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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From the Mind of an 8-year-old: ‘Who Made Up God?’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 18, 2014

My daughter is on her rope swing, looking out into the blue sky just beyond the fence line of our front yard. She is thinking quietly. And deeply, as it turns out. “Who made up God?” she asks. “What?” I say. Because I am inside and can barely hear her. “Who made up God?” she asks again. I walk to the open door, pondering the question. It sounds as though she might expect me to name someone — an actual person responsible for the creation of this great character that she’s heard so much about. “Quentin Tarantino,” […] Read more – ‘From the Mind of an 8-year-old: ‘Who Made Up God?’’.

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“Mommy, What’s Satan?”

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 10, 2014

Of all the religious concepts that I’ve discussed with my 8-year-old daughter, Satan has been one of the toughest — partly because it seems awkward to speak of something so nasty and awful in a matter-of-fact way. But that’s precisely what makes it a great addition to “Mommy, What’s That?” a new series I launched last week, where you can find simple, straightforward and age-appropriate language to explain religious ideas to children in a non-religious way. So here goes. Satan: The short answer: Satan is the “bad guy” in the Bible. The long answer: In […] Read more – ‘“Mommy, What’s Satan?”’.

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“Mommy, What’s an Angel?”

By Wendy Thomas Russell | February 3, 2014

Shortly before Christmas, I got a text from a friend: “What’s an angel?” she wrote. How do I explain this to a 3yo from an agnostic POV? I told him I had to get back to him! In mixed-faith and non-faith families, the simplest questions can jam up our thinking. Even the most straightforward answers can cause massive confusion. “According to the dictionary, honey, angels are spiritual beings believed to act as a messengers of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings, a halo and long robes.” Um, like, no. At the same time, […] Read more – ‘“Mommy, What’s an Angel?”’.

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Talking About Belief With Kids: When Logic Threatens to Overshadow Kindness

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 27, 2014

My daughter, Maxine, is 8 years old and really getting the hang of logic these days. If A is true, then B must be true. If you believe A, you must believe B. If A doesn’t exist… You get the drift. Anyway, Maxine’s little cousin Jack  (4) is very into the movie Frozen right now, particularly the character of Elsa, the snow queen. Recently, when chatting about beliefs, he told his mom, “I believe in Elsa” — which is so cute it makes my heart hurt. But when I told Maxine about Jack’s statement, she immediately […] Read more – ‘Talking About Belief With Kids: When Logic Threatens to Overshadow Kindness’.

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Four Poignant Minutes from ‘This American Life’

By Wendy Thomas Russell | January 20, 2014

In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, do yourself a favor and listen to the following four-minute clip from This American Life, Episode #188. The entire episode, which centers on children using “perfectly logical arguments and arriving and perfectly wrong conclusions,” is titled Kid Logic. It originally aired in June 2001 and has been making its rounds ever since because it’s just. that. good. If you haven’t heard it, and hopefully you already have, be prepared. It might may you cry. It will definitely make you think. (Among Kid Logic’s other highlights is the hilarious and adorable story of […] Read more – ‘Four Poignant Minutes from ‘This American Life’’.

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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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