Browsing Tag

Girl at the End of the World


"Girl at the End of the World" by Elizabeth Esther

girl at the end of the world

I started reading Elizabeth Esther’s blog around this time last year. I don’t remember how I found her– probably by following a long trail of link-crumbs– but the second I stumbled into her talking about Michael and Debi Pearl and Victoria’s Secret panties, I was hooked. When I found out that she was writing a book, I knew I wanted it. When I found out that she was writing about her “escape from fundamentalism in search of faith with a future,” I knew it would be a book I’d need to read.

I was right.

I got it in the mail a few weeks ago, and I finished it by that night because I couldn’t put it down. Handsome (my partner) would try to ask me a question and I would just make a shushing motion and then read him a quote, mostly because I wanted to start running through the streets reading it out loud, but that would be crazy.

Fortunately, I have a blog, and I can run through the internet’s streets shouting about this book.

There were so many moments when I had to stop and cry because all I could think was I’ve been there, I know this, I know what this is like, this is what it’s like SOMEONE KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE.

When she described Sister Kathleen I thought of one of the women in my church-cult. She was bright, and vivacious, and she laughed as loud and as free as she wanted. She did her hair in fancy up-dos. She wore makeup. She came to church once wearing a slightly-shorter-than-knee-length chiffon skirt that scandalized the 12-year-old version of me, and yet . . . I wanted to be her. She was bright and lovely. She was my Kathleen.

She told of how she started seeing boys for the first time, the first time she had a crush, the first time she fell in love, and I remembered sitting in the Palm’s Grille with my first ever crush and he’s promising to write me letters and my heart is turning over in my chest because a boy just promised to write me letters, oh, what does this mean, could he be the one, no, don’t think about that you can’t give your heart away like this.

Then she talks about how her father forced her to resign from the positions she’d earned at school, and my heart stops. And I start crying. Because I know that feeling. I know the weight of that boulder crushing my chest. I wish it wasn’t something I could understand, but oh I do.

That is what Elizabeth captured. She took all those moments– all the heart-thrilling, heart-shattering moments– and wrapped them up in a book. She wrote a book about what she went through, but it is also a book about what we went through. There are burning-bright memories in the minds of every child who grew up in cultish fundamentalism, and they are so bright we flinch away from them, so gharishly vivid we don’t know how to put them into words.

She gave that to us. She gave us the words.

But the most wonderfully beautiful thing about what she’s written is that it isn’t just a book for us. I believe it could be powerful and healing for many of us, but it’s also for the not-us.

I’m looking across the living room at my partner as I read it, at my wonderful partner who loves me but doesn’t understand. It’s good that he doesn’t know this, that he doesn’t have to carry this, but there are times when he looks at me and his eyes are sad because I am at the dining room table trying to eat a grilled cheese sandwich and I can’t because I’m sobbing into my tomato soup because the pastor made a joke about spanking infants in the sermon that morning and all I can see are terrified baby eyes staring at me.

If you care about someone who grew up in a spiritually abusive church and you didn’t– you need to read this book. It’ll show you the way things probably were for them.

If you’re a pastor, you need to read this book, because it will open up an entire world of hurt and suffering and pain that is mind-bendingly difficult to understand unless you’ve been there. Elizabeth will take you there.

And she’ll show all of us what it looks like on the other side. The still-hurting, still-healing side, but also the getting better side.

Feminism, Social Issues, Theology

link love and sundry things

chain link
Demakersvan makes “chain link lace.” Pretty cool, no?

So, I am neck deep in drafting my article on PCC. Two major online news sources are interested in looking at drafts, which is promising. If they decide, ultimately, not to run it, I do have a few back-up plans.

But, this article is eating up most of my emotional energy, so you might not see posts from me for a few days. I’m going to try to share links that you haven’t already read, and I’d love to see your recommendations in the comments! I get a little annoyed when the articles that get shared in a lot of the more recognizable blogs are all from other recognizable bloggers (probably because I’m never on them… boo hoo hoo, woe is me), so I’m going to do my best to share stuff that I think is genuinely neat, and hopefully from “smaller” blogs. We all deserve the link love.


The Moon and I” by Beth Morey

“The barely there silver crescent cups her remainder, visible although it is cloaked in our cosmic shadow. She barely lights the sky, but I feel bathed in Holy.

I think it has to do with cycles, and with mystery. Because, as a woman, there is so much of my being that is cyclical, although it’s only recently that I’ve been able to come to terms with that reality.”

Worse than a Wardrobe Malfunction” by Dr. Matthew Towles (one of my professors at Liberty, and who introduced me to the concept of the “American Myth”)

“In a country where instances of sexual assault number in the millions, Christians should be front-and-center when it comes to recognizing it in order to fight it. We should be more vocal. We should be more active. Ten years ago, we missed the opportunity to refocus the attention away from Janet Jackson’s boob and onto a real epidemic that is common to America — inside the Church and out.”


Stop the Abuse of Children in the Fashion Industry” by Jennifer Sky

“I am calling for the creation of an action committee to define and enforce labor protects in the fashion industry. 54% of models begin working on or before the age of sixteen. With the global clothing and textiles industry now generating upward of 2.5 trillion dollars a year, fashion can afford to offer positive work environments for their models. Please join me in helping to improve the labor conditions for these young workers.”

Ranting about Books” by Hank Green at vlogbrothers


Dare Mighty Things: Mapping the Challenges of Leadership for Christian Women by Halee Gray Scott— this book came out yesterday, and I’m excited about getting to read it. Curious about how she argues her case.

Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther– this book is not even out yet, but I am bouncing-out-my-seat excited about it. I’m absolutely positive it’s going to be fantastic.

Benefit of the Doubt by Gregory Boyd– I am about halfway through this one, and it’s a book that I am convinced every single last Christian needs to read.

Share whatever you’d like in the comments!