Non-Catholics, say hello!

February 24, 2014 | 250 comments


One of my favorite comment threads in recent memory was the wonderful response I got to my post about attending the IF Gathering. Not only was the discussion great (seriously — check out those comments), but I was tickled by the emails and direct messages I got from non-Catholic friends saying, “I didn’t know other Protestants read your blog!”

Since many of the conversations that happen here are a lot of us Papists talking to one another, I wanted to take a moment to shine the spotlight on you all so that we can get to know you better. I’d be delighted if you’d take a moment to answer the questions below. And this is open to anyone who’s not Catholic — people of all faiths (or no faith) are welcome too.

. . .

1. What is your denomination? Or, if you’re not Christian, what is your belief system?

2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change?

3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine?

4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?

5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion.

. . .

I am really looking forward to reading your answers. I can’t wait to get to know you better!

I’m writing seven posts in seven days this week. To check out other bloggers who are doing the same, see the list here.


  1. Beth

    1. Episcopalian. Sometimes called Catholic-lite, for those who like more liturgy, less pope :).

    2. My parents have a mixed marriage. My father is Roman Catholic; my mother, Southern Baptist. Thus meaning I was raised with no specific religlious tradition whatsoever. When I moved to Auburn, AL to teach, the house we chose came with an awesome neighbor on o e side, and an Episcopal church across the street. My 70 year old neighbor walked there every Sunday and one day, I went with him. The rest is history.

    3. I love the Eucharistic prayer (though I could seriously live without form D). I also love watching my son who started serving as an acolyte this year.

    4. Our big prayer request this year, is that the remaining defects in our daughter’s head mend themselves (clearly, a God thing). She had reconstructive surgery as an infant and has slowly grown more bone, but we’re running out of time until there will need to be surgical intervention.

    5. I blog at I’ve been sporadic of late, but I feel a posting surge coming on. It’s about working as an online adjunct while homeschooling two kids and until recently caring for a very elderly dog.

    • Caroline M.

      Wait… does that mean you actually life form C?

    • Grace

      Beth, is your kiddo a craniosynostosis baby? Mine too! Sagittal craniosynostosis, and we are 1.5 years past surgery.

    • jen

      My Episcopal friends refer to Form C as “the Star Trek prayer”.

      • Lolly

        Eucharistic prayer C is my favorite!

        “This fragile earth, our island home”


  2. Laurie

    I’m not in a denomination… just a follower of my savior Jesus Christ.

    I wouldn’t say my spiritual beliefs have changed since I was young – moreso they have become more informed and more mature. As a child I was really mimicking my parents’ faith – now I have my own, tested and refined!

    My favorite thing about my worship is that I get to go! 🙂 There are so many threats and distractions to the gathering of believers – I love that my husband and I have found a Bible-teaching church that we have been able to plug into for true fellowship. I love to worship in song. I love the way God weaves His own message through my thoughts as I contemplate the message from our pastor. I love getting to be a part of the proclaiming of the gospel. It just makes my heart happy.

    Our family is in the process of getting approved to be a certified foster home. Pray for us! We are all excited about the prospect of learning and serving, but we are braced for all the unknowns that will test.

    Nothing to plug. 🙂

    • Bailey

      wow, congrats on the decision to foster!!

  3. Jesabes

    Why hello! I have to say first, it meant a lot to me to receive a response to my comments on your IF:Gathering posts. Thank you:)

    1. I am an Evangelical Christian, or at least I attend an evangelical church. I’m absolutely a Christian, but might be in another denomination if I ever truly searched through the nitty-gritty of what each believes.

    2. I grew up in an evangelical church. As I said, I still attend one. I align with almost all of what they say. My only sticking point is the whole evangelism thing. Seems like a huge part (its…the whole name), but I just have a hard time declaring my particular *specific* beliefs as better than anyone else’s and persuading them to ‘come to my side’.

    3. I’m very introverted, so charismatic-type services aren’t my favorite. (Although I’m comfortable with them as it’s all I’ve ever really known.) I enjoy singing worship songs, but am not a fan of hand raising or anything like that. I don’t even like to stand and prefer sitting. My favorite part of the services is when everyone sits quietly and listens to the sermon. (It helps that I really like our particular pastor’s style of teaching.)

