𝘽𝙚𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧

Welcome! I wanted to know what nobody told me when I was growing up Evangelical. This is a place for highly researched articles about religion and sex. Not “church facts”—but…


Did the Christian superstar sneak in LGBT themes?

When you grow up Evangelical, you’re told your religion doesn’t have any of that ‘LGBT’ stuff.

The Bible is against it! That’s the thinking, but what happens, in reality, is endlessly sexually strange—as ‘queer’ as could be! Consider the career of Amy Grant.

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Amy Grant, Harpeth Hall School 1977 yearbook (colorized)

She was tomboyish as a girl

Her dad’s side of the family had a knack for producing straight women with mannish features. Amy’s memoir recalls her Aunt Jean:

“She was beautiful in a rugged, tomboy sort of way, with thick, short hair, twinkling eyes, and a mischievous smile. My dad told me she had been a good athlete, a decent golfer and tennis player.”

Amy recalls her teenage years: “I was still playing neighborhood football and doing all my…


Is Ernest Cline in search of God?

When I read the 2011 bestselling novel ‘Ready Player One’, I thought this author surely grew up Evangelical. He hates Evangelicals!

Ernest Cline’s narrator, Wade Watts, scorns all religion. He says: “The whole God thing is actually an ancient fairy tale that people have been telling one another for thousands of years.”

But I started to think Cline ditched one religion—to find another?

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portrait of Ernest Cline by Dustin Rader (2016)

He recalls his family was “very religious”

He doesn’t specify what religion it was, but the details are unmistakable. He recalls that his mother forbade the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. This is vintage Evangelicalism! In the 1980s, the religion was gripped by panic about demonism manifesting in rock music and fantasy.

The key narrative was the tragic tale of Patricia Pulling, whose son…


An Evangelical leader’s old comments come back to bite him

It must be weird to say the same hateful things you and everybody you know has said for years—then something’s changed?

Max Lucado, the bestselling Christian author, wasn’t controversial in 2004 when arguing against gay marriage as akin to pedophilia, incest and bestiality, while putting in a good word for reparative therapy.

It was just being Evangelical?

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His speech on February 7th, 2021 was just another publicity pit stop.

It was a video sermon hosted by Washington National Cathedral, and not that big of a deal? Except now, there was a Change.org petition to cancel the date—owing to his earlier anti-gay comments.

The Episcopal clergy at the church did a dance over the matter, agonizing over the speech, and allowing it.

Lucado issued a letter that backtracks from his previous self.

“LGBTQ individuals…


How do we “read” an Evangelical icon?

I didn’t begin to grasp the religion of my youth until reading queer theory. Evangelical Christianity is a bizarre array of sexual signs.

Consider Billy Graham’s finger.

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Every part of his body is theater of effects—his eyes, mouth, hair—but Billy Graham was the 20th century’s great finger pointer.

His finger accused the world of sin! But it was godlike. So many thousands came to “make a decision for Christ” at his famous rallies because they had been fingered.

Billy’s Christian story began with a traveling evangelist named Mordecai Ham pointing a finger. It’s in all the biographies. I’m reading a 1993 young adult biography, Billy Graham by Nathan Aaseng:

“He felt as though the finger of God was singling him out in front of all those people. Desperate to escape that terrible, accusing finger, he ducked behind a woman’s hat.”

A woman’s hat?

In…


The strange story of the Bezae Codex

When you grow up Christian, you’re often told the Bible exists in a single, nearly-perfect form.

Come to find out, that was absurdly inaccurate. But I love learning about the history of Christians dealing with Bible manuscripts that are ‘different’.

Back in church, they didn’t tell me about that either.

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Henrietta Mears’ queer life is coming into focus

Evangelicals have a lurking legend that few even knew about — the woman who helped launch their religion.

She’s called the “mother” of Evangelicalism, and recalled on occasion, mostly in reference to her ‘boys’ as she called them. There was Billy Graham, who credited her “remarkable influence” on him, as Bill Bright said “no one has influenced my life more than Dr. Mears.”

If the faith was to become more associated with these guys, it seems the beehive had a queen.

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Henrietta C. Mears (colorized)

Evangelicalism largely forgot her.

But scholars recalled an unusual woman had presided over a shift in American Protestantism after World War II—the time when the common identity of ‘Evangelical’ was forming.

Despite its usual public hostility to female leadership, as John…


Did the traditions get a few things wrong?

When I set out to learn about sex in the Bible, I kept saying: Can this be true? A God who really likes human sexuality?

In church, one tends to get a G-rated version. But Bible scholars evoke a text alive with sexual details. Here’s ten that got my attention.

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EisTraum, “Salvation” (2020)

1. The human body is divine!

In the Bible, humans resemble God. This is the meaning of the line in Genesis: “made in the image of God” (1:26–28; 5:1–3; 9:6).

Christian tradition often explains this as meaning humans can reason or think. Except the ‘image’ language, as David J.A. Clines notes, refers to “a three-dimensional object.”

Being the “image of God” means we look like God.

As Benjamin Sommer notes in a study of the subject: “The God of the Hebrew…


Does a Christian icon keep secrets?

At age fourteen she had ‘bad’ friends, especially a woman from whom, she wrote, “I learnt every kind of evil.” Alarmed at the relationship, her father forced her into a convent—a place for “girls like myself,” as she puts it, “although there were none there as depraved as I.”

Teresa of Ávila a.k.a. ‘Teresa of Jesus’, the Catholic saint who died in 1582, remains a global icon of sacred character, beloved across all Christianity. Her sexuality, for some reason, is not often discussed.

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“Teresa de Jesús” by Juan de la Miseria (1576)

Biographers aren’t sure what to do with Teresa’s confession of her teenage ways.

A 2019 academic biography by Carlos Eire has this:

“Teresa provides no details about these sins of…


Evangelicals are shaming a Hillsong pastor for having a hot Palestinian girlfriend. It’s their business?

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Scandal grips the Evangelical Christian world. It seems a pastor had a girlfriend. “He told me the most beautiful women come from the Middle East,” she says.

I’m putting together what’s known of the love story of Carl Lentz and Ranin Karim. A man falls in love with a beautiful Palestinian woman. Except for the part about him being white — it’s nearly biblical.

So what’s the problem? That he’s married? That she’s Muslim?

They met in Domino Park in Brooklyn, when he went up to talk to her.

He didn’t tell her he was a famous pastor at Hillsong, the well-known ‘hip’ megachurch. He was known throughout the usually stodgy Evangelical world for his unique appeal — sexy, fashion-conscious, Jesus-centered.

He told her he was a sports agent. He didn’t tell her he was married.

They began texting and FaceTiming, and…

𝘽𝙚𝙡𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧

Real facts, not “church facts.”

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