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Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation
Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation | Kristin Kobes Du Mez
A scholar of American Christianity presents a seventy-five-year history of evangelicalism that identifies the forces that have turned Donald Trump into a hero of the Religious Right. How did a libertine who lacks even the most basic knowledge of the Christian faith win 81 percent of the white evangelical vote in 2016? And why have white evangelicals become a presidential reprobates staunchest supporters? These are among the questions acclaimed historian Kristin Kobes Du Mez asks in Jesus and John Wayne, which delves beyond facile headlines to explain how white evangelicals have brought us to our fractured political moment. Challenging the commonly held assumption that the moral majority backed Donald Trump for purely pragmatic reasons, Du Mez reveals that Donald Trump in fact represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of white evangelicals most deeply held values. Jesus and John Wayne is a sweeping account of the last seventy-five years of white evangelicalism, showing how American evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism, or in the words of one modern chaplain, with a spiritual badass. As Du Mez explains, the key to understanding this transformation is to recognize the role of culture in modern American evangelicalism. Many of todays evangelicals may not be theologically astute, but they know their VeggieTales, theyve read John Eldredges Wild at Heart, and they learned about purity before they learned about sexand they have a silver ring to prove it. Evangelical books, films, music, clothing, and merchandise shape the beliefs of millions. And evangelical popular culture is teeming with muscular heroesmythical warriors and rugged soldiers, men like Oliver North, Ronald Reagan, Mel Gibson, and the Duck Dynasty clan, who assert white masculine power in defense of Christian America. Chief among these evangelical legends is John Wayne, an icon of a lost time when men were uncowed by political correctness, unafraid to tell it like it was, and did what needed to be done. Trump, in other words, is hardly the first flashy celebrity to capture evangelicals hearts and minds, nor is he the first strongman to promise evangelicals protection and power. Indeed, the values and viewpoints at the heart of white evangelicalism todaypatriarchy, authoritarian rule, aggressive foreign policy, fear of Islam, ambivalence toward #MeToo, and opposition to Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ communityare likely to persist long after Trump leaves office. A much-needed reexamination, Jesus and John Wayne explains why evangelicals have rallied behind the least-Christian president in American history and how they have transformed their faith in the process, with enduring consequences for all of us.
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tphil10283
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It‘s a very interesting story about the White American evangelical Christian movement and the psychotic nature of the situation. I know it‘s not representative of the whole movement but it‘s very damning nevertheless.

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brittanybooks
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Wow! This was an incredible read/listen. It took me a long time to get through but it was so worth it. I had the hardest time understanding how the “family values” folks could behave and vote en masse the way that they do… but this helps provide some insight on DJT‘s rise to power. This was recommended by Jen on #fundiefridays and is a 10/10 #book81of2022

KathyWheeler I‘ve had this book for awhile but haven‘t yet been able to bring myself to read it. 4mo
Maria514626 Oooh! This sounds good! Well not *good*. I just finished the tagged book so I‘ll have to give myself a pause before picking it up. 4mo
Graywacke Those quotes you posted…They‘re so painfully true. 4mo
yash_sy Hi,
My name is Yash Patel, a UX designer by profession. I am designing an app for avid readers like you, where you can borrow & lend your books over the internet across the city/state level. For this, I am conducting the survey. I would appreciate it if you spare a few minutes and participate in this survey.
Here is the link: https://forms.gle/FV68nCWMXNx1H1WD6
3mo
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brittanybooks
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brittanybooks
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brittanybooks
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brittanybooks
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Jedi_Bruno
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Fascinating insight into the Evangelical Movement and how it came to support Donald Trump despite its morally conservative values. Helps me make sense of my upbringing and the current environment I see.

