When I was a little girl and my non-Quaker grandmother wanted me to pipe down, she would say, “Quaker’s Meeting has begun. No more laughing, no more fun.” I obviously never listened, but enjoyed the quaintness of Grandma’s axiom. The Quakers must be kind of quiet and shy, I thought.
I’ve been a non-quiet, non-shy practicing Catholic for 28 years, and for the most part I’ve loved my religion. But as a pretty liberal human being who enjoys condoms and thinks her gay friends should be able to visit their partners in hospitals, I have issues. Keep reading »
The few times I ever imagined my future wedding as I grew up in suburban north Texas, I imagined it taking place in the church I was raised in, the altar strewn with pretty flowers and the minister who baptized as a child me officiating. This vague idea of what my wedding might be like never quite left me, even as I left organized religion as a young adult. Weddings were a church thing. Churches have ministers. Ministers do weddings. Seemed pretty simple.
But as I attended more and more church weddings as an adult, the more I realized that there would be no way I could have one of my own: it’s not exactly fair to ask a Christian minister to, you know, leave all those Jesus-y parts out. They do tend to like to get in a bit of that where they can.
My husband, Patrick, was raised Catholic. I was a Methodist. While we both spent our youth as devout practitioners of our respective faiths, we don’t currently attend church and don’t have any plans to. We are happily lapsed, though we both look fondly back on our days as Bible-beating teenagers. I, for one, credit the church for giving me moral guidance and an amazing social circle when I was in school. I’d do it the same way all over again. But it’s not who I am or what I believe today. Keep reading »
I’m not the most devout Jew. Obviously, if I were, I’d be sitting in temple right now listening to the rabbi blow a shofar until I was half-deaf. But instead, I’m here reflecting on what I’ll need to ask forgiveness for. I figure, at least attempting to self-reflect, whether I do it in a house of worship or not, is enough to keep me cool with God. Or at least to keep me cool with myself, which I personally find more important.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, is a supposed to be a day of judgement, where you stand before God and yourself and allow an honest assessment of how you’ve behaved in the previous year to take place. From now until Yom Kippur (which falls about 10 days after Rosh Hashanah), all Jews are meant to engage in a process of repentance for the sins of the previous year. That’s just a little light Judaism lesson for you. My thought is that you don’t need to be Jewish, or a religious Jew, or believe in the concept of sin (I don’t), to take some time to reflect on your year. After the jump, what I’m atoning for. Keep reading »
In light of this weekend’s tragic shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, we thought our readers would be interested to learn more about this religion. We reached out to the Sikh Feminist Research Institute for some thoughts on Sikhism.
Often I am asked of when I first became aware of being a feminist. This question takes me back to the deepest recesses of my memories of early childhood, since it was my mother who was my first feminist role model. She would frequently give me feminist pep talks: “You want to be a pilot? Yes, of course you can become a pilot!” or “Your favourite color is blue? Sure, blue is a great color.” Often defiant of male authority, a natural and equal partner in running the household, she was both bread-winner and the CEO of our home.
As I grew older I would often wonder about the origins of my mother’s feminist ideas. Not having had the opportunity of a formal education due to the poverty following forced migration at the time of Partition, it was apparent she had no access to the feminist theorists I would come to prize in later life. Instead her ideas emerged from the Sikh historical narratives she was raised on and the strong women in her own life. The re-telling of the lives of Sikh women would provide fodder for bed-time stories, both awe-inspiring but also re-assuring of a universe that made sense where women and men are equals. Keep reading »
Living in New York City means getting used to street harassment. In the past few years, my name has been Baby, Sexy, Bitch, and Hey You, Why Don’t You Smile? I’ve learned when to give the finger and when to hide. My friend Jen Dziura, a life coaching columnist, advises women that the best way to counter street harassment is to walk calmly up to the whistler or catcaller in question and politely let him know that he needs to learn how to speak to women in a respectful way.
It’s because of her that I finally said something to the Hasidic men who harass me in my neighborhood. Keep reading »
What would Jesus do? Not photograph himself making out with a teenage girl almost 40 years younger than him, that’s for sure.
Megachurch pastor Jack Schaap from First Baptist Church in Hammond, Indiana, took cell phone photos of himself making out with a 17-year-old girl who is a member of his congregation. Last night, churchgoers learned that Schaap had had sex with the girl when she was 16. Keep reading »
Christian Grey is damn near God-like — at least according to guests’ bedside tables in The Damson Dene Hotel. Bibles have been booted and E L James’ BDSM erotica novel 50 Shades of Grey has taken their place in every room within the English inn. Damson Dene’s owner said providing a copy of the book to every guest within the 40-room hotel was “a hospitable thing to do.” Keep reading »