    As far as powerfully encountering the divine, that’s something I also do through learning, specifically Bible studies. (The at-home part when I’m alone!) This may also be because I’m also more of a visual learner so things soak in more when I can see them. I’m doing a study now where I can’t count the number of times a particular sentence or Bible verse has struck me and revealed something about God.

    4. Honestly, although I’ve progressed in this department a lot over the last year, I would still love prayers about where I belong in the Christian and/or Protestant world. Is an evangelical church right for me? As I deliberately search out the answer I do feel God is leading me to stay and making me more comfortable with that but I would love prayers either way.

    Also, I’m having a baby in a little under two months so prayers for a safe delivery and healthy baby are always appreciated! (This is my third.)

    5. My blog is and I mostly write about myself. Ha! It started as sort of a mommy blog, but I found I don’t write about the kids as often as I would have thought. My main themes are reviews of books I’ve read or recipes I’ve made and chronicling my and my husband’s journey to do every one of Hallie’s 50 stay-at-home date nights. It’s a lot of fun.

    • Eva

      I visited a ‘hand raising’ type of church once and wanted to crawl under a chair and hide. Im definitely a ‘sitting down and listening’ kind of girl!

  4. Natasha

    Ha! This is one of the places I come to hang out with Catholics and learn more about the Catholic faith. I know there are lots of us out here who do this! Anyway this is me:

    1. What is your denomination? – I’m an Anglican in the Church of England, which makes me Protestant, but I would describe myself as Anglo-Catholic ( and obviously I think the concept protestant vs papist sucks…I’m actually a Lay Minister within our church so I spend a lot of time there but also attend local Baptist, Methodist & Catholic churches from time to time. (THAT WAS THE SHORT ANSWER.)

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger?
    If so, why did they change? – Yes and no. I wasn’t raised Christian, or even baptised. I chose to attend church as a youngster but never made it to confirmation. During my teenage years and early adulthood I would have described myself as atheist, but experienced a powerful conversion in my twenties (which is how I found Jen’s blog in the first place!).

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine? – I would have to say, the thing that draws me most to our High Anglican Church is receiving communion. The Eucharist is the biggie for me, it draws me in even when I wouldn’t otherwise feel like getting out of bed!

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? – Today, just a wider understanding of each other and each other’s faith.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion – You can find me blogging semi-regularly at Strength and Song. Some of you may already know of me – I know Jen came across me a while back when I blogged as Muttering Mother. Disclaimer: my last blog posts contains a reference to BOOBS. In the context of something holy and sacred. Tread carefully 🙂

  5. Shanna

    Hi Jen,
    41 yrs, 4 kids in 6 years
    1) Just began attending a church that is Reformed Baptist (watched If there), I cannot say I have denomination really…leading to question #
    2)Baptized Catholic, attended church max of 6 times. Grandma almost a nun but fell in love, breakdown occurred in my mom’s childhood, bad circumstances-all she remembers of church is being starving hungry (maybe sometimes because there wasn’t much food at home). So I struggle with the discomfort that behaviors feel very awkward in relation to worshipping and speaking about religion, while my mind and values have grown more conservative each year since I was 22 and realized I was prolife (!!! Even after all that cultural brainwashing!!) The more I have learned about the Bible the more I find myself thinking how amazing it is that one book could have so much wisdom. Leading me to say in totally serious tone, ( to myself) “Well I wonder what the Bible has to say about that?” Very hilarious to me having grown up immersed in the popular attitude that only “dumb religious” people would say that! I began crossing myself around my twenties almost unconsciously…
    3) I like to just sit and listen to the sermon, in fact I could probably listen to several hours of sermons. I really don’t like worship music with a noisy band! I find gospel music or one beautiful talented voice singing alone the most beautiful. I like Gregorian chant also.
    4)Prayers for my younger sister and immediate family to have strength to keep battling her cancer. It is now three years of nearly constant struggle and we are thinned and weary, but her cancer never tires.
    5) –
    I have found this blog fascinating Jen. I also watched your shows the other night and have been reading other Catholic blogs and read Pope Awesome in one sitting. Looking forward to your book too! Many things seem to point me to Catholicism but I become upset! I just managed to go to a church at all and then more research leads to all these competing ideas! The whole concept of thinking over feeling really speaks to me. Also, ancient tradition, I even wanted to be Jewish for a while! I always wished I had a classical education and knew Latin and Greek and could just sit around reading all the time. I guess I am to tired to think clearly but reading a lot of conversion stories has shown the road is sometimes long and winding.

