In the Beginning

This is another one of the books that has been sitting on my desk for longer than it should have. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support of

A few times a year our Sunday School teacher would sit us down and have us open our Bibles to Genesis and we would read two accounts of the creation of man, starting with Genesis 1:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  Genesis 1 KJV edition, emphasis mine

Genesis 1 was the correct story of man’s creation, Genesis 2 being the myth where man was made from mud and woman from man’s rib. In Christian Science Adam never awoke from his “dream” (when God put him under to make Eve), and that is why we perceive there to be in and suffering in the world.

I never got an answer on why God didn’t wake Adam up (so much easier to blame a talking snake and a woman), and I never got a firm answer on anyone in Christian Science about what I learned (or didn’t learn) in school about biology, evolution or creation science. I was allowed to drift and be influenced by a local Christian Radio station that regularly talked about the Grand Canyon as being evidence of Noah’s flood. I’ve since become pickier about my scientific sources, and more curious about other traditions’ creation mythologies.

As part of my goals to introduce my children to other religious and mythological traditions in a non-indoctrional way came across In the Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Barry Moser.

I’ve started reading some of these stories with the children and we’ve been talking about them.

The first story we read was The Pea-Pod Man, Raven the Creator where man emerges out of a pea-pod and meets Raven who can transmogrify into a humanoid and make little animals, and a companion woman for man, out of clay. Death does not enter this story, but little animals (and woman) out of mud do.

We also read about Death the Creator and Quat the Creator, both stories introduce death as being caused by some sort of stupidity. In Death the Creator, it is because the God Alatangana kidnaps Death’s daughter and marries her, and Death demands one of their children.

In Quat the Creator, Quat is one of twelve brothers born from the stone-mother Quatgoro. Quat was the eldest and he made little figures out of clay and danced life into them. One of Quat’s younger brothers, Tangaro the Fool, carved little figures out of wood, danced life into them, and then lost interest and buried them, about a week later he unburied them but they were stinky and rotten, so they had to be buried again. Because of Tangaro’s actions death entered the world.

There are more wonderful stories, including (but not limited to) First Man Becomes the Devil – Ulgen the Creator, Turtle Dives to the Bottom of the Sea – Earth Starter the Creator, Spider Anase finds Something – Wulbari the Creator, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky – Divine Woman the Creator, In the Beginning – Elohim the Creator.  The Frost Giant – Imir the Creator, The Sun-God and the Dragon – God Ra the Creator, First Man, First Woman – Yahweh the Creator. 

As we read, we talk about how these ancient cultures were trying to explain everything happening around them, and answer the big questions: where did we come from, why do we die, who or what created us, what is going on in our world. We are also noticing similarities in the stories — there is a lot of mud-building and stupidity.

Some of the stories are strange and dark, which makes sense, life is strange and there are dark moments that need to be explained. Where did we come from? We emerged out of a pea-pod! We were made from earthen or little mud figures (this is a popular one). How did death enter the world? Someone was foolish and buried little wooden people. Someone was disobedient and listened to a talking snake. Someone married Death’s Daughter without his permission.

In the Beginning is a wonderful resource to explore a wide range of creation stories. I highly recommend it for children and grownups of all ages who are curious about other culture’s creation stories, and in learning how our ancestors explored the answers to life’s big questions.


Each Mind a Kingdom

I know I said I was going on hiatus this summer, but this book was too good not to share before I get back into a regular posting routine again! This post contains some affiliate links. Thank you for your support of

I was first introduced to  Each Mind a Kingdom: American Women, Sexual Purity, and the New Thought Movement, 1875-1920 by Beryl Satter by a fellow former-CS. Her copy was was full of margin notes and post-its, and the back cover had high praise from Gillian Gill, who wrote one of Ms. Eddy’s authorized biographies.

Each Mind a Kingdom, firmly places Ms. Eddy in the historical context of the New Thought movement, as an undeniable student of Quimby, and inspiration for several prominent New Thought leaders (aka renegade students), one of whom, Emma Curtis Hopkins, went on to inspire a much larger group of prominent individuals in the New Thought movement.

Satter touches on Ms. Eddy’s control of the Christian Science “brand” through copyright and church structure, verses the New Thought movement’s lack of organized framework, and popular teachers having their own followings/ideas. When you think of Christian Science, you think of Ms. Eddy, when you think of New Thought there are nearly a dozen big names who have influenced the movement over the years, each adding their own interpretations and ideas to the mix.

Each Mind a Kingdom, is a dense read, heavy on the historical and sociological aspects of the New Thought movement. It also addresses the evolution of the New Thought ideas from Quimby, through his primary students: Dresser, Eddy and Evans, and their students, and so on, as they are modified, re-worked, and shared.

Satter discusses the social and economic conditions in which these ideas began, and why they were popular with white, upper and middle class women. New Thought provided women a platform with which to make, among other things, social reforms, and economic opportunities through income from faith healing, lectures, pamphlets, and teaching.

I highly recommend Each Mind a Kingdom for anyone who is interested in the origins of Ms. Eddy’s and New Thought ideas, as well as the broader context in which Ms. Eddy began her religion.

Parenting Beyond Our Past: A Resource Guide

Very glad to have found this resource guide! I’ve already read How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk and Siblings Without Rivalry and found them to be helpful. Look forward to exploring the other things listed as well!

