CDW Gets Committed!

February 11th, 2010

I was very anxious to read Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Committed, because I loved her last book, Eat, Pray, Love.  My old songwriting buddy, Forrest Whitlow, had emailed me about Eat, Pray, Love and it was so unusual to hear from Forrest that I charged right out and bought the book. And I loved it! More than once, while reading that book, I actually had to put the book down and sob for five or six minutes at a time.  Then I would pull myself back together and read a few more pages, stop, sob, pull self together, read a few more pages, stop, sob, pull self together, etc,etc…

I don’t really know why I had such a visceral reaction to Eat, Pray, Love, except that it offered up a picture of god that was so refreshing.  Gilbert’s idea of religion is basically – love life, enjoy life, love people, enjoy people, meditate, help and eat lots of good food.  I could deal with this god.  This god was sending no one to hell. This god loved everyone.  No, really loved everyone and not just the ones that believed in a specific version of a specific creed. This god was about making the most out of what you had, having adventures, being curious, seeking truth, making friends, pizza, ice-cream and sex on the beach.  I could totally deal with this god.

If I could only find that god in christianity, I might never have left.  But that god wasn’t to be found in christianity, so I moved onto atheism. Which is nice because now I can make the most out of what I have, have adventures, be curious, seek truth, make friends, eat pizza and ice cream while having sex on the beach without god!  Which is good, because with god would be kind of awkward.

When Committed came out, I snapped it up.  It’s a good book – a quick read.  Gilbert wrote a lot about the history of marriage and how different cultures approach it.  These stories were the most interesting parts of the book for me.  She also wrote a lot about her own impending nuptials which involves her ‘then boyfriend’ getting deported and how she had to decide if she could face down marriage again to get him back after her disastrous first go-round and subsequent painful divorce.   Committed is no Eat, Pray, Love. I did not break down and sob a dozen times nor even blink back a single tear, but I did enjoy the book.  Which is part of Gilbert’s manifesto on god and part of my manifesto on atheism.  I may have to add it as an eleventh commandment.

Thou Shalt Enjoy Good Books!


  • I’d love a chance to win a book! While here in NYC please don’t miss taking him to Serendipity and, if he’s interested, my sister’s store The Original NY Firestore Have a great time when you’re here!

  • Jaime:

    I love your new outlook…maybe you’ll be less cranky.
    p.s. I can tell by the photo that you could use a good manicure at the day spa :)

  • Ann:

    I also loved E,P,L—so sign me up for Committed. RE: NYC- my boys loved the Blue Man Group @ the Astor Theatre. Husband and I also really enjoyed it-smart, energetic, playful. What kind of food experience are you looking for: dimsum? thai? indian?

  • priscilla:

    If he’s never been, the Museum of Natural History.

  • I, who until recently, could not legally marry, have always wondered why those who could, ie str8 people, thought it was such a bad idea.(On in the days where it meant the woman was OWNED, I get that!).
    John and I will marry and by the time the big comes we will have been committed to eachother for 31years already (29 this year).
    Still, I doubt the author was thinking of us when she wrote her book.

  • Patricia:

    Thanks for the chance of winning the book !

    Sorry to say – I’ve only been to NYC one time in my life ! The thing I enjoyed the most was seeing a broadway show – but I have heard other people say that Serendipity shouldn’t be missed – especially the frozen hot chocolate ! HAVE FUN !!

  • Terri:

    I loved Eat, Pray, Love.
    Have fun in all the NY snow!

  • km:

    My kids love-
    Grand Central. Wait to see the light show of twinkling stars . It goes off every 15 mins or so. And look carefully at the ceiling to find the very black spot that they left when restoring the place. It shows how awesome the restoration is.Downstairs has some cute food too!
    The Metropolitan Museum- Egyptian mummies, knights, art, sculpture. It’s awesome.
    Serendipity- yummy
    Les Sans Culottes for a reasonable and delicious meal
    Chinatown, eat noodles slurpily, short walk to Little Italy for dessert.
    The trade center. Because it’s important.
    Ellis Island, though it may be a bit chilly getting there.
    I am about 1 1/2 hr away but I lived there for years. My kids are 10 and 5. (They also like to hit ToysRUs in Times Square)

  • Ruth:

    I second the American Museum of Natural History. They have dinosaur skeletons, a giant blue whale suspended from the ceiling, a great planetarium and a tropical butterfuly garden. It is a little pricey, but all museums are in NYC. Have a great trip.

  • MisterGee:

    Washington Square Park is a place you and your son might enjoy. I was there when the police came and rid the park of “beatniks” . I was not a beatnik. I was there one time about thirty years later and the police came again to arrest the hippies. None of that worked. The beatniks became the hippies and now and then there was lots of “street” theater. It is a wonderful place to grab a couple of hours observing life in the village. Uptown, you should visti a serene place called St. John’s Cathedral, It is on the westside, near Columbia University. A place of magnifent art and crafts. A gothic cathedral still under construction. The Guggenheim, MOMA the museum of modern art are both worth as much time as you can make available.
    Don’t worry about sending me a book——–I am going to buy them the next time I go to town.

  • Darla (McIntosh) Schmalzried:

    Dear Ms. Palin: I’m trying to read the notes on your hand. Does it say “nip tuck”? :)

  • Amy:

    This looks like the book for me. I’ve been having trouble with committed relationships ever since my divorce 11 years ago!

    NYC: I reccommend buying tickets for the double decker buses. You can hop on and off all day and they take you all over the city, and they tell you all about the history. It’s fun and better than cabs or walking.

  • LucyGolden:

    I would love to win the book, but I think Colin deserves it more…

    Congratulations Colin, on your upcoming nuptuals!

  • M.R.:

    I love the Cloisters!

  • I just asked my own 14 yo boy where he would recommend going in NYC. In order: Central Park (if it’s clear enough, try looking for Belvedere Castle), Empire State Building, Museum of Natural History. The Met is also very cool, as is a Broadway show. Have a wonderful time — I think this age is really well suited to some one on one time.

  • I found your blog and started to go through and found it interesting and enjoyable to read. I’ve had my own journey out of religion, some painful, some joyous, all worth it. I look forward to returning and see how things continue to go. Thanks for your writing your story!

  • I haven’t read Eat, Pray, Love, but I read the review of this book in the New Yorker and (as someone who can get married but isn’t really sure why I should [besides financial/legal reasons] as I’m in a very committed relationship anyway and don’t really need the approval of Society to validate it) was very intrigued.
    I’d love to win it!

  • Priss:

    One of my daughters lives in NY and highly recommends the macaroni and cheese pancakes at Shopsin’s. She says they’re great. This book review might get you interested in Shopsin’s as well:

  • Darla – Ha ha! No – it says ‘ship Wii’ – We sold our Wii on Ebay. The boys want a new game system and I agreed if they sold their old one. They almost died when I forgot to ship it on Monday as their money for the new system is tied up in the sale of the Wii. So I wrote it on my hand to calm them down. Poor desperate tykes.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    West Coast girl here – never been to NYC, but it’s on the list. I love sitting here taking notes on real people’s recommendations – beauty of the Internet. Have fun!

  • Amy in Atlanta:

    I am not reading anything right now and would love to read this book!

  • Nadine-I see marriage, apart from the commitment and love, to be about security. No one can keep me from John’s death bed, should that happen. No one can bar me from his funeral. I would be entitled to a ‘widows’ pension. And of course vice versa. All sorts of things that str8 people take for granted. I don’t see marriage as anything to do with anyone’s approval but with protection under the law. I’d have thought the same protection is on offer to str8 people and children of such marriages. I certainly know the crap non married str8 couples have had to endure upon the death of one of them. An added incentive in my case is that the right to be treated equally has been fought long and hard and we therefore feel we ought to honour that by marrying. It is still an amazing thing to us.

  • Sure, put my name in the hat, too. You are using a hat, right? I mean, it’s traditional!

  • PaulieY:

    On my way to find Eat, Pray, Love. Would love a chance to win the book. I’ve never been to NY so can’t recommend anything but am looking forward to seeing it through your eyes!

  • Kate:

    Take him to see the Tino Seghal show at the Guggenheim. The other museums are great too, but this is a really unique show I think you might enjoy. Research restaurants ahead of time depending on what you like; there are a huge number of great burger places that he might enjoy (try Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien). It’s cold here, so dress warm!

  • Stupid Idea:

    I’m a relatively new reader and an atheist. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blog and am glad you have not been scared off by the negative comments.

    As for NYC, we really enjoyed the Museum of Natural History; spent probably 6 hours there. We also saw Spamalot. Times Square late at night was a lot of fun too.

  • Sounds like my kind of book, throw me in!

    If I was going to NYC, I’d hit up a good deli (like the Stage) for a serious Ruben and half done pickle.


  • Vickie:

    I have two quick questions for you:
    Didn’t your ex-God love everyone, despite their shortcomings? (Mine does)
    And don’t you want SOME people to go the hell- like child molesters, murderers- you know- people like that?

  • Free books are my favorite genre. Now as for New York City, I ain’t never been but I’ve heard you should avoid the salsa. Hope that helps!

  • Vickie -

    I won’t speak for our host, but…

    1. In theory, yes, but in practice that’s not what I see; the doctrine of Hell as it is commonly presented would seem to contradict the claim that God loves everyone. (I am aware of the counter-arguments, but I don’t find them especially convincing.)

