Last Call!

By Wendy Thomas Russell | July 15, 2014

Big news! I finished my book! Relax, It’s Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids About Religion When You’re Not Religious is slated for release Jan. 6, 2015 — just in time to not be given out as Christmas gifts. What timing! I’m super excited, and grateful to all of you who have stuck with me all this time. How did four years go by? Jesus Christ. My kid is old now. I’ll be updating you as regularly as I can, but in the meantime, let this serve as last call: If you’d like something specifically to […] Read more – ‘Last Call!’.

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When the ‘Best’ School is a Religious School

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 29, 2014

This is an issue that comes up a lot in secular families. (So much so that I’m not sure why I’ve not written about it sooner.) In so many areas of our country, religious organizations have cornered the preschool market. (I remember when I was school-shopping for my daughter, religious preschools outnumbered Montessori-based programs 5-to-1.) Which brings me to a letter I received recently from a reader who lives in the Chattanooga area — not exactly the country’s secular epicenter. Not surprisingly, the most convenient, affordable and trustworthy preschool in her area is at a Baptist […] Read more – ‘When the ‘Best’ School is a Religious School’.

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“Mommy, What’s Confession?”

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 22, 2014

Last week, I gave you some simple language with which to explain Catechism in a non-religious way. Today, because it’s sort of related, we’ll tackle one of the specific rites of passage taught at CCD: Confession.  First, let me say this, rites of passage are massively important parts of organized religion. Without rites, there would be nothing to be affiliated with, nothing to conform to, nothing to hold a group together. Beliefs are important, too — don’t get me wrong! — but beliefs are more like the foundation. Customs are the framework. They make religion religion, rather than […] Read more – ‘“Mommy, What’s Confession?”’.

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“Mommy, What’s Catechism?”

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 15, 2014

This segment of “Mommy, What’s That?” — a series where you can find simple, straightforward and age-appropriate language to explain religious ideas to children in non-religious ways — comes courtesy of a reader, Chris. Chris told me that some of his daughter’s friends are in CCD — short for the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine AKA “Catechism” — and he is having a little trouble coming up with the language to explain it to his little one. If you don’t know already, CCD is basically Catholic instruction for kids who attend secular schools. It’s meant to 1) teach about […] Read more – ‘“Mommy, What’s Catechism?”’.

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Quick! What the Hell is Vesak Day?

By Wendy Thomas Russell | May 14, 2014

Man, I loves me some Buddhism. It’s all just so common sensical. By following even one tenant in the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path — or at least trying — you are almost guaranteed to improve your life. If the Buddha were alive today, I’m certain he would be a self-help guru. He’d make a damn good one, too. Although Buddhism is unlike any other religion (in that you don’t need to believe in a deity at all), it’s still got some of the classic markers, and the celebration of holidays is one of them. So here’s […] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Vesak Day?’.

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My Kid’s New (And Adorably Diplomatic) Theory of Evolution

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 22, 2014

My daughter has this tendency to go all existentialist on me while riding in the car. I’m not sure what it is about this particular setting that motivates these sorts of talks. Is it sitting still with nothing else to do? Is it gazing up at the sky? Do all kids do this? Anyway, the other day, while driving Maxine and one of her friends to the pool, I listened as the two struck up a conversation about God. I can’t remember how it started (I didn’t turn on the voice recorder until later), but […] Read more – ‘My Kid’s New (And Adorably Diplomatic) Theory of Evolution’.

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5 Reasons to ‘Design Your Own Deity’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 7, 2014

When I first found this “Design Your Own Deity” magnetic play set, I was a little pissed at you. Yes, you. All 15 of you. Because if you guys would have just TOLD me that this existed, I would not have been forced to find it, completely randomly, behind a bunch of other cheese-ball stuff at a warehouse-sized gift emporium in Palm Springs this weekend. “Seriously,” I thought, holding this priceless* item in my hands and trying to conjure each of your 15 faces. “Do you guys even know me anymore? There is literally nothing I […] Read more – ‘5 Reasons to ‘Design Your Own Deity’’.

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It’s a Gift from God, Y’all

By Wendy Thomas Russell | April 3, 2014

Want to know what the Bible says but don’t want to read the damn thing? Yeah, you’re not alone. But Good News! In his newly published book, God is Disappointed in You, author Mark Russell has managed to rewrite the Bible—in all its crazy glory—the way you and I and, frankly, anyone under age 80 would rather read it. While completely accurate, Russell uses layman’s terms, contemporary metaphors, well-appointed slang and plenty of profanity to liven things up. And the best part? It’s short. Like short-short. Like, the entire 2,000-page Bible is condensed into 192 pages. And that […] Read more – ‘It’s a Gift from God, Y’all’.

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That is Called Dying (More or Less)

By Wendy Thomas Russell | March 24, 2014

I’ve written reams about how to talk with children about death without resorting to religious imagery. My daughter nails it in a single sentence. I’m beginning to think I’m no longer needed here. Read more – ‘That is Called Dying (More or Less)’.

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Quick! What the Hell is Ash Wednesday?

By admin | March 5, 2014

So much of religion centers on food. The faithful, it seems, are constantly feasting or fasting. Indulging or holding back. In Christianity, this feasting-fasting cycle is never more apparent than during the Easter season, which kicks off with Mardi Gras (feasting!), followed by Lent (fasting!), which finally — and mercifully — culminates in Easter (feasting again!) Yesterday was Mardi Gras (AKA Fat Tuesday) — which means New Orleans had one hell of a street party. Many Catholics were getting their  ya-ya’s out because today is the beginning of Lent (AKA Ash Wednesday) — the day that millions of […] Read more – ‘Quick! What the Hell is Ash Wednesday?’.

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Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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