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swynn
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Why did white evangelicals, who have spent the last century or so calling for "moral" leaders and "family values," turn out in such high numbers for a vicious little crook like Donald Trump? Du Mez argues that white evangelicalism has a strong strain of patriarchal authoritarianism, which valorizes brawlers and bullies. Hence, Trumpism. It's more polemical than I expected, but it's a polemic I am 100% here for because it matches my experience

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CRR
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Wow. An interesting book that dug into and began explaining so many different levels. It shed so much light on so many confusing things that have happened in evangelical circles over the years. And sadly continue to happen. This book is highly criticized in evangelical circles—but it would be helpful for many to read and consider. Tough read in some ways but powerful.

swynn I'm reading this now and agree: this explains. So. Much. 9mo
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BrienneE
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I‘m stunned at how little I understood the complexities and connections of religion, political influence, and gender expectations. This book helped connect so many dots for me I didn‘t know I needed. Highly recommend.

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melissajayne
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4.5⭐️ A really fascinating look at white evangelical churches in the United States. As a Canadian, I‘m seeing the sort things creeping in and honestly I am starting to rethink going to church services on weekends. #2022 #bookstagram #bookreview #nonfiction

Riveted_Reader_Melissa That sounds like an interesting read. Stacking! 9mo
melissajayne @Riveted_Reader_Melissa it was a very interesting read 9mo
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melissajayne
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1) Tagged book, Sense & Sensibility, A Promises Land, Sunflower Sisters

2) God Spare the Girls

3) Reading, watching TV, listening to podcasts, laundry

#weekendreads

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melissajayne
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I will be reading the tagged book, finish up the #wutheringheights #readalong, work on Sense and Sensibility, A Promised Land and Sunflower Sisters for #weekendreading #wanderingthroughwutheringheights

jessjess I had a couple of holds come in on Libby so I get to choose! I think I'll start with A Fire Story 10mo
Andrew65 Have a great reading weekend. 10mo
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melissajayne
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Am about halfway through the book and I‘m just so fucking disgusted. I think I‘m disgusted because I see it in my own church. I definitely don‘t see this sort of stuff being portrayed in my parents marriage. They have a role reversal in that my dad does the grocery shopping and the cleaning and he does his own laundry and he makes dinner most nights. And he‘s done these things for at least 25 years.

melissajayne But my mom is the one when they have guests that she plans the menus; she can‘t physically do the housework (she‘s had bad knees for 30 years and dad took over stuff when she went to work on her Masters and PhD). I am sure she would do more if it wasn‘t for her bad knees or hip or back or whatever long Covid symptoms she has had for the past two years. 10mo
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Pedrocamacho
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The case made in this book that patriarchy is the guiding force behind modern evangelicalism is compelling and hard to deny. If you desire a way to view modern politics, especially the right, this is the place to start.

I found the discussions of how evangelicals view masculinity particular hard to listen to. Honestly, in my mind, nothing is less masculine than being performatively masculine all of the time. How little one must be.

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bio_chem06
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1. Jonathan Tropper, Taylor Jenkins Reid, Stephen King (however, I expect this to change with my mood and time 🤪)
2. It seems so basic but I loved the name Hermione 3. Jesus and John Wayne #wonderouswednesday

Eggs ❤️ Hermione too ❤️ 12mo
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teresareads
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Started reading this today, and I can tell it's going to be a thinker. I was a member of a conservative evangelical church as a 20something in the 90s and most of my social circle was evangelical at the time. There are aspects of evangelicalism today that I recognize and aspects I do not. I chafed against a lot of the teaching, but I don't remember it being suffused with such meanness. I pray my friends from those days found a better path.

teresareads The thing I kept thinking reading the intro is that even when my friends and teachers expressed retrograde views, many of which I found objectionable then and now, they didn't seem glad about it. It was just what the Bible said, so, well, they were obedient. It didn't feel mean, which might make it even more insidious. 12mo
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Amie
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This was difficult to get through because I was so enraged by what I learned.

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rebbyj
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Beautiful. Difficult.