    2. Honestly, I’d rather see them redeemed than tortured.

    I’m sure everyone will have their own opinions, and mine are offered with the usual caveats: nobody need agree, your mileage my vary, offer not valid outside the continental U.S., etc.

  • A nice lady in Boston:

    Sounds like my kind of book too!

    While you are there, if you are into gluttony (maybe not since as of recent developments you won’t ever be visiting Canto 6…), visit Zabars and stock up on deli treats!

  • MoMA. Period.

  • I second Blue Man Group and the deli, the sandwiches look out of this world!

  • Oh, yes please… my mouth is watering at the thought of this book… If I win it, I’ll even go out and buy Eat, Love, Pray – coz I’m the only person on the planet who hasn’t read it yet! BTW, go out to – she gave a great TED lecture that you can find there.

    WHat shouldn’t you miss in New York? Well, having fun… cranky cab drivers and a helicopter ride around the Statue of Liberty.

  • Eat Pray and Love came to me when I needed it. I was in a dark place and it helped me see that I was not alone, well that and 4000 other bloggers going through similar stuff. I have her other book Stern Men on my “to read” table. As soon as I finish What the Dog Saw I’m reading it.

    Oh and I thought maybe the Christian Homeschoolers had kidnapped you and put you in the looney bin.

  • Gwelf:

    If no one mentioned it yet, the Tim Burton exhibit at the moma was really cool.

  • I have been to NYC half a dozen times and my absolute favorite thing is Ellis Island. I know that sounds nerdy and boring, but it is a great place to visit. The set up is really nice, and it really gets to you, even if your family did not come to the country via that route. It is really incredible, and it a glimpse into an incredibly important part of our country’s history. It also might be pretty education, especially for your son, considering the current debates about immigration.

    When I went there, I got off the ferry at the Statue of Liberty but opted not to join the 3 hour line to go to the top. Instead I walked around a little, took some pictures and had a bite to eat. Then I headed to Ellis Island, and I was SO GLAD I opted out of the Statue and decided instead to spend most of my time at Ellis Island. In fact, I feel like I didn’t have enough time, and one day I will definitely go back. It is always my number one recommendation.

    Of course, this weekend it’s going to be quite chilly. Most of what you want to see at Ellis Island is indoors, but as someone else mentioned, it will probably be quite chilly getting there!

    Have fun!

  • Donna M.:

    Whoo Hoo!! I LOVE a great book!!! Eat, Pray, Love is on my list of books to read this year. Looks like I may need to add another! Love your blog, Love your honesty, Love your outlook on life. Be true to who you are and don’t let anyone make you feel bad for that. Hugs!! ~ Donna

  • Kathy from NJ:

    I live approx 20 miles W of the Lincoln Tunnel. How often do I visit NYC? Maybe once every 10 years (or less). Please try to see a Broadway show – there is a place where you can stand in line for 1/2 price tickets (ask at your hotel). Even half price is $$$$$ but worth it.

  • Kristin:

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art is amazing. MoMA left me cold, but that was before they remodeled. Maybe it’s worth a trip now. After our last trip to NY, my kids made us promise to let them spend a day just playing in Central Park next time. Unfortunately I don’t know if that’d be possible by the weekend, but your son is probably too old to want that anyway. My dad just HAD to go to the WTC site, but it didn’t do anything for the rest of us. Of course we aren’t big on visiting people’s graves either. If that sort of thing is meaningful to you, perhaps a Ground Zero visit would be in order.

  • CilleyGirl:

    Rechelle, last night I saw on the signboard for the church down the street says “Lord save me from your followers” and I thought of you :) And also when I saw a sign at a different church this morning that says “Not a rearview mirror.” That one, I don’t get. Must be part of that special secret god handshake thing.

  • I would love to read this book!

  • Beth:

    I hesitate to recommend this, being a Bostonian and worshipper at the shrine of Fenway, but the behind-the-scenes tour at Yankee Stadium is very cool. As is the behind-the-scenes tour at Radio City Music Hall. Ice skating at Rockefeller Center is pretty neat – it is so much smaller in person! who knew!
    Riding the subway and buying sketchy stuff from street vendors is part of the whole experience, the Sony store interesting too.
    …on another note, went to Japan for three weeks this summer to visit my son who was studying there for a year, and it was the very first place I’d ever been in my limited life which does not subscribe to that whole Judeo-Christian thing. Despite all the shrines and temples, no one really believes all that religion crap – it was mind-blowing. Imagine, a world where no one has a conversion experience and needs to tell everyone about it, where God is not watching you, where if you are kind to others, it’s because you want to be kind and not because you have to be. I met 5% of the country’s Quakers (8/160), saw .5% of the golden eagle population and nearly starved trying to be a vegetarian (sigh. tofu is only served at homes, not restaurants). Put it on the shortlist of places to visit in your lifetime – Hiroshima was simply incredible, and the Atom Bomb survivors are desperate to talk with you before their lives end – it was a warm and welcoming city to visit as well.

  • Stacia:

    Loved E,P,L and have been anxious to read this one to hear her take on the marriage thing. My “husband” and I have each been through our own marriage/divorce cycle and see no need to legally prove that we are committed to each other. Besides, I need to serve as an example to my young Baptist nieces that yes, you can indeed live in sin, be atheist and childless and (gasp!) still be happy.

  • Jennifer:

    I live in Brooklyn, so I say go to Brooklyn! My best recommendation is to think about what you’ve always desired to do in NYC, and do it. Because I never want to steer people away from what they always dreamed of.
    That said, I always want people to walk more. See a museum (the Met is roughly opposite the Museum of Nat. Hist.) then walk through the park and down into midtown to window shop at Tiffany’s and see Rock Center. Then walk to Times Square and check it out because it’s great for kids to see it. Then please get out of mid-town and walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and see Manhattan from Brooklyn.
    On thing I did in Manhattan with my son that was amazing, was the Tenement Museum (Lower East Side where you can go to Katz’s Deli). You MUST get tickets in advance (easy online) but worth it for the history you take away with you. It’s sort of like a single-building, urban version of Old Williamsburg. Eye opening.

    Just stroll and enjoy. And eat!!

  • Vickie-your post i sodd. You say your God loves everyone despite their shortcomings and then you go on to say the types of people you think should go to Hell. You disagree with your God then, huh? You only want forgiveness for yourself and those you approve of.
    Speaking as someone who was used as a sex toy and punch bag for adults for 16 years from birth to 16, I have never wanted anything other than rehabilitation. IF there were God then Her love would also encompass those who harmed me and they would be healed too. What you suggest, and your unambiguous attitude to people, does nothing at all to help anyone, least of all others like me who are still suffering.

  • fargogirl:

    Hi Rechelle! Thanks for doing the giveaway!
    I have to say, my favorite thing about being in NYC is just walking around and seeing where the sidewalk takes you. Although, I don’t know how awesome the walking weather will be when you’re there.
    Otherwise, Central Park is fantastic. And if you go there, make sure to stop in the Plaza and use the bathroom.

  • LiteraryOne:

    NYC!!! wow….I have never been there, but the first place I would want to see would be Ellis Island, then statue of Liberty and then FAO Shwartz(?) oh and Dlyan’s candy shop!! Then I would be looking for seious food!!!

    Put my name in teh hat for the book!!

  • When I was a little girl, my grandmother told me that god and all of my dead relatives were watching me and saw every bad thing I did. Well, that’s a lot of pressure there. I could barely make out with a boy in high school for fear of god and my ancestors smiting me. So I’m glad t be free of that. Really if there is a heaven and it’s a wonderful as we are led to believe, I seriously doubt that my dearly departed loved ones are sitting around waiting to see how I screw up my life next.

    Anyway, this looks like a great book! I’ve been wanting to read Eat, Pray, Love for a while, but just haven’t got around to it.

    If I were going to NYC, I would go to the shoe department at Saks, but that’s just me! Have a great trip!!

  • Luanne:

    I thought your hand said “nip tuck” also!

  • Nickki:

    Colin-God does love you and He does love those who abused you. He does want you to be healed and He wants your abusers to be healed. He can be known. He wants you to know Him. Don’t judge Him by the far from perfect, failing creatures who call ourselves Christian because we mess it up all the time. We do not perfectly follow His will. We fail often. Every day.

  • DenverLARK:

    Hi Rechelle, Am seriously loving your website as of late. You crack me up. Love your sense of humor and honesty. I am a fellow (former) Kansan, by the way. I was born and raised right about in the middle of the state (but managed to escape in 1987). Keep up the great writing. I am highly amused.

    NYC — Too much fun stuff to mention. Do a quickie/cheezy bus tour to see a lot of sights in a limited amount of time.

    Safe travels! Add me to the book drawing please.

  • kimj:

    My son left the suggestion that I was going to make about what to see in NYC. Don’t forget that Dane’s sister, Mary, lives there, so if you need to call someone local for any reason…let me know if you want her number.

    Obviously need to read Eat, Pray, Love…and would love a copy of Commitment!

  • Sandy in MI:

    Sex on the beach seems overrated to me.
    All that sand…..**shudder**

  • kimj:


  • I do recommend a bus tour – you’ll want to see lots of important sites in a short time. Then revisit the extra cool ones on your own.