    • Anne McD

      Hi Shanna– I’ll keep your sister in my prayers– mine is a two time cancer survivor. Prayers for a full healing!! 🙂

  6. JS

    1. I’m not religious. I came across your blog because I started using NFP. NFP has had a huge effect on the way I see the world and now my religious views could best be described as confused.
    2. I was raised Catholic and drifted away in high school and college. NFP has given me really mixed feelings on if I’m satisfied being away from the church.
    3. I’m not currently attending services. My biggest concern about going back to the church is I feel no real connection to the divine, even when I attend mass when visiting my parents.
    4. I would appreciate prayer for finding more compassion for pro-choice people. Our society is broken and has established a situation where women with unexpected pregnancies often have no support. Many pro-choicers honestly believe (incorrectly) that they are helping women by supporting the women in ending the thing that is going to put them in a hopeless circumstance. Please pray for the pro-choicers to learn that it isn’t compassionate to help these women end their pregnancies and that celebrating the life these women are bringing to the world and give them the support they need.

    • The other Becky

      About your no. 4: believe me, many of us are praying for that daily.

      • TheresaEH


    • Mariam

      That is indeed an important prayer.

    • Dori

      I’m with you when it comes to needing compassion for pro-choicers. I truly don’t understand how people can think a fetus isn’t a person!

      May I ask what your reasons are for using NFP?

      • JS

        Basically lots of bad reactions to different types of contraception and realizing it imprisoning me more than giving me freedom. After some desperate searching, the internet led me to NFP. The funny thing about NFP is if makes the thought of a baby much less terrifying.

        • Meghann

          JS, I had a powerful re-conversion to the Catholic Church (even though I never really left it) after my husband and I went through classes to learn NFP. Yes, it does make the thought of pregnancy and babies less terrifying, simply by acknowledging that life in and of itself is a Good thing, a Gift, and not the disease our culture wants to make everyone believe it is. God bless you, and many prayers offered your way and for your intentions.

        • Bonnie

          JS – Just want to say, so glad you stop by here and read. I love what you say about why you are using NFP. I honestly believe it’s wrong to not teach NFP to women, since it actually informs and teaches us about our own bodies, and it seems to give more control over our own fertility, not less. I am a pro-life Catholic, and against birth control per se, but even without a religious reason, I think knowing NFP would help so many women to decide what they needed to do for their own health. I bet a lot of women would love to get off the pill, or IUD or whatever they are using, if they thought they could have a measure of control over their pregnancies. I’m glad you’re here, because your insight on these matters is important. God Bless.

    • Joel

      “My biggest concern about going back to the church is I feel no real connection to the divine, even when I attend mass when visiting my parents.”

      Boy, does that resonate with me! I have never felt as connected to the divine as I did at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Philadelphia.

      So how did I end up Catholic, and running a parish RCIA program at that?

      One bright September Sunday in 1977, I walked out of St. Mark’s after a particularly moving and glorious service, crossed Rittenhouse Square and happened to glance at the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

      I spotted a headline that was like a dagger to my heart. With a feeling of dread, I realized in looking at that headline that I couldn’t remain an Episcopalian. (No, I don’t recall the headline.)

      The next Sunday I returned to St. Mark’s, where I had always felt deeply content and would leave feeling absolutely glorious. This time, after the service, I stepped into another bright, sunny September Sunday. But I felt absolutely dead.

      So I went church shopping. Nothing – not Baptist, not Presbyterian, not Swedenborgian, not Unity – seemed right. Finally, I went to the nearest Catholic Church, because the happiest and nicest people I knew were all Catholics.

      No, I didn’t experience that same divine connection that I had had at St. Mark’s. But what I did note was that the hymns spoke directly to me – you know, “Make me a channel of your peace” and “He will raise you up on eagle’s wings.” And the preaching wasn’t theoretical; it was directly connected to what I should do in the coming week to live a Christian life.

      I went back the next week, and had the same experience – not a soaring, mystical experience but rather a feeling that I was hearing the wisdom of Jesus Christ, that I was hearing truth.

      I began to wonder if perhaps the Catholic Church wasn’t the place I should be. So I began reading. I started with some fast and breezy convert stories. Eventually I was given “The Teaching of Christ”, which was the first English-language catechism after Vatican II. I found explanations for a number of things I had wondered about as an Episcopalian, and answers to a lot of other questions.