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Scochrane26
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An interesting book, although sometimes I lost attention because the narrator‘s voice is very soothing. The white men in this book are so scared of feminists and lgbtq—it‘s funny. The only part that really angered me was the last 2 hrs when sexual abuse was addressed. Finally answered my question of why this group loves Trump. Also, I don‘t think they read the same Bible as I do.
Years ago, I had a client who had finally left her husband. 👇

Scochrane26 He was abusive & threatened her with a gun. She called their pastor, who came & prayed w/ husband instead of calling the police. After she left him, she got calls from other church members telling her she should return to him. Wouldn‘t be surprised if she eventually did. I still think of her & am angry when hearing about conservative evangelicals. 1y
Scochrane26 @TheAromaofBooks Almost forgot to tell you this is my #bookspin for September. 1y
TheAromaofBooks Great progress!! 1y
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Christine
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I came here to post my review and discovered that the cool kids have been reading and discussing this lately! 😁 Happy to see that, as it‘s really, really good. Highly recommend both the book (see reviews by @britt_brooke and @megabooks for why!) and Dr. Du Mez overall - she‘s excellent in webinars/book talks and is such a clear and important voice right now.

mcctrish I just loved the title the second I heard it 🤣🤣 1y
Christine @mcctrish Right?? Just laying it all out there. 😆 Growing up immersed in this stuff, I thought I'd thought about the dynamics of this a lot, but I'd not quite internalized the extent to which it all leads back to masculinity and patriarchal authority - it really does. 1y
mcctrish The Conservative party in Canada is taking a page from this play book and an election has just been called ( we don‘t do 18 month election road shows like the US) so it‘s going to be an interesting month coming up 1y
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Megabooks It‘s such a great book! And thank you! Glad you liked it too. 😀 1y
britt_brooke Thanks for the love! 💚 It‘s a great read. I hope it makes it into many, many TBRs! 1y
Christine @mcctrish Ugh - best wishes for surviving that (though the lack of eternal road show does sound nice...)!
@Megabooks @britt_brooke Yes it's so good. We have done our duty in getting it on a few radars, I hope. :)
1y
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britt_brooke
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Fascinating and frustrating. Evangelicals are master business people. Du Mez, a scholar of American Christianity, explores decades of cultural evangelicalism and how we arrived in the Trump era. Gender roles, white supremacy, masculine Christianity (heaven forbid Jesus be depicted as slight with long, wavy hair and robes), and the wielding of political power are covered, backed by specific examples of “leaders” and their manipulations.

britt_brooke Thanks for the rec, Meg! @Megabooks 1y
Megabooks No problem! Fantastic review! 1y
britt_brooke @Megabooks Thanks! 💚 Btw, we used to live in Colorado Springs, only a couple of miles from both Focus on the Family and New Life Church so those parts were of particular interest. I mean, we knew both organizations were pretty bonkers, but I like seeing them called out! (edited) 1y
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Megabooks @britt_brooke interesting! It seems like that is a very conservative town given how many evangelical organizations are there. Was that the case? 1y
britt_brooke @Megabooks Yes, extremely - and it‘s really interesting considering Colorado as a whole is quite liberal. There are liberal parts of the Springs, too, though, just not the majority. There are several military bases there as well (the army brought us there) and many service people lean conservative so that could be a lot of the population. These organizations prey/pray on them. 😉 (edited) 1y
Scochrane26 @britt_brooke @Megabooks This is on my tbr, too. After listening to Empire of Pain, I‘m taking a break from being pissed off though. 🤣 1y
Megabooks @Scochrane26 lol Shannon! Probably advisable, but I definitely recommend this book when it‘s the right time! 1y
Megabooks I flew into Colorado Springs on my way to meet a bf‘s family in Pueblo. He was quite liberal and now lives in Denver. I can see how the whole macho Jesus thing would appeal to military members. Jesus ain‘t no sandal-wearing‘ sissy! 🤣 1y
britt_brooke @Scochrane26 Empire of Pain is in my TBR. I think I‘ll hold off for a bit on that one, too. 😂 1y
britt_brooke @Megabooks 😂😂 I feel like some of these people wanna picture Jesus as a John Cena-like big muscled up white dude. It never occurred to me to imagine him as anything other than the classic depictions I‘ve seen in churches and on my memaw‘s wall …. except his skin should be a couple shades darker. It‘s weird how people forget where he actually came from. 1y
Christine Interesting re: Colorado Springs! I knew little about the culture there until this book. I did know Focus on the Family all too well, though...growing up my (Lutheran but actually hardcore evangelical) church - and by extension my home - was full of their “literature.“ 🤦‍♀️ @megabooks 1y
Christine This podcast about that Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll is pretty interesting/enraging (even though it doesn't go nearly far enough in its analysis, IMO): https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/podcasts/rise-and-fall-of-mars-hill/ (edited) 1y
britt_brooke @Christine Thanks for the link - definitely going to check it out! 1y
Megabooks @britt_brooke exactly!! Like I don‘t think carpenters were that jacked back then!! 1y
Megabooks @Christine thanks for the podcast link! Just commented over on yours. 👍🏻 1y
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Megabooks
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It all comes back to protecting the patriarchy and Jesus as a warrior.