    Take a walk in Central Park. Have a knish, and a good bagel. See Mama Mia, among other shows.

    I like MOMA (museum of modern art) but some would say do the MET first.

    I never read Eat Pray Love because I thought it sounded gagging. Might have to rethink it. Put me in the drawing.

  • I read her first book and loved it as well. I have been wanting to read Committed but just haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks for th giveaway!

  • Nicki-you are entitled to your fantasy, however, I would rather you didn’t make assumptions about me and my life. Each of my comments has a link attached to them-I am not anonymous- and if you chose to about me, you’d know that I am indeed healed and it was long and painful work. I was reborn and am not what those people tried to make me be. My revenge, the only revenge I am interested in, is that I am happy and have a good life and i did all that without your belief system.

  • Carol:

    If you ever go to San Francisco, I’m your gal!

    I’d love to read the book.

    Here’s a list of things that a legal marriage gives one, that a union ceremony doesn’t (nor just being commited)
    Congratulations on your marriage!

    In your honor the U.S. Government happily presents to you:

    1. Access to social security security after a spouse’s death.

    2. Access to health insurance through a spouse’s workplace.

    3. The right to custody of children after a divorce.

    4. Visitation rights for nonbiological children.

    5. Joint parenting rights such as access to children’s school records.

    6. Bereavement leave after the death of a spouse.

    7. Burial determination after the death of a spouse.

    8. Domestic violence intervention.

    9. Sick leave to care for a spouse or nonbiological child.

    10. Legal validation of a long-term relationship.

    11. Ability to live in neighborhoods deemed “families only”.

    12. Access to life insurance in a spouse’s workplace.

    13. Access to survivor benefits in case of emergency.

    14. Access to spouse’s benefits in case of emergency.

    15. Ability to dile wrongful death claims.

    16. Right to shared propertu, child support and alimony after divorce.

    17. Ability to file joint home and auto insurance policies.

    18. Joint rental leases with automatic renewable rights if spouse dies or leaves.

    19. Automatic inheritance of retirement savings tax free after spouse’s death.

    20. Automatic exemption of property tax increases on shared assets gained after spouse’s death.

    21. Ability to file joint tax returns.

    22. Access to tax breaks for married couples.

    23. Veterans’ discounts based on spouse’s armed forces status.

    24. Assumption of spouse’s pension after death.

    25. Ability to file joint bankruptcy.

    26. Ability to collect unemployment benefits after leaving a job to relocate because of spouse’s job move.

    27. Ability to transfer property from one spouse to another without transfer tax consequences.

    28. Access to fostering children.

    29. Automatic next of kin status for emergency medical decisions and hospital visitation status.

    30 Immigration and residency priority for spouses from other countries.

    31. Ability to invoke spousal privilege in a court of law.

    32. Access to reduced-rate memberships at health clubs, social clubs, and other organizations.

    33. Prison visitation rights.


  • Most of those apply here in the UK to same sex marriage too.

  • Mrs C:

    the Strand book store, and the circle line tour. Have a blast

  • joann in tx:

    Congratulations to Colin & John!!!!

    i’ve been away from the north east for a good 30 yrs.
    but i would suggest stopping at Ground Zero,
    Time Square and China Town.

    i hope you can get to NYC what with all the snow?!!

    and have a grand weekend there!!!

  • Joel Wheeler:

    Rechelle – I heartily endorse the MoNH recommendations for your trip. I also strongly suggest securing tickets in advance for the Hayden Planetarium show, “Journey to the Stars”

    You. Will. Love. It.

  • Nadine:

    Colin: I’m absolutely with you that marriage affords rights that every person should be able to have.
    I’m talking more about social pressures – friends asking me when I’m going to get married and feeling like that’s what validates our relationship in their eyes, when we already feel like we’re wholly committed to each other. To so many people it’s this thing that I’m expected to want desperately and should have been planning since I was little. My boyfriend was told by his co-workers that I’m “expecting a ring” even though they’ve never met me. To me it’s a strange social expectation of a spectacle, where it’s My Day, and I’m just not like that.
    This is not to say that we’ll never marry, but we’re both in our early twenties and have plenty of time. It just seems that a lot of my peers are getting married not because they want security, but because they want to have a wedding.

  • Nadine:

    Oh god, Rechelle, sorry – please feel free to delete my now-increasing number of comments back to one! Gah!

  • Serendipity at 225 E 60th (between 2nd & 3rd Aves) for their frozen hot chocolate.

    The NBA store and the Hershey’s and/or M&M store at Times Square.

    Central Park (like the others said).

    Circle Line Cruise around Manhattan, West 42nd, Pier 42

    Don’t worry about the snow. It’s all been cleared in Manhattan. Now let’s talk about my backyard…

  • Oh, NY!

    Go to the TKTS booth in Time Square and get some discounted tickets to a play/musical.

    Get some pizza at Bella Napoli (150 W. 49th Street) or for a real treat go to the back and sit down to eat – tell them the things that you like and let the chef work his magic.

    Go to Century 21 in the Financial District for some AMAZING discount shopping.

    Go to Battery Park and do the Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty tours. If you can only do one choose the Ellis Island one.

    Go to Chinatown and Little Italy (they intersect so you can do them both at once).

    You might want to check out City Pass for NYC:

    Places I would LOVE to go:

    Good & Plenty for Mac & Cheese

    Momofuku Milk Bar for “Crack Pie”

    You HAVE to find the documentary about Shopsins titled “I Like Killing Flies”, it’s hilarious & fascinating!! Here are some clips:

  • Thank you Lucy and Joann,
    Nadine I DO understand what you mean about those pressures.However, and I almost hate to mention this, you have no idea how much time you have. You may have a day you may have another 60 years. No one knows. Live each day as if it were all you had. In fact, now is all you have. You might think differently if were not ALLOWED to marry.

  • I read them both, and cried my eyes out all over Eat, Pray, Love, yet couldn’t get into Committed. And it’s because the first one was written from the heart, out of desperation, but the second was a product from the head, calculated to capitalize on the success of the first.
    Also, with respect to your newfound atheism, I need to point out that God does not reside in Christianity. He isn’t the shallow, one dimensional judge, full of arrogance and anger that religion has him to be. He resides in our hearts. He is kindness and generosity and love. That’s all.

  • My wife may like this book. SO here is me leaving a comment.

  • I want one!!

  • Mom:

    Rechelle I hope you will not delete my post. See you in New York

    To My Daughter Rechelle my first born
    Today is Your dad’s and mine anniversary 43 years together

    Do not go to Tino Seghal show at the Guggenheim Calder will not like it at all.

    If you can plan before you leave to go to the History museum it is great (we took you there before we toured the holy lands), 911 site , Ellis Island, Central park might be too cold right now, Eat at a hot dog vendor you will love it. If it was me I would plan for a Bus tour on Sunday.

    Looking forward to having Calder and you join your Christian mom and one of Calder’s Christian Grandma’s Saturday Evening Fed. 13th:’
    1st, Calder & You are going to Lion King ,orchestral row seating with your Christian mom

    2nd Calder and you will be eating dinner at TaBoon. We have reservations with your Christian mom

    3rd Calder and you are staying at a beautiful 3 bedroom condo on the 15th floor with your Christian mom.

    4th Your Christian mom is not going to be bashing the so call atheist happiness even when you have to bash all the Christian and my might God. For as your Christian mom I love you and I know who you really are.

    I love you Rechelle with every beat of my heart and every breath I take. But all I see right now is a very lost and lonely daughter that is so angry if people don’t run up to her and greet her she blames God.

    If we are not blaming God, why not bash PW or not speak to family or hurt your husband and also in-laws.
    What has happen to human rights? You have never ever given your blog as much time to Christian faith to bash the so call happy atheist.

    So if you are so happy it is your responsibility to greet people in the grocery store after all it is your words that are telling then and even your mom how horrible we all are that we have faith and the love of our heavenly God.

    God love did not exclude the atheist when Jesus was dying on the cross for our sins an atheist recognize who he was and asked to be with him. I guess he wanted eternal life with our Heavenly Father. But the atheist does exclude our God.

    Who is going to be on your hit list next?

    Can’t wait to see you and Calder in New York. I am going to enjoy every moment with you and Calder.

    Prayers and Love
    Your Christian Mom

  • Dorothy:

    Hi, I am enjoying reading your blog and all the comments(yikes). I did read EPL and loved it. I would love to read her new book. So fingers crossed that I will win.
    Have a ball in New York!

  • I am so sorry Rechelle. What a terrible thing to do a loved one.

  • marcia:

    have fun; i’ve never been, now i’m gonna plan a trip especially for frozen hot chocolate. gotta get my name in virtual hat for the book. thank you

  • Nadine:

    Colin, I realize now that my first comment may have come across as flippant. That wasn’t my intention. I was trying to relate that I have mixed feelings about marriage as a social institution, and I didn’t intend to insult anyone in the process, but I may have. My apologies for that.
    I am all for every single person’s right to get married to the person they love. I just don’t know if it’s the right thing for me, especially right now, and I think it’s okay to feel that way.
    Rechelle, again, sorry for the multiple comments. I promise I’m done now!

