Grind Book Giveaway /2013/02/01/giveaway-february-2013-bag-of-holding-daily-grind-book-giveaway/ /2013/02/01/giveaway-february-2013-bag-of-holding-daily-grind-book-giveaway/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 08:00:09 +0000 /?p=1995 GIVEAWAY

Welcome to Bag of Holding’s Daily Grind Book Giveaway for February 2013! The giveaway includes a copy of: First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, Third Grave Dead Ahead, and Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet; all by Darynda Jones. Check out my book review of Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet! Entries will be collected between February 1 and 28th through Rafflecopter and the winner announced mid-March. Check out the Prezi below for details and Enter Below!  Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Bookshelf of Holding: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet Review /2013/01/25/bookshelf-of-holding-fourth-grave-beneath-my-feet-by-darynda-jones/ /2013/01/25/bookshelf-of-holding-fourth-grave-beneath-my-feet-by-darynda-jones/#comments Fri, 25 Jan 2013 14:15:02 +0000 /?p=1447

A bit about my reviews: They are short and sweet. Any opinions expressed are completely my own. Feel free to agree, disagree, or be somewhere in between. If you would like to see all of my book reviews, please check me out on Goodreads.

Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones


I really like this series. Charley’s sense of humor is right up my alley, and I love the major story arc that goes throughout the series. I am a fan, and this book did NOT disappoint! I have to say, of all the Grave books I think this is now my favorite for one stand out (in my opinion) reason: I really enjoyed the lull Charley and Reyes had in one particular scene. It was about time they got at least a few minutes to be normal and just enjoy each others company, relax, and even take a nap.  They deserved some time to just be.

Interested in reading Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet and other Darynda Jones books?! Awesome! Check out the Bag of Holding February 2013 Daily Grind Book Giveaway to enter for a chance to win all FOUR of the Charley Davidson books! Details are located here, and you can come back on February 1st to enter to win here.

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