Du Mez looks back from turn of the 20th century to now and examines at the evolution of evangelism and its effect on American culture and politics, from Billy Graham and John Wayne to Ted Haggard and Duck Dynasty. Since the Regan era, evangelism has been framed at big strong men protecting women‘s virtue, which led to things from purity balls to the election of 45. ⬇️

Megabooks ⬆️ This is one of the most fascinating books I‘ve read this year. As a southerner, it explains a lot of the things in my community and within parts of my family. (I‘m the crazy liberal niece/cousin.) The evolution of Jesus and his followers into warriors for the cause of Christianity makes sense with the toxic patriarchy I see everyday. (edited) 1y
Ruthiella I‘d never heard the term “purity balls”. My first thought was testicles! 😂 Turns out, I had completely the wrong idea. 1y
Megabooks @Ruthiella yes! Definitely not testicles! 😂😂😂 1y
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DrexEdit The crusades--they're not just for the medieval ages anymore! 😬 😄 1y
vivastory Not book related, but there's an excellent documentary that deals with similar topic but about the indoctrination of the youth: Jesus Camp 1y
Branwen I'm the crazy liberal in my family too! 😁👏 1y
Branwen @vivastory I've watched that documentary! It's fascinating and horrifying at the same time! 1y
Megabooks @DrexEdit unfortunately…😬 Part of the problem is that it sets up and us vs them dichotomy just for the purpose of making Christians feel “persecuted” and keeping them in line. I couldn‘t think of a less persecuted group than white Christian men! (edited) 1y
Megabooks @vivastory @Branwen I keep meaning to watch that. It pops up in my Hulu in “things you may like” but I‘m really bad at concentrating on tv! 1y
Megabooks @Branwen let‘s hear it for crazy liberals!! 👏🏻🙌🏻 1y
kspenmoll @Megabooks @Branwen 🙌🏻🙌🏻 1y
Cinfhen Sounds fascinating!!! You keep posting the best books 🧡 1y
Cinfhen And im totally gonna look for that documentary @vivastory 1y
vivastory @Cinfhen I watched it years ago but it always stuck with me. 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen thanks!! It‘s on hoopla. The sound didn‘t work for me on there (too quiet for my phone - hoopla often is 🤷🏻‍♀️). Anyway, I waited for Libby and I ended up loving it!! 1y
Cinfhen Ohhh, good to know!!! I‘ll check my #Hoopla and #Libby xx 1y
Cinfhen The concept of Jesus Camp is a little scary to me… but I guess it‘s no different than kids going to Jewish overnight camps??!! Or I could be wrong…curious to see @vivastory 1y
Megabooks @Cinfhen I think Jesus Camp is more like the scary school I read about in this book, but I may be wrong. I think the author mentioned the doc in the epilogue. This book was rough!! (edited) 1y
vivastory @Megabooks @cinfhen I haven't read Jesus Land. Yeah, there are Christian summer camps but Jesus Camp is the far right wing version of that. It's the kind of camp where they teach that Harry Potter leads to Satanism 1y
Megabooks @vivastory yeah, the reform school in Jesus Land is one of those super strict abusive ones, so slightly different, but still one that twists and perverts Christianity to fit their aims. 1y
Scochrane26 @Megabooks @vivastory Since I‘m fortunate to not be Evangelical, my church camp loves to use HP, LOTR, Star Wars, Willy Wonka, etc as themes. We are all geeky. I had a group a few years ago who would discuss Doctor Who for hrs. I saw this book somewhere recently, maybe on Litsy, & it def sounds interesting. 1y
Megabooks @Scochrane26 I‘m liberal mainline Protestant, and my church also has no problem with sci-fi or fantasy. I haven‘t been at the church camp in years, but I know it hasn‘t been a problem for youth in Sunday school. 1y
Cinfhen So VERY EXTREME @vivastory @Megabooks Probably NOT like Jewish overnight camp but more like @Scochrane26 summer camp experience! Which sounds the way camp should be 😁 1y
britt_brooke @vivastory Oh yes. Jesus Camp is disturbing. And I agree with @Megabooks with the comparison to Jesus Land. It‘s a good read! (edited) 1y
britt_brooke Well, this is right up my alley. #stacked 1y
britt_brooke Ooh, my library has it available! 🙌🏼 1y
Megabooks @britt_brooke awesome! Excited to read your review! 1y
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Megabooks
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I‘m so excited for this! #hoopla does have it, but the sound is bad on my phone. I‘m hoping it will explain to me why one of the local churches sent people to the Jan 6 riots.