  • Fran:


    I too loved Eat Pray Love, but have almost been afraid to read Committed thinking it might be a disappointment – you know how follow up books can sometimes be. But I’ll throw my hat into the ring, especially since I never win contests. I went to NYC once a few years ago with my daughter and we had a blast. It was cold, beginning of March, but we didn’t let that slow us down. We loved MOMA, I was surprised at how much I loved it. The Met was fabulous. We saw a broadway play, getting our tickets at the 1/2 price place. We were very touched by Ellis Island and had fun riding the Staten Island Ferry. I took too many photos of pigeons from the Empire State building, but loved the sights of NYC from there. Skip World Trade Center. We adored the opera, but I doubt that your son would enjoy it. FAO Shwartz was very cool, as was the Apple store nearby. It was too cold to really enjoy Central Park. Your son would probably love the Museum of Natural History. By the way, we were there a week, so don’t wear yourself out trying to do too much, a la Paris, and enjoy most of all being together! New York will be there for another visit another time!

  • HAve a god time in NYC. I’ve never been, but am longing to go.

  • No Nadine, I was not offended at all and I certainly don’t think you ought to do anything you do not want to do. I am sorry I gave you that impression. You were not flippant. You just stated a perfectly valid position. Of course it is okay to feel any way you feel and I would not suggest you feel differently to please anyone at all. It is nice you thought you may have offended and that you wanted to clear it up but really at no time was I at all offended by what you wrote. Whatever you decide to do I wish you both the happiness and strength and commitment we have found. I was 22 when we met, 29 years ago. It was love at first sight, literally, I went home with him and 3 days later moved my stuff in. I have never come across a kinder more sincere human being. I am very lucky.

  • Kristy K:

    What a wise and loving mother you have. Frankly I’m surprised you haven’t deleted her post.

  • Donna:

    I like your mom.
    I hope you all have a good time in NYC.

  • Nickki:

    Colin-I didn’t know about your link, I was simply responding to your post saying that you are suffering. That implied to me that you are still healing. Not trying to assume anything about your life, that is just what you said.

    God does love you Colin & Rechelle. All your denial won’t change that. Colin, you accused me of hubris when I said I know His nature. He has made Himself known. You can know Him. It’s a fact more real than the air you breathe. I think you are guilty of hubris in your denial of His existence. There is evidence of His existence and His wanting to have relationships with people if you would just open your heart, your mind, your eyes and look. I am not trying to foist any belief system on you. I am telling you that there is a God, just one God. He knows you and He loves you. That is all.

  • Eat, pray, love… and pick me! I could use (another) good book to read on my upcoming train trip to Maine (I’m bringing an audio version of Demon-Haunted World and Why People Believe Weird Things on my ipod).

  • MJ:

    Calder might enjoy the (Alexander) Calder circus and mobiles at the Whitney (Madison Ave/75 St).

    Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Center) is terrific. Go early to avoid lines.

    Hands-down, the jewel of NYC is the Frick Collection (Fifth Ave/70 St). Amazing art in an amazing home (of a genuine Robber Baron).

    I hope that you enjoy our wonderful city!

    PS I don’t want to enter the book contest.

  • Danii:

    For the kids, Jekyll and Hyde’s restaurant is absolutely awesome (if they don’t mind being a little ‘scared’). The Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Gugenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, all great spots. There’s also Rockefeller Center, Central Park (don’t miss the CASTLE!), the Central Park Zoo, and tons of other places.

    I’m glad that you’ve found an idea of a spiritual system that works for you. The one thing that I’ve found very helpful is a phrase that I try and keep to:

    Use what works.

    If a belief system doesn’t work for you, put it down, go without, try another. You don’t have to fit a belief system: the belief system has to fit YOU. And if you find parts you don’t like, throw them out. Parts you do like, keep them. Whenever anyone asks me what I am, I usually tell them I’m either pagan (it’s a good, well rounded, covers a lot of ground term) or I say I’m a Me-ist.

    I believe in what I believe and that’s about it.

  • Nicki-that is not all! Your whole post is a display of arrogance. I also did not say I was suffering. I did do an there are those who still are. You ideas are just ideas, not fact. Your faith is in nothing but your own idea, not some outside God, but your own judgement.If you read my stuff, you understand my position better. I am not a theist, I have sated this. That does not mean I am an atheist. I find both positions untenable.

  • AngAk:

    Rechelle, have a beautiful time in NYC.

    Have you read Three Cups of Tea? Greg Mortenson’s Mom Jerene is coming to my bookgroup tomorrow night. Cool.
    We read E,P,L a few months ago as a group.

  • Allyson:

    I hope I randomly win this book!

    Sorry, no pointers for NYC–haven’t been there yet!

  • Jadehawk:

    Nickki, stop judging people you know nothing about. Atheists don’t “deny” the existence of god. that would mean we believe it exists, but don’t want to accept that. that is simply not true. Most atheists don’t believe because there’s no reason to, no evidence that any gods exist, and certainly no evidence that one particular god, out of all the different gods people all over the world worship, is the right one, and the others aren’t. your “experience” of god, and you “knowing” your god isn’t qualitatively any different from a Muslim knowing their god, or the experience of a buddhist or a pagan. and none of it is verifiable, and certainly none of it is making people nicer, so there just isn’t any reason to believe in any gods in general, or in any specific gods in particular. and this is why many atheists don’t believe: we’re not angly, we’re not spiteful, and we don’t exhibit any kind of hubris; we’re merely being skeptical.

  • Jadehawk:

    oh, and colin: “atheist” doesn’t usually mean “believes there is no god”; more often, it means “doesn’t believe there is a god”. it’s an important difference, because you’re right that one cannot say with absolute certainty that nothing that could somehow be labeled “god” exists, which is what the former definition means; the latter definition means just that there’s people who have seen no reason to believe that such a thing exists, but will accept the possibility that it might, and would change their minds if someone provided them with some real evidence.

  • Jenny:

    Boy, am I behind – I did not even know she had a new book, but I would love to win it!

  • Ann:

    …Shake Shack–way yummy and easy, also by Museum of Natural History. You should require people who leave suggestions to denote how many sons they have. ONLY take suggestions from people who have undertaken adventures with sons. Sorry to be harsh people, but you others have no idea……..(MOMA?Unless he’s 21 and art history major skip it this short trip….You of course would love it.)

  • eal4c:

    I don’t know if anyone has mentioned a good Jewish Deli, yet! As an agnostic (recovering Methodist?) married to a seriously lapsed Jew, I can tell you that one thing we both agree on is deli food!! We recently ate at a place (near the Metropolitan Museum of Art – go there, too!) called the Pastrami Queen – really great! Pastrami sandwiches, half sours, and Dr. Brown’s – like a Bar Mitzvah on a plate!

    Good luck in your journey – questioning and learning are some of the greatest joys in this life.

  • Hi Jade-I ma not certain about your definition, though I am not saying you are wrong. No I am not being facetious! I have juts not heard that before. I neither believe nor disbelieve there is a God. I have no evidence for one. On the other hand, and this really foxes most people, I do believe we all survive what we term death. For that I have loads of evidence over a long period of time. Just because consciousness survives physical death does not mean there is a God.

  • I have no advice about NY but I’d love to win the book. “Eat, Pray, Love” is in my “to read” stack right now.

  • Just found your website this week. Very refreshing! I loved Eat, Pray, Love ( although I don’t think I cried) I’d love to win this. Thanks for putting so many of my thoughts in to words. Oh, and enjoy New York. Never been there. So envious. Safe travels.

  • Loved EPL, would enjoy reading the next one even if not as good. So throw me in the pot!

    I had the best falafel ever from a NYC street vendor. (I’m the vegetarian who is still waiting for you to trounce my demographic in a post!). Central Park, top of the Empire State Building, and a Broadway show top my best memories. My favorite memory is walking down the middle of 34th street in a snow storm when no one else was around, but that’s kinda hard to plan for.

  • Priss:

    Colin, Jadehawk’s definition of atheism is correct. The broad definition of atheism is no belief in a god. There is a smaller subset who believe there is no god. Even the most outspoken atheists like Dawkins and Hitchens are not really in that subset. They are willing to have their minds changed given convincing evidence. They just find that a highly unlikely eventuality so they speak with quite a bit of certainty on the non-existence of god.

  • Moses:

    Next on the hit list: “When Will Those Effing Vegetarians Pull Their Heads out of Their Bony, Sanctimonious Asses?”

  • Stephanie C.:

    Rechelle- Please check out this: A great book to read on your way to NYC.

  • Priss-I know read both of them. The trouble though with the alternative Big Bang Theory is that it presents the exact same as saying their is God. Who created God, right? Well what caused the Big Bang? And what caused that cause? To me, bearing in mind I left school at 15, there seems no difference in the problem. Both ‘answers’ present another problem and the same one.

  • OOooh, I hope I win it! The last one I won from you was the Dan Brown book you hated (haven’t read it yet!), so hopefully I’ll win something you like this time!

    I also loved “Eat, Pray, Love!”

  • Leslie:

    I am not an atheist, but I do not believe in religion. I believe there is SOMETHING, but that the something is within us, not outside of us. I believe that the human brain is completely unable to perceive the magnitude of where we are and why we are so we have created a multitude of explanations, myths, theories, religions to try to make sense out of something we never possibly can understand. My sister was succinct in saying we are looking at only one square on the very corner of a chessboard and are trying to figure out not only the rules of the game, but who else is playing, where the pieces are and what the object is. It has taken me over 50 years to shake it all off and admit to myself that I don’t believe anything that I have been taught in my past.