      I read Cardinal Newman and a number of other books.
      One night, lying on my bunk at Fort Indiantown Gap, while reading I became overwhelmed with the feeling that I had to become Catholic. I went to the Catholic chaplain the next day who told me I’d need to go through formal instruction. Eventually I was received into the church.

      In the 30-plus years since I came into the church, I have continued to read and to learn. What I have found is that one every one of the “hot-button” moral topics, the church’s teaching has been supported by modern science. You’ve had a taste of that with NFP.

      I’ve never had the sort of mystical, emotional feeling I had at St. Mark’s. But I have felt, as I have listened to readings at Mass, and as I have done daily scripture readings and read other Catholic books that God has spoken directly to me. Let me give just one example:

      As a businessman, I’ve amassed a lot of debt. One day earlier this year I was listening to the readings and heard, “Owe nothing to anyone.” (Romans 13:8). I was shaken to my core. I came home, did some quick calculations and found that if I didn’t pay those debts off quickly, the interest I would pay would be the equivalent of a decent sized retirement account. So I began developing a plan to reduce and extinguish those debts as quickly as possible.

      This wasn’t the first time since I became Catholic that I’ve had the feeling the Lord was speaking directly to me – something I never experienced as an Episcopalian.

      So, JS, this is a long way of saying if you feel you’re being called back to the church, you probably are. Start with some reading (you might find, if you’re a woman, Colleen Carroll Campbell’s book, My Sisters the Saints, would be good; it’s her conversion story). You might also read “The God Who Never Fails,” Scott Hahn’s “Reasons to Believe,” G.K. Chesterton’s “Mere Christianity,” “The Teaching of Christ,” “Triumph: The Power and Glory of the Catholic Church” and “What’s So Great About Christianity” by Dinesh D’Souza. Finally, check out

      I’ll pray for you.

  7. Kari

    This is a fun one! I’ve been reading your blog for a long time, and enjoy your writing so much :).

    1. I attend a Baptist church, but that’s mostly because that’s where a friend brought me in high school. I don’t identify myself as a Baptist, but as an evangelical Christian.

    2. I didn’t grow up attending church or hearing anything about Jesus, and I came to faith in Christ when I was 18. So my life is radically different now than it was in my childhood and teens. My husband and I (and our kids) are the only Christians on my side of the family, but we continue to pray :).
    I think it was your conversion story that I might have originally stumbled across as my first introduction to your blog!

    3. My favourite things about our worship services include worshiping in song and how God uses our pastor to speak truth into my life. I’ve always been very involved in music, and it draws me into worship very quickly.

    4. I have a serious chronic illness, and I’m struggling to find my place in serving the Lord and blessing others while lacking the means to do either in any traditional sense. Thank you for your prayers :).

    5. I started a little business making children’s products a few years back to keep my hands busy since I’m not able to be up and moving around. It provides an awesome sense of normalcy for me :). My website is if anyone wants to check out.

    Thanks so much for the invitation to participate! I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts, and read many of them to my husband. I’m always challenged, encouraged and left smiling 🙂

    • Cynthia

      I understand about the chronic illness and trying to find your place of service. One of the hardest things for me was when my health reached a point that I had to give up serving as a lay Eucharistic minister because I was unable to move around well enough on the altar. I also began forgetting what I was suppose to say.

      God will show you the way to serve Him in His own way and His own time.

  8. Sara

    1. I’m in the process of converting to Judaism under Orthodox auspices.
    2. I was baptised in the Danish Lutheran church, but I chose not to be confirmed which Scandinavian Lutherans are at age 14. Waffled around spiritually for a few years, then after I lost my father at age 18 I realised that I needed more to my religious life than just believing. Christianity didn’t sit well with me and I started learning about Judaism when I was 21, decided to convert at age 23 and I’m now 24 and in the process. So yes, my beliefs are different from when I was growing up.
    3. The community in the synagogue on Shabbat. I love hearing the Torah read even though my Hebrew isn’t great yet. That aside, I love daily prayer at home.
    4. You could pray that I get through the next 7 weeks alright. I’m in nursing school clinicals at a psychiatric hospital and it’s bringing back some stuff from my personal history.
    5. No blog.