AlaMich Yes, this one sounds very interesting to me, too. But I really haven‘t been able to get myself to read books like this; they just stimulate so much anger in me, and I already have enough of that circulating on my brain. 1y
Megabooks @AlaMich true. It‘s going back in history towards the roots of it, which I like. Chapter one is starting all the way back at Teddy Roosevelt. 1y
KathyWheeler I started this book, but I encountered a mention of Trump and couldn‘t deal, so I put it down for awhile. I‘ll go back and finish it. 1y
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Megabooks @KathyWheeler oh yeah, it‘s definitely about why Trump was eventually elected. Now that he‘s not in office, I want to read why it happened to help prevent it happening again. Or at least do what I can. 1y
youngreadrshelf Just based on the title, I thought the author would be Kinky Friedman. 1y
Chelsea.Poole My father-in-law and my BFF are both reading this right now! I need to! 1y
KathyWheeler @Megabooks I have a friend who was raised evangelical Christian and is still Christian (just not evangelical.) She recommended this book to me to help me understand what happened. 1y
Megabooks @youngreadrshelf I had actually never heard of him, but after I looked him up, I definitely agree! 1y
Megabooks @Chelsea.Poole 👯‍♀️ it‘s so fun having someone reading the same books around the same time this year!! 👍🏻 1y
Megabooks @KathyWheeler yes, I‘ve just started it because I‘m still finishing up another audiobook, but it talks about the ubiquity of cultural evangelism and the large role it plays in American politics. (Cultural evangelism is everything from watching veggietales to listening to focus on the family to reading Christian romance.) 1y
youngreadrshelf @Megabooks yep. Showing my age. But his books definitely made me laugh. 1y
Centique @Megabooks I feel ya Lainie! I‘m not even in the US and I can‘t deal with it either. But then I did have a bit of a confrontation with an old friend ( confrontation is not my usual MO 😬) so once I recover from that I may be able to read more about cultural evangelism. I am fascinated by how it became so huge in the US. 1y
Megabooks @Centique It is huge here, and this is explains parts of the timeline and connections I didn‘t know. Cultural evangelism has just had a huge influence on many people I know and my community, and I like reading things that help me make sense of the world. This is definitely falling in that realm. (edited) 1y
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mcctrish
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This book was quite the eye opener! Decades of evangelical madness, their way or the highway 🤯 WWJD drives them but not Jesus Jesus ( he‘s a long haired hippie freak girlie man preaching love and understanding) they want a John Wayne/Braveheart/G I Joe crossbreed that takes no prisoners, wins at any cost, suffers no fools. Woman and kids are seen not heard, white men are the best of the best 🤮🤮