  • Very close to my own thoughts, Leslie. Discovering I can live very well without answers is freeing in itself. The link left by Stephanie C. has a part written in 1885 and clearly and far better than I expresses what I believe about making God in our image. And about the wickedness of Fundamentalism and how much harm it causes. This is written by a Xtian. I found The rest of his site is worth reading too.

  • Kristin:

    I’ve got a son & he LOVED the Met.

  • I’d love to read this book. I never read the first, but it’s on my wish list. Have a great time in NYC!

  • Nickki:

    “What you suggest, and your unambiguous attitude to people, does nothing at all to help anyone, least of all others like me who are still suffering.” –Colin

    Can you see how I might take this to mean you were suffering? I did not mean to offend you by thinking you were suffering. My heart ached for you and what you have endured.

    And Jade, good grief, I am not judging! Colin accused me of hubris and I think the same of him. How is it I am judging and he is not?

    As for your definition of atheism, it just seems like splitting hairs to me–either way you are without belief? I don’t understand how this is offensive and I am trying really hard not to offend. But it seems to me that if anyone states their belief in God that is offensive, fantasy, hubris, and arrogance. All of these I have been called in the past two days. It’s okay to mock those with faith, but don’t you dare question an unbeliever. I did not accuse anyone of being spiteful or angry. I attempted to have a thoughtful conversation but none of you even gave any thought to what I said, you simply went on the defensive. You aren’t even open to the possibility of there being one, true God.

    Out of all the knowledge that is available in this world, what percentage of it do you think you have a grasp on? And with that percentage that is left, how can anyone say definitively that there is no God? Now, this is an EXAMPLE here, not implying you are brainless, but, consider the brain. We all have one, but you cannot prove it to me. You cannot see it, you cannot touch it, you cannot feel it or hear it or taste it. You know you can see the effects of your brain, but that is all the evidence you have. Colin says he has evidence over a long period of time that we survive death. There is evidence over the course of the history of the world that there is one God. You can choose to see it and believe or not. It is a choice.

  • Marilyn:

    I hope you enjoy the week-end with your mother. She sounds like a remarkable lady.

  • Twin-Skies:

    “We all have one, but you cannot prove it to me. You cannot see it, you cannot touch it, you cannot feel it or hear it or taste it. You know you can see the effects of your brain, but that is all the evidence you have. ”

    So the countless documentaries and science books many of us have seen since grade school showing the human brain are purely imagination?

  • Ann:

    I don’t want to win anything. You’re sad…I’m sorry, and I feel sorry for your family. I would not want to go anywhere w/ you or actually be under the same roof. Hope you find help.

    What happened to you? Maybe you need to take a break from your blog. You’re very hurtful…there’s no reason to be this way – no matter what. Don’t attack others.


  • Nickki:

    It’s an example, like the wind, you can’t see it, you can see where it goes or where it comes from, you can’t touch it or taste it, but it still exists. Just trying to show that there are things we cannot prove empirically, but yet they still exist. I know there are holes.

  • #1 The only alcoholic drink I like is one called “Sex on the Beach”… how strange is that? So if I win I will drink a “sex on the beach” and read this book… just for you Rechelle… I will do that.

    #2 I highly recommend getting your picture taken alongside the the naked cowboy…. for no other reason than….well, I can’t think of one. But why not… he might even let you hold his guitar.

    #3 Also… go to China town a buy some chicken feet… they could make a nice set of back scratchers for Christmas.

    Have a great trip… Mavis

  • Priss:

    Ann said, “You’re very hurtful…there’s no reason to be this way – no matter what. Don’t attack others.” and “I would not want to go anywhere w/ you or actually be under the same roof.”

    Please follow your own recommendations; quit being hurtful and attacking others :-(

  • Jacob:

    Wow Ann, way to call the kettle black.

  • Kathy:

    LOVED EPL!! You have to see a show while you’re there! Mary Poppins was great but my all time fave was Mama Mia – SO awesome if you like ABBA!!

  • Hooray! Sounds good!
    I have a book giveaway going on right now too–today’s the last day to enter.

  • Twin-Skies:


    So you dodge your own poorly done metaphor with another bad metaphor? that’s called changing goal posts. A logical fallacy.

    Besides, the existence of air has already been proven through laboratory tests and scientific observations.

    We also know through same said observations that it is comprised of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases.

    Please stop using false analogies like this.

    In short, it is there empirically.

  • Jadehawk:

    Nickki sez: “But it seems to me that if anyone states their belief in God that is offensive, fantasy, hubris, and arrogance.”

    No, you can have faith, or beliefs, in all you want. But you’re saying that you “know”, and that’s just not true. you don’t “know” any more than the members of other religions “know” their gods and “know” they are right that these gods exist, and you can’t all be right by definition, since half of your beliefs contradict each other.

    Nickki sez: “You aren’t even open to the possibility of there being one, true God. ”

    see? this is where you are wrong. I just said, above, that if I’m given evidence, I’d change my mind. and so would all atheists I know of.

    Nickki sez: “And with that percentage that is left, how can anyone say definitively that there is no God?”

    and this is why I mentioned the second, more accurate definition of what an atheist is: I don’t need to prove that there is no God, but until there is evidence for such a being, as a skeptic I have to assume there isn’t one. It’s the same rule I apply to Leprechauns, Easter Bunnies, and Invisible Pink Unicorns.

    Nickki sez: “consider the brain. We all have one, but you cannot prove it to me.”

    of course I can. we could go to the nearest hospital and do an MRI, or we could even cut open your head and have you have a look. besides, there’s such thing as indirect evidence: you’re talking, walking, and breathing, therefore you have a brain, because it has been scientifically pretty well proven that without a brain, a person cannot do any of the above.

    Nickki sez: “It’s an example, like the wind, you can’t see it, you can see where it goes or where it comes from, you can’t touch it or taste it, but it still exists.”

    that’s even worse than the brain example. everybody can go out and tell whether there’s wind, it can be easily and objectively measured with machines and computers, and you simply don’t ever get two people to disagree as to whether it’s windy or not. wind is objectively provable (plus, we do know how wind works, how it is created, and can even predict it ocuring; oh, and it doesn’t break any of the Laws of Physics. it’s what’s called an empirical phenomenon)

    You have a very narrow definition of what “evidence” is. it’s not just what you can literally see with your own eyes. Evidence can be a lot more than that, but unless it can be objectively and independently verified, it’s no evidence at all. And generally the rule also applies: extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence. i.e. the more unlikely and against all that we empirically know about the world your claim is, the more evidence is necessary for it to be accepted as real.

    P.S.: sorry Rechelle if we sort of hijacked this thread. I hope you don’t mind, and if you do, you can always delete all of this :-p

  • Jadehawk:

    oops, I just noticed my answer to the brain thing sounded a bit like a thread. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that for example brain surgeries can be done with the patient awake, and then the patient can always request a mirror and have a look inside their own head. it’s kinda creepy, but kinda cool, too.

  • Rechelle’s Mom

    I read your comment on your daughter’s blog and I cannot get it out of my mind.

    I have only been reading Rechelle’s blog for a few days. Of course through her blog, I found April’s too.

    Since I just found their blogs and no none of you personally I am completely ignorant of all of the facts.

    From the time I found their blogs I have thought often of you, their Mom. I have wondered about what kind of Mom they had that fostered their brilliance (as evidenced by their writing), their incredible sense of fun, their obvious confidence, their desire to embrace life and the ability to laugh fully and often.

    Frankly, I have been in awe of you.

    Today, reading the comments I saw “Mom” and thought, “oh, this will be great!!”

    As I read your comment I just got sadder and sadder. Not just for Rechelle but for every person in your family.

    Again, I am not privy to any details so my observations are from my perspective as a total and complete stranger.

    As you wrote ad infinitum “your Christian mother” I wondered if you realized that the phrase came across, to me at least, like a physical blow over and over. It was if it was a “I am right and your are wrong” with every one of them.

    I was at a loss as to my previous assumptions about you and this display. Again, I don’t know any details so this is just my perception.

    Later this afternoon, I was watching Oprah. In case you haven’t seen it yet her guest was a transgender man who is now a woman.

    Oprah asked her Mother how she felt about it, how could she reconcile this with her religious beliefs.

    Her mother answered that “With me, it was never a question of, ‘Do I believe in the Bible?’ I believed in my child”.

    I immediately thought of your comment that I had read here today and again I was sad.

    I hope that whatever transgressions your family members perceive that have been inflicted upon them have the grace to forgive and remember that you believe in each other.

  • Leslie:

    Nickki, I think you might be referring to the mind as opposed to the brain? If I miscontrued your meaning, I apologize. That distinction just seems to be a better fit with your argument.

  • MJ:

    WOW! Sounds like a great book–I’d love to win it! Hope Im not too late!

  • Laura:

    You always have good book recommendations and giveaways!

  • Lori:

    Hmmmmm. I could probably use this as we approach those strange empty nest years. Nice to hear from your blog again, on a regular basis, Rechelle. You actually sound pretty happy to me and that’s great!