    • Bonnie

      I just finished reading Pope Benedict XVI’s book Jesus of Nazareth vol. 1. He makes the interesting point that Jesus IS the Torah (the Word made flesh). You know, Benedict is such a scholar, and he bases his insight not just on theology, but on other scholarly work and his own knowledge. Benedict goes on to say that it was this very self identification that so outraged the Pharisees of the time. You can see why it would. It it sure is something to reflect about.
      A book you might be interested that Benedict cites is “A Rabbi Talks with Jesus” by Jacob Neusner. The Pope found it very instructive as to the Jewish point of view of Jesus, and what Jesus was actually saying. I plan to read that next.
      In any case, if you love the Torah, maybe God is leading you deeper into Himself via The Word. Interesting, no?
      God Bless.

      • Sara

        The Word made Flesh argument isn’t new to me, but in my opinion it’s the argument of someone who doesn’t know a whole lot about Torah and Talmud and the Jewish view of G-d. I haven’t read Neusner’s book but I’m familiar with his name.
        There are several things about Christianity that I just can’t accept, that I truly don’t feel in my heart of hearts, which is what pushed me from the Lutheran church into agnosticism. I don’t want to spell them out here, because it won’t make any difference to anyone. To be a little blunt, no, I don’t find it interesting, because it’s nothing that I haven’t heard before and it doesn’t make sense to me. If I felt that way I’d have joined the Catholic church, already, but I don’t so I won’t.
        Thanks for you reply 🙂

  9. Valerie @ Momma in Progress

    1. I would say the denomination I identify most with and keep coming back to even after “trying” others is Lutheran (ELCA flavor). We don’t actually attend a church right now, though, so a more accurate answer might be “none.”

    2. I grew up going to Catholic mass, and most of my extended family is Catholic. What changed (short version) is I became way too liberal. 😉

    3. I’m more of a God is in the details kind of person.

    4. My father is extremely ill with a very rare form of meningitis. After months of slow slow slooooow progress, we suddenly thought we were going to lose him on Friday. He’s doing better now, but yes, if you are willing, please pray.

    5. I blog at Momma in Progress about parenting and homeschooling and general craziness.

  10. J. Johnson

    1) I’m Church of Christ.
    2) Growing up, I was raised American Baptist. As an adult, I converted to Catholicism, because my husband was raised Catholic, and I wanted us to go to church as a family after we adopted our children. (We switched to Church of Christ, because my children were the only black people in the church. CoC was the most diverse congregation with whose beliefs we agreed.)
    3) My favorite thing about our services, besides the excellent preaching, is the fact that our worship songs are a cappella. I love the sound of just the human voice. We can hear the words not covered by a band.
    4) I suppose patience, strength, and endurance as I continue to raise my children. My husband died of a stroke suddenly four years ago. My son is blind and autistic, and my daughter is a junior in HS battling depression.
    5) Nothing to plug!

    • Reneee


      Catholics where I live don’t sing that often, if not the choir.

      I wish we would, more often.

      I was at a funeral for a non-Catholic and the whole Church sung Amazing Grace. It was wonderful.

    • Tina

      I would LOVE to chat with you! Just saw that your son is blind and autistic…SO IS MINE! If you would want to get in touch, my email is

      • Leticia Adams

        I miss the sound of a gospel choir now that I’m Catholic. I have heard that there are some really good ones around, but they are few and far between. I sometimes sneak into the Baptist church by my house just to hear a good gospel Choir. And I get what you are saying about there not being many black people in the pews of some Catholic parishes. When we got a new priest who is black I did cartwheels all the way to my car.

  11. Kristina

    This is such a neat idea! I love following your blog (and many of the other Catholic bloggers in this community like Grace and Kendra and Kathryn ) and even though we have different traditions and worship in different ways, I’m so encouraged by you ladies, as a Mom and in my faith walk.

    1. I’m Christian Reformed from Southern Ontario. Christian Reformed is a branch of Protestantism with its roots in Holland (just like Lutherans came from Germany and Presbyterians came from Scotland…).
    2. I grew up Anglican, (which is much closer to Catholic in terms of liturgy and relationship with the saints and the Blessed Mother) and after some time wandering from God in my twenties, God called me back to Himself and I became involved in the Christian Reformed community at my university and met my future husband through them.
    3. It is hard to choose one thing(!) but I’ll go with the Celebration of the Lord’s Supper (Holy Communