How I gave up my belief in Eternal Conscious Torment while still being a Christian

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When I was a little girl (ages 5–10), I went to a conservative, fundamentalist, Christian school where we learned about Jesus, but we also learned about Hell. As in, eternal conscious torment. In our classes and during the weekly chapel service, we were taught about God loving us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us so that we don’t have to go to Hell. All we had to do was to pray the Sinner’s Prayer — something along the lines of “God, I know that I’ve sinned and I trust in Jesus’ death and resurrection to pay…

A woman of Valor

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Today, my read-through-the-year Bible reading included the story of Huldah in 2 Chronicles 23–28. It’s OK if you haven’t heard of her. I was in my 30s and had been a faithful Bible reader and church-goer and had never heard of her. Women of valor didn’t seem to get a lot of notice in the evangelicalism of my childhood.

So, what’s her story? According to the story in 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings (which are quite similar), King Josiah was brought a “book of the law” which had been found in the temple. Josiah had it read to him and…

God doesn’t call all of us to live “Big Lives”; he calls us to be faithful.

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It was Youth Camp, summer of 1984 or 1985. We had been outside playing and swimming all day and were now in the main building for the evening chapel service. We were also happy to be in the cool from the air conditioning after the central Florida heat, humidity, and mosquitoes

A band was up on the stage playing Christian rock and worship music. Of course, we were all on our feet, singing and yelling. This was as cool as we could get as evangelical Christian kids!

Worship leader: “Do you love Jesus?!”

Teenagers: “Yes!”

Worship leader: “Are you sold…

Apologetics-based faith isn’t enough; we need to be radical Jesus followers

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Back in my evangelical days, I used to listen to Ravi Zacharias’ radio show, “Let My People Think.” I used to think I was so intellectual. I loved apologetics. And, of course, Ravi’s Indian accent. But, I was the person who wanted to think my way into faith.


As a teenager, I did Evangelism Explosion (a course that taught us to explain our faith to other people using simple arguments) so I could explain to someone exactly how they could get saved right that minute. It was all extremely logical. And once you did the deed and prayed the prayer…

How to love our transgender neighbors by properly using their names and pronouns

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I wish you could meet my oldest child, Lydia. They are a fascinating person. Lydia’s current hobby is bookbinding. They print out fan-fiction and bind it in home-made hardcover books. It’s just amazing what they can do! They are also a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan. They play in a group but also are passionately into “Critical Role,” a YouTube series about a group of people playing Dungeons and Dragons. And, of course, like their mother, they are a reader.

Lydia is non-binary or genderqueer and uses the pronouns they/them. Lydia is biologically female but doesn’t identify as either male…

Another tool in the migraineur's arsenal?

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My Story

It was December 28, 2016. I walked downstairs into the kitchen to see my husband, Patrick, in the pantry with a box at his feet. He was taking out everything in the pantry that had sugar in it or was mostly carbohydrates and putting it in a box at his feet.

“So, we’re doing it,” I said.

“Yes, we’re doing it,” he answered, dropping another bag of pasta into the box. “I’m almost done here. I’ll clean out the stuff in the fridge and freezer and take it over to my mom’s.”

I went over to the fridge to find…

Tap dance for fun and fitness

Learning the time step

“OK, Mom. Here’s how the combination goes. We start with the right foot and when we’ve finished we’ll be ready to do the combination again starting with the left foot. Start with a stomp with your right foot,” and Lydia stomped their right tap shoe on the ground.

“Then lift and drop your left heel. Step with your right foot so you’re transferring your weight to that foot, flap (pronounced fa-lap) forward with the left, then step back with the right and you’re ready to repeat the combination with the other side. How about we try it together slowly?”


What is it and why you should have it during the pandemic

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My story

In 2005, I was a family physician with chronic migraine. One weekend I had a migraine so bad that one of my partners put me in the hospital on a pain-relieving medication. At the time, we didn’t know that I was very sensitive to that medication and that I had obstructive sleep apnea which caused me to stop breathing when I slept. I was in a regular hospital room which meant that I didn’t have a heart monitor or a pulse oximeter to show the oxygen saturation level in my blood.

At about 2 am, a nurse came to check…

How our Founders gave us a tradition for a peaceful transfer of power

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Sometime in 2016, my then high school senior son, Christopher, introduced me to the musical Hamilton. I was hooked, despite my general ambivalence toward rap music. Here was history brought to life! I loved it, although I recognized that Lin-Manuel Miranda and his co-authors had taken some artistic liberties.

One of my favorite songs is Hamilton and Washington’s piece, “One Last Time”. In it, Washington asks Hamilton to help him write his resignation letter to the nation. Hamilton protests that Washington could continue to serve as president; indeed, he must continue to serve.

Washington argues that stepping down is for…

We have to learn to trust each other again

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On Wednesday, President-elect Biden reminded us that Democracy is fragile. We saw that writ large as groups of White Nationalists, Christian Nationalists, and probably just some general troublemakers stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday afternoon as the Senate and House were certifying the Electoral College vote for president and vice president.

What happened? How could we let this happen? Could it happen again? How can we prevent it from happening again? So many questions, but the answers aren’t clear. I’m not a historian or a political scientist. …

Catherine C. C. Martin

I am a 50-something woman who is retired from the practice of medicine because of chronic migraine. I write about chronic illness, faith, and their intersection

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