Homeschoolers Anonymous

Simple Things

Photo Credit: Darcy Anne

“Train up a child in the way he should go……”

I have yet to meet a religious homeschooler who can’t finish that scripture from memory. If you’re like me, you grew up in a very authoritarian, punitive family environment. Punishment and pain, both physical and emotional, were believed to be the best means to teach a child “the way he should go”. Spanking and instant, cheerful obedience to authority were the norm, with many other kinds of punishments used as retribution for a child’s wrong-doing. Parents were the ultimate authority, and children had no choice but to obey or be punished, sometimes very harshly. I honestly didn’t know there were any other ways to parent. Either you spanked and “trained” your children, or you let them run wild and that meant you didn’t love them.

We were the generation influenced by “child training” teachers like the

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Raising Freethinkers

This is another one of the books that has been sitting on my desk for longer than it should have. This post contains some affiliate links. Thank you for your support of

After reading through Parenting Beyond Belief, I got my hands on the follow-up book, Raising Freethinkers. If you have children (or are thinking about having children), and you have not read these books, go do so now.

I really wish this book had been around in the 1980s when I was growing up, that my parents had read it, and acted on it. I was regularly sent the message that thinking is great, exploring other religious views is fine, questioning is wonderful, but at the end of the day Christian Science is the One True Religion (TM), and the only reason to pay attention in a science class is because you need to get good grades — because for some reason good grades are important in a world mired in the Adam Dream. I digress.

Raising Freethinkers is the follow up book to Parenting Beyond Belief, it is the “practical guide” and a gimmicky green faux-sticker boasts that it includes “more than 100 activities” (aka ways to encourage thought). It also includes pages of resources at the end of each chapter, with extensive lists and summaries of books, movies, websites, blogs, and organizations offering insight, advice, guidance, facts, and support. These alone make it worth the shelf-space.

There are nine chapters, an introduction and appendices. The chapters are done with a brief introduction followed by a Q&A style series of questions relating to the topic at hand. I found it to be a quick read, and there are little colored flags for areas I plan to go back and re-read when they relate more to situations that arise.

Chapters one and two deal with encouraging the inquiring mind, and introducing ethics, and yes, you can be ethical without God getting involved. Chapter two also discusses humanist discipline, which focuses on the “Five Es” exampleexplanation, encouragement, empathy, and engagement.

I’ve throughly tagged Chapter 3: Secular Family, Religious World which discusses the importance of religious literacy — the four main reasons are

  1. To understand the world
  2. To be empowered
  3. To make truly informed decisions
  4. To avoid the “teen epiphany”

Religious literacy is also important because they are going to have to interact with people who hold different beliefs, and I want to protect them from, not from all religion experience and information, but what the author of this chapter, Jan Devor terms “an emotional hijacking that interferes with their own reasoned decision making.” I’m going to use the resource guide and check out some of the basic-overview books on religion they recommend, because I’m not as literate on religion as I’d like to be.

Another chapter I know I will return to is Chapter 4: The Physical Self. This chapter really stood out as what was completely missing from my Christian Science upbringing. On p. 100 the question What are the basic humanist principles related to the body? The answer is about as far from the one I was given in Christian Science as possible:

  1. Health and safety come first.
  2. Our bodies are good and natural.

The author of the chapter, Amanda Metskas goes on to elaborate on these points, while my brain sits boggling at those concepts — in Christian Science accidents are unknown to God and we are always safe in God’s loving care. Man is spiritual, not material. I could pull out more CS-platitudes, but if you’ve read this blog (or were raised in Christian Science) you could probably come up with a few dozen more without too much effort.

Not needing to feel ashamed about one’s body is huge, being honest (and age-appropriate) with children about bodily functions, reproduction, etc. is important. My parents never really talked to me about sex, the over-arching message I got was my body was icky, sex was to be avoided until marriage, then submit in marriage, because if you husband isn’t happy he’ll go somewhere else. Sexual submission was not Ms. Eddy’s take on the issue, her views were differently messed up.

Chapters five and six talk about a life worth living and celebrations, while chapter seven discusses life and death. Chapter eight examines the human need for community — something we continue to strive for, and chapter nine is a “grab bag” of ideas that didn’t seem to fit anywhere else.

I highly recommend both Parenting Beyond Belief and Raising Freethinkers for anyone who is raising or interacting with children on a regular basis. We should focus on educating our children so they can make their own decisions, not indoctrinating them.

Thoughts On The End

Everyone should read this post. Yes, this is an uncomfortable topic, but it is very important, and Emerging Gently has done an excellent job handling the subject!

Emerging Gently

I’ve recently had a dialogue with a reader regarding a recent post. My friend is a Christian Scientist, while I, obviously, am not. The discussion centred somewhat around end-of-life issues, and it’s prompted me to think about this rather uncomfortable subject.

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Inspiration Link Dump (1) – a bit of everything

Every now and then I get inspired to research a topic and then when I get around to writing the blog post the inspiration flees, leaving me with a post of links and background information that is unlikely to ever make it onto a blog post. I’d like to change that, so I’m going to start posting “Inspiration Link Dumps” of things that I looked into, but never got around to writing about further. Perhaps you’ll find something informative or interesting.

Hopefully all of these links still work. Apologies if they have changed. Some of these resources may be more scholarly than others. 

Conscientious Objectors 

Cross & Crown

Free Masons

Nicene Creed


Spindrift Research

Resources: Religious Exemptions & Christian Science

For a more comprehensive overview of damage caused Christian Science treatment and religious exemptions, please see  Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD), which has a list of situations where Christian Science (among others) has fought for religious exemptions, often with fatal consequences.

More from CHILD on Religious Exemptions From Parental Duties Of Care

Christian Science is quite efficient at government lobbying, see for more resources