  • mom:

    Bless your heart GreenInOC I am sure it seem like a harsh blow to hear in your head as you read ” your Christian mother” over and over. I know how that feels to be slammed with harsh words over and over.
    It was not meant to be harsh. My daughter’s are always repeating over and over I am your favorite daughter now admit it mother. So I respond in that same manner.

    Our family always respects each other’s views. But something has happen to my Rechelle.

    Thank you for being so kind. Please keep us in your heart if you do not believe in prayer. Maybe all who write on this blog will start to respect each other rather than ripping each other apart.

    No I do not watch Oprah I have a business that I run. But yes I believe in the Bible and yes I love my Rechelle.

    I love her laughter. I love to hear her the kids she taught at church sing with her, her witty humor, her claw foot bath tub, Our quite tea times even when she was a young kid, Her feet in my bath water just wanting to talk. There is no one on this blog or in this world that knows this lady better than I do. From the first time I held her in my arms to watching her love her children no one know her like I do. I sense even when I talk with her on the phone or read her blog how she is really feeling.

    Thank you again for responding I had no idea anyone would care.

    Rechelle’s favorite Mom

  • Becky:

    GO Rechelle’s mom!!

  • Twin-Skies:


    Pardon me for sounding like an insensitive monster, but how do we know you really are Rechelle’s mom? I don’t mean any ill will, but I believe those of us reading you posts are compelled to know if you’re telling the truth.

    That, and concern trolls are no fun at all :(

  • Kimberly:

    Stay strong girlie! I know how some ‘certain’ people’s comments can be hurtful. Just remember there plenty of others that support you, have your back, and accept you no matter what. Have a wonderful time in NYC…indulge in all life has to offer! Much love, K.

    (I would leave suggestions but I have never been there XD)

  • Moses:

    @ Twin-Skies
    Pardon me for sounding like Rechelle’s mom, but how do we really know you are an insensitive monster?

  • Twin-Skies:

    You’ll have to take my word for it ;)

    but I did say I “may” sound like an insensitive monster, but I did not explicitly say I “am” an explicit monster. XD

  • Twin-Skies:

    grammar check:

    *I did not explicitly say I “am” an insensitive monster. XD

  • Nickki- don’t play the hurt feelings card. Either you do not understand at all or are being obtuse. i could not believe the question you left for on my blog. I can’t believe you really don’t know the answer. I’d rather believe you refuse to than you really don’t understand. To say am not an atheist nor a theist is perfectly logical.
    There is NO evidence for God. None at all. You seem to find it very very hard to accept that others see things differently. I can see why you misread my sentence about others suffering. Let me make it clear: I recovered but others are still suffering. Unfortunately the beliefs you hold will ensure that they do. I know this to be true from experience.

  • Rechelle’s ‘mom’ is hopefully a troll and not really her ‘mom’. If it is the real thing, I am truly sorry Rechelle.

  • Mary G.:

    Please people be kind in your writing to Rechelle’s mother, most children don’t care for people being critical to their mother, even if we say critical things about or to them. Speaking as a grown daughter who would disagree and fight with her mother, but also loved her so very much and she me.

  • Marilyn:

    Whever discussions you and your mother have in NYC, please remember that Calder is listening.

  • Yes Rechelle please take notice of these people. They all know better than you how to raise your child and how to deal with your mother. What would you do without their advice?

  • Mary G.:

    Gave Rechelle no advice on dealing with her mother, just mentioned that people writing comments should be respectful of her mother. On another note, have a blast in New York, its a fun city. Maybe you can meet Jean.

  • Cheyenne:

    My feeling on the posts by Rechelle’s mom is that she loves her daughter but feels hurt and rejected by Rechelle’s rejection of her faith. Many of my family members are similar. Their faith is such a central part of who they are, that a rejection of their faith feels like a rejection of them as a person. And their beliefs are so central and meaningful to them that they can’t understand how someone else can’t see what they see. It seems so obvious when you’re looking through God-colored glasses that everything is the product of the Creator. I know for me it took years of various experiences, becoming close to people with differing religious beliefs, and education, esp. a college biology class, to really realize that there were some big flaws with my belief system. Then I had to have the nerve and the free time to investigate further into the things that were troubling me before I realized that my foundation was not nearly as strong as I thought. Finally, there was a time where I really didn’t believe, but I had that last lingering terror of Hell, and was too afraid to let go. Finally, I got the courage to let it go, and things look so much clearer without the God-colored glasses on. It was a huge relief. But I haven’t come out to my family yet, because I know they will feel hurt and bewildered, and scared for me and my children. I know Hell was the big terror for me, being indoctrinated into it from the time I was able to talk, and my family have been too. They are happy in their faith, it gives them meaning and comfort, and I don’t want to take that away from them. But I also know they would truly be terrified that I would end up in Hell, etc. and I understand that. For all of the wonderful things people can get out of faith in God, that is the tyrany of it to me–the threat of everlasting torment if you don’t love him back. So, I hope for the best for Rechelle, her mom, and the rest of the family. I’m sure this is one of the hardest things they’ve ever had to work through, but I hope that their love for each other will overcome everything else and that they will be able to accept each other for who they are, and not for who they want the other to be.

  • Cheyenne – excellent post, really, so well put. I don’t agree with you about this faith being benign (you didn’t use the word but that is what i took from you not wanting to disturb the faith of your family.) The suffering you have endured (and still do) is evidence that it is far from benign. I have often wondered how anyone could believe they could be at peace in heaven whilst their loved ones suffer for all eternity. What that says to me about the state of their mind horrifies me. I have never for a moment thought that even about those that harmed me let alone those I care about. It is all part of the evil damage we do to children by indoctrination.

  • Cheyenne:

    Good point, Colin. I posted a reply, but it’s gotten hung up somewhere, so I’ll just wait for it to come through.

  • Priss:

    Cheyenne, if these comment boards had thumbs up like on facebook, I’d give you one :-) You may want to rewrite the reply to Colin though. There have been a couple of comments of mine on another post that never got through and I later read something Rechelle said about certain words automatically sending comments to the spam folder. I think I know which one of mine it was…home school without the space between the words. So it’s possible that your comment went to the spam folder and may never show up.

  • ann:

    People have some bizarre concepts of hell and God. Cheyenne, you said you can’t live with the tyranny of a God who would send people to hell for not loving him. If you don’t love God why would you want to go to heaven in the first place? And God doesn’t send people to hell. People send themselves to hell when they reject God. Hell is nothing more than an eternal separation from God, a loneliness that extends for all time. If you don’t believe in God you won’t care that you are separated from him. Things like Dante’s Inferno, a work of fiction, seems to have seeped into some people’s minds as fact. Christian people want to go to heaven to be with God. There is some infantile thought process going on that implies people want to go to heaven to go for a big family reunion. You are not going to be running around looking for your relatives, checking to see if they are there. You aren’t going to realize they aren’t there because you will know and love everyone who is in Heaven. The ultimate purpose of heaven is to be with God, the creator. I want my friends and family to go to Heaven so they can be with God, not so they can see me forever. I want everyone to go to heaven, even child molesters and murderers. Anyone who accepts and shows sorrow for what they have done will get there. God is full of love and mercy and he wants everyone to go to heaven as well and he will find a way to get you there. He doesn’t expect perfection from us. People have such a sad view if God, even when they say they don’t believe in him. You say you can’t believe in a God who does this or that and then talk about God in an incorrect manner. Please do some good spiritual reading. Maybe Confessions by Augustine or Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ or anything at all by Thomas Merton or Henri Neuwen. I especially recommend The Return of the Prodigal Son by Neuwen.

    • Yes Ann – Especially check out what Augustine had to say about women. That was my favorite part of his writings! Holy sh*t! I think he considers us girls to be sub-human.

      The bible describes hell as a place of fire and eternal torment. Jesus describes hell as a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.(The sheep and the goats) He describes hell as a place of fiery tortuous torment (Lazarus and the Beggar). The idea of hell as being a ‘separation from god’ is a brand spanking new invention to ease people’s minds such as yourself… unless you are merely trying to propagandize your faith, suck someone in and THEN spring the truth about hell on them.

  • Cheyenne:

    Thanks for the head’s up and *like*, Priss. Luckily after having comments eaten before, I’ve started copying the long ones before I hit send, otherwise I’d never take the time to retype it. So, here it is.

    Thanks, Colin. No, you’re right, it’s not benign. I think it’s a very mixed bag. For all the good things people get from faith, I think there are a multitude of evils done to others done because of religion. I really liked Rechelle’s apology for being a sh*t head post because I think she covered a lot of them. I only deconverted not quite a year ago, so I’m really still figuring out what I think about issues, where I used to let the bible and church leaders tell me what to think about them. It’s great having all of the online non-theistic resources as well as religious resources so that there’s really a marketplace of ideas out there for anyone who’s interested. As for the faith of my family members, I think it’s more that I realize that I can’t change their minds, they have to be willing to do that themselves. I’ll be thrilled if they come to a more rational view of the world, but I realize that for most of them it’s not going to happen. The thing that made me really confront the issue that I had let sit on the back burner was that my oldest child (he’s 6) started asking me questions about God and death and the like, and I realized that I wasn’t comfortable indoctrinating him the way that I had been, especially when I had so many doubts. I don’t want to indoctrinate him into atheism either, I want to teach him how to think rather than what to think. The cycle of fear and blind faith stops with me. I think that’s the best that I can do.