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mcctrish
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Sheets on the line even with the weather app saying a storm is brewing and audio weeding to try and stay ahead of garden mayhem. I moved a few plants around too 🤞🏻and trimmed some tree branches

sleepy.ash87 Homesteading feels good! 1y
Endowarrior21 I miss having a clothes line 1y
mcctrish @Endowarrior21 honestly I‘m dating myself using one I think?! I don‘t know anybody who uses one but me 😢 when we moved in 20+ years ago and we were doing some small renovations ( so much wallpaper, so much carpet over hardwood) I asked the contractor to fix it ( leaning like the tower of Pisa, no actual line) and he said “you will actually use it?” Hard yes 🙌🏻 1y
Endowarrior21 @mcctrish I rent a house right now and my landlord said no to it so I hoping by next year when we move I can put one up in the new place seeing I grew up with one and have always loved the smell of items from the clothes line. 1y
mcctrish @Endowarrior21 my fingers are crossed for you ( there is some serious clothesline discrimination out there) the smell of fresh laundry is everything 1y
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mcctrish
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Out audio walking and wishing these people were home so I could ask them where their cool garden art was from

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mcctrish
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Finishing one audio book and started the next. I‘m driving all over town today doing errands so bring on the audio books. I heard about this here, so thank you Littens for always having my book back 😘😘

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Kangaj1
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Barely made my #doublespin for May, but I did it. @TheAromaofBooks

TheAromaofBooks Great progress! 2y
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KathyWheeler
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A friend of mine who grew up in the evangelical tradition recommended this book to me. I didn‘t grow up in churches like this and often am puzzled by them. So this is my beach reading today. I usually read lighter fare at the beach, but apparently nothing I brought was light; I also have Kristen Hannah‘s The Four Winds and Stephen King‘s The Institute.

Tomigirl44 This book was recently recommended to me but I haven‘t started it yet - I look forward to hearing what you think of it. 2y
KathyWheeler @Tomigirl44 My husband read it and said he learned nothing new but some things were clarified for him; however, he grew up in this tradition. I expect to learn some things. 2y
Tomigirl44 It‘s the theological world I grew up in, so it will be familiar, but like your husband, I think some things will be clarified and make more sense, especially since politics weren‘t really talked about when I was growing up. 2y
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Reggie Lol. That is quite the beach read! 2y
KathyWheeler @Tomigirl44 I wonder if the politics of the evangelicals were different years ago, because my husband cannot support what they do now, and if my in-laws were still alive, I don‘t believe they would either. 2y
KathyWheeler @Reggie yeah — it was a bit much. Luckily I had brought my Kindle along and was able to switch to something else. Although, come to think of it, what I switched to — P. Djeli Clark‘s Ring Shout was pretty dark too. 2y
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howjessicareads
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This was INTENSE. But explains so much about evangelical support for Trump. 😑 #howjessreads2021

AlaMich Thanks! It sounds great and I‘m downloading the audiobook. 😊 2y
howjessicareads I would say “Enjoy” @AlaMich ; but I don‘t think it‘s quite the right word. 😅 2y
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KS1805
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If you‘re like me, someone who misses their faith but recognizes that the shadow of fundamentalism lives over their belief, this book may be just what you need to step into the light. It pretty plainly lays out all the rotten fruit of the conservative/fundamentalist/evangelical movement in the country.

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