  • Mama Needs Coffee:

    Ann, to be fair – you’re talking about your view of Gd. For example, as an observant Jew, I have a very different understanding. I think the people with whom you’re conversing might be “pushed away” by your presentation of your faith as if it’s fact (or as if it’s the only faith). In my personal experience, people have been genuinely curious and open-minded about my religion, as long as I explain my beliefs with humility and speak from my individual perspective as a Jew. All of us who genuinely seek to enter into communion with the Divine presence must acknowledge that we can’t possibly speak for or anthromorpize Gd – HaShem’s intentions, beliefs, desires, likes and dislikes, etc. – because HaShem is beyond human understanding.

  • Cheyenne:


    I appreciate your comment. I realize that there’s a huge spectrum of thought on every Christian belief, and there are philosophers and apologists and bible quotes to back up each different interpretation. Your interpretation of Hell is much nicer than what I was taught to believe. I think it’s more comfortable to believe in the separation kind of Hell rather than the torture kind of Hell, especially since most people will be going there (in your view, I think) not for being horrible people, but simply for being mistaken. I didn’t reject God because I didn’t want to believe in him. I wanted to believe in him. I wanted to shore up the foundation of my beliefs so that I could teach my kids the truth, and know why what I believed was true and why other beliefs were not. The more I searched and studied, the more I realized that my beliefs were untenable. I realized that if I, a reasonably intelligent, college-educated person, couldn’t find a way to find the truth about God, especially if the consequences of getting it wrong were so great, then how did God expect those who didn’t have even the advantages I had to figure it out. How could God keep himself hidden to the point that the whole world is in confusion, the Bible is a contridictory mess, and people are killing and dying over differences in faith. I realized that the Bible discourages critical thinking and inquiry, instead praising the faith of a little child, and that makes no sense. That makes a person easy prey for any smooth-talking con-artist. I realized that if there was a personal God out there, one that loves everyone and wants everyone to know and love him, then there should be a better way for him to communicate with us. So, I finally said, “God, if you’re out there you know where to find me.” So, that’s it, and I’ve had peace and quiet ever since.

  • Mom:


    I am so sorry you think I am a troll. Collin how would I know what we are doing in New York?

    Just reading some of the comments you leave and I can tell you really are hurting. So who ever has hurt you just know that this Christian mom is not like the people who have hurt or done you wrong.

    Today your name will be on my heart to give you peace. If you lived in our community I would bring you some fresh baked (frozen) bread. Rechelle makes her from scratch I buy my frozen and bake it. She is much better cook. We both use real butter.


    Favorite Mom

  • Abandonment is just as cruel and inconceivable that a loving God would allow such a thing. I think only those who know abandonment would see that.

  • AngAk:

    Colin, Abandonment? Who is being abandoned, and by whom? Perhaps you can take up this new topic on your own blog??

  • Ted Powell:

    Rechelle wrote: Especially check out what Augustine had to say about women. That was my favorite part of his writings! Holy sh*t! I think he considers us girls to be sub-human.Rechelle, I expect you’re familiar with this prayer attributed to him:

    Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.(Give me chastity and continence, but not yet.)

    but I thought I’d put it out here in case there are some who haven’t seen it. This was of course prior to his conversion to Christianity at age 32. I can’t help wondering how his philosophy would have evolved had his teenage years been more … umm … restrained.

  • Abandonment isn’t a new topic ANGAK. It is part of this discussion that ann and the blog owner, Rechelle, have brought into the discussion. It is the ‘polite’ alternative to Hell fire. Whilst you didn’t understand that, it is not your place to direct the discussion here.Besides which, it isn’t your place to direct the discussion here.

  • Rechelle’s ‘mom:

    I love and accept myself, I love others, and I am loved.
    I have been married to the same man for almost 30yrs.
    I am secure in myself, in my live and I enjoy each day a sit comes. I am grateful for all that I have. I share my life with others. I create daily.
    That I speak out, sometimes vehemently, against evil does not mean I am unhappy. The exact opposite is true. When I was dogged by evil, I was unhappy and now that I am free of it, I am at peace and therefore able to give.
    Given that I am a disabled homosexual with a 24/7 physical pain problem to manage, I am sure it is beyond your wit to even conceive I may be happy and at peace. I would change nothing about my life.
    I will continue to do all I can to contribute to the changing of people’s minds because that is the only way this evil can be eradicated, if people stopped thinking it and believing it.
    Rechelle not only survived your ideology she is doing extremely well and is marching, head high, toward freedom and peace. I can and do wish her well.

  • Jill:

    Rechelle’s Mom:

    I’ve been a reader of Rechelle’s blogs for over two years, and April’s as well. I recall the many, many posts and pictures that Rechelle has shared with us regarding visits with you and her Dad, excursions, your babysitting the boys, etc. – the love your family shares has always come shining through.

    I’m glad I’ve followed Rechelle’s blog for so long (I’ve been a book winner too!) because it gives me a more complete picture of her history than those who may have more recently joined the discussions – at least a picture insofar as Rechelle has offered to us. As far as I recall, she has never expressed her feelings for you and her Dad in any other than loving and affectionate terms. Her posts were filled with laughter, love and fond remembrances of shared moments past and present.

    I would caution you about opening up your heart on this blog, even in an effort to reach out to your daughter. It may make you a target of those who want to support Rechelle at this time, and as a result, purposely or not, wound you. I imagine you are struggling enough right now without making yourself vulnerable to strangers. I’m glad you’ll be in one another’s company this weekend – hopefully you will both return home feeling reassured of one another’s respect and love.

    Time will help…best wishes to you both!

  • Alex:

    Rachelle’s mom, in those few responses, reminded me a whole lot of my own mother, who fortunately gave up on the “funny” little digs and passive-aggressive oh what happened to my daughter who used to be so wonderful when she believed what I told her to thing a long, long time ago, and turned her attention to my sister (who is more than happy to accept cash gifts in exchange for pretending to be everything my mother wants her to be). Unfortunately, my relationship with both of them is very superficial and strained to this day, and will probably always be so. BOTH parties have to agree to let someone change, and it sounds like your mom, like mine, still wants to hold onto her old idea of you and isn’t going to let go.

    It’s complex, family, especially when religious or political belief is involved; it’s identity, belonging. I went through years of asking “but WHY” and people just got more and more annoyed with me, because, well, they didn’t KNOW “why,” but more importantly, I finally realized, they don’t really care “why,” either. The belonging is more important to them, and they don’t want you to be different because they love you and want you to belong, too. You really are scaring the crap out of them, it’s not a joke. It’s life and death for them.

    As for New York, totally hit the Museum of Natural History, and you can check out the nearby Historical Society, too; it’s a quirky little museum that usually has really wonderful treasures. Get a hotdog at Grey’s Papaya near Lincoln Center (cheap and good), and a cupcake and coffee at Magnolia Bakery on Columbus (short walk from the museum). If someone else is picking up the tab, hit the Spotted Pig downtown (call ahead). Super tasty gourmet pub food.

  • Jill:

    Alex said: “It’s complex, family, especially when religious or political belief is involved; it’s identity, belonging.”

    Alex, you nailed it! The one thing for sure, it takes time to work through it all. Sometimes the result is not what we want – my relationship with my mom was similar to yours, I think. I wish she were still alive – it may have evolved to where I hoped, but our time was cut short.

    Yeah, the Spotted Pig – good place!

  • Stephanie C.:

    Great Rechelle, now you have people ripping your own mother apart. Whatever you are trying to propagandaize to increase blog traffic (hello, I am an atheist, yea whatever) or be who you think you have always wanted to be or whatever this train wreck you have going on here, but your mother Rechelle? You are throwing your mother under the bus? Now, I know you don’t believe in the Bible anymore, whatever, but I am sure you know about “you reap what you sow”. You think about that when you tuck your children in tonight.

    Oh, and I went back and read many of the comments (my kind ones have never been posted, this one probably won’t make it either, I guess it is because I am a homeschool mom who does love the Lord, but is not religious, I guess you can not reconcile that) and I am amazed at all the venom and the amount of time people have spent bickering back and forth. Just think if people would spend all that time loving each other instead of trying to tell everyone that their “truth” is right. What a different world we would have.

  • Becky:

    Good post Stephanie.

  • Alex:

    To be fair, Stephanie, her mother threw herself under the proverbial bus. And as for bickering and misdirected energies better spent with love, what is it that you’re hoping, exactly, to accomplish by criticizing her here? I don’t get it.

  • If indeed it is here mother who is writing, no one has attacked her at all. The same cannot be said for the writer’s passive aggressive attacks on Rechelle and myself.

  • Cheyenne:

    Everyone, I would have to agree with those who have urged caution and respect in replying to Rechelle’s mom. I think if this poster were not her mom, Rechelle would be wise to that by now and would have said so. So, I think the best course is to give her the respect and courtesy that Rechelle’s mom deserves, especially in Rechelle’s own “house”. The absolute last thing any of us wants to do is to make their relationship any more strained than it is already.

    As tempting as it is to point out passive-agressiveness, or other barbs, I think we need to realize that Mom is reacting to a situation not of her own making. Rechelle, I think, has been keeping a tight lid on all of these thoughts, feelings, and situations and she finally blew. I think it’s a good and healthy thing for her, she needs to let these things out and be herself, but from Mom’s perspective, she’s been seeing a lot of things that are worrying and now Rechelle’s not pulling any punches to Christianity (rightfully, imho) and her mother is hurt, concerned and defensive. Many of us atheists, especially former Christians, have seen the same attitudes and arguments from the other side time and time again, but the Christians are probably new to this as Rechelle’s experience may be their introduction to atheism.

    I don’t know Mom’s reasons for communicating to Rechelle in an open forum, where she’s opening up the opportunity to being “thrown under the bus.” But, I think the best we, Rechelle’s readers, can do is to let them work through the emotions and reactions to this new reality and only offer constructive comments. How have we changed since becoming atheists? How did our families handle it? What made/ would have made our relationships better? etc.

    So, there you go, free advice. You get what you pay for, right?

  • You are probably right, Cheyenne. How have I changed? More a re-birth. I am no longer afraid, no longer stutter, no longer self harm, no longer miserable, no longer bi polar, no longer active OCD, no longer anorexic, no longer in and out of hospital. I have severe physical problems but they are a doddle compared to the inner anguish I lived with when under the influence of fundamentalism.

  • Alex:

    Unlike the more vocal members of my family, I was never actually religious or politically conservative, so I had practice being different, and my family had practice making me feel ridiculous for it.

    I’m also not an atheist, or a democrat for that matter, I’m just me without any religious or political affiliation, and that just drove them bananas for a while- they wanted something to call me, to label me, so that they could easily explain the anomaly in the context of their understanding of the world. Calling someone a Gosh Darn Independent Voter just doesn’t have the satisfying sting of Bleeding Heart Liberal, Satan Worshipper or even Smelly Hippy. I took all the fun out of their being able to be superior to people unlike them, so eventually they just decided that I’m dumb, irrational, and over-emotional. I just roll my eyes…

    In my experience, the only thing that would have improved my relationships with the religious folk in my family would have been being born without a need to rationally understand and accept the beliefs I stand for. So to keep the peace, I learned to keep my mouth shut. Unfortunately, that means I have to forgo 95% of the conversation my family loves best, so they added surly and uncommunicative to my list of flaws.

  • Stephanie C.:

    Rechelle can delete any comment she wants and post the ones she wants – this is her blog, she has complete control. I have posted some very supportive ones that were never published, it is her choosing. So, only reading the one that was published that criticized bringing her mom into this is not fair to generalize that I am critical of her or not showing love. Your perception has been manipulated to make it look that way, hmmm.

    When it comes to a mom and daughter relationship, something I take very serious, it breaks my heart to see this happening. I am a mom and a daughter and it breaks my heart to see this not only happening but happening for everyone to see and tell what they think.

    Oh, look, I got caught up in the bickering. UGH. Gotta leave now, bad jou jou.

  • Alex:

    (Stephanie, I think you’re mistaking me for another commentator, I didn’t accuse you of anything.)

  • Stephanie C.:

    Sorry Alex, so much back and forth going on, can’t keep everyone straight. I do apologize though, my bad.

  • Priss:

    I mentioned this before to Cheyenne, but to others who haven’t seen their posts coming through like Stephanie…it probably isn’t Rechelle directly monitoring them and choosing not to let them show up. She said there are certain words that if they are in a comment will make that comment go into her spam folder. She has control over which words are flagged for spam, but it doesn’t mean she’s reading those posts and choosing not to publish them on here. I had two posts that were not at all offensive not go through a week or so ago. I felt bad and wondered why in the world Rechelle would object to them. I figured out later after I read her comment about the spam folder that it was an automatic thing and that my comments just had a word that made them register as spam. Anyway, don’t assume that Rechelle is singling you out and rejecting your comments. Since we can all see a number of posts that are not at all supportive of her being published, I think we can assume she is not weeding out all the negative ones.

  • Twin-Skies:

    Stephanie C.

    Assuming that’s Stephanie’s mom at least.

  • ann:

    Colin, I never said God abandoned people, but God doesn’t force himself on anyone. He gave us free will. We leave God, he doesn’t leave us. If people don’t want to be with God, what should God do? I am not being flippant, I am asking a serious question. If you loved someone and told them that, but they told you they didn’t love you back, didn’t want to be with you, what would you do? Would you cahse them around and hound them. I don’t understand and am trying to understand your point of view.I am sorry if I come across as harsh. I have struggled for years with my faith so I know believing isn’t easy, but faith is not easy. I decided that I believe there is a higher being out there and I believe it is God and I believe he loves me and cares about me and I believe he loves and cares about everyone. I was never a fundamentalist, so I never suffered with a cruel God the way you seem to have. Fundamentalism is a warped view of Christ. I live in the south, so I know it exist, however I choose to look at the life of Christ and believe, from the way he lived, that he loves me. I don’t listen to people who warp God into a cruel, abusive being.
    Also, to Ted, Constantine said that, not Augustine. Augustine wrote over 300 books, letters, sermons etc. To whittle his writings down and say he is sexist and hates women is a vast overstatement. Confessions is a beautiful love letter to God. I read it and found nothing sexist in it. Rechelle, yes, there is wailing in hell. But it is not God who is punishing us, it is ourseves. Have you ever done something you regretted and cried about it for hours and hours and hours because you realized you were to blame, no one else, and there was a horrible feeling of regret? I believe that will be the wailing that will be heard in hell. We punish ourselves with our behavior, God doesn’t need to do it for us. This isn’t some new invention of religion. I believe God wants people to be with him and I believe people spend inordinate amounts of time obsessing about Hell instead of thinking about heaven. I am thinking you have never read anything by Henri Nouwen. If anyone out there doubts the kind of love God has for us, please read The Return of the Prodigal Son. What do you have to lose?

  • Ted Powell:

    ann wrote: [presumably with reference to "Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo."] Also, to Ted, Constantine said that, not Augustine.If you go to you should find Confessions 8.7.17 at the top of the page. The text at issue appears roughly two-thirds of the way through 8.7.17.I did some searching for support of your statement that Constantine (also) said that, but came up empty. Could you please cite your source?

  • Ann-your concept of God is very close to my own when I wonder if there is one. However, I don’t believe in the bible as anything other than a book and the Jesus story does not make sense at all to me. To every xtian I ever read of came across, that means I’d had it.
    Your description of Hell is one I have thought of too. I know what real pain-you-think-will-kill feels like and I have thought that those who caused me that pain would feel it too when the time comes for them to understand what they did. HOWEVER, if this God exists, I do not at all believe that the way back to God is ever barred. Not ever. Otherwise love is conditional and and that is an oxymoron. I have no doubt at all that consciousness survives physical death nor do I doubt such consciousness lit my way to healing. I just do not believe in religion of any kind and I have no evidence of a single, personal, God that must be placated and that I must make myself acceptable to. I believe this idea is the root of much of the evil in this world and the cause of much of the suffering. Re the Jesus story-many many many people suffered far far far worse fates than he so I really get annoyed and am non-plussed when people hold him up as an example of suffering.

  • Forgot to add: free will is limited. Among other things, it is limited by our knowledge. As it is limited, it isn’t free. Whilst we can increase our knowledge, thus making choice broader, we can never know all so will not have completely free will. (never mind the way biology limits free will….)
    As much as religionists try to make it black and white, it isn’t to anyone who thinks. There are no certainties. Thus compassion is a must.

  • Ted Powell:

    ann wrote: … what would you do? Would you cahse them around and hound them.Francis Thompson (1859 – 1907) answered in the affirmative in his poem The Hound of Heaven (link). It begins:

    I fled Him, down the nights and down the days; I fled Him, down the arches of the years;I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways Of my own mind; and in the mist of tearsI hid from Him, and under running laughter; Up vistaed hopes I sped; And shot, precipitated, Adown Titanic glooms of chasmed fears,From those strong Feet that followed, followed after.

    The introduction to it in The Neumann Press Book of Verse, 1988 included this:

    As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and imperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never ending pursuit.

    The word hound in the cited comment immediately reminded me of the poem; it was on my parents’ bookshelf as I was growing up, a hand-lettered copy made by my mother.

  • Thank you for that Ted.

  • Ted Powell:

    Minutes after posting it, I encountered this hound of Earth (link), appealing to his/her god.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Took a few days off from reading here (try it people – there’s a whole, beautiful world out there,) and have to say, I think Colin’s writing on here more than Rechelle. Huh?

    Not EVERY comment needs a critique or counterpoint. Even Rechelle’s mom and dad can’t have their say without people reading too much into it? Sheesh people, a little respect, for everyone, whether you agree with them or not. There’s a difference between healthy, respectful debate, and just being a bunch of venomous trolls, which doesn’t help promote anyone’s point of view.

  • Beebs:

    Yeah. Um, Colin? Give it a rest? I don’t know about Rechelle, but some of you who seem to have set up residency here are kinda scarin’ me! And I skip reading your posts, btw.

    Rechelle, I just posted on your other thread about hurting feelings and then just now read the post from your mom. (I’m assuming it’s real.) I hope you had a great trip with her.

    Just SAVE your outfit from this trip – and in 10 years wear it to NYC again and you’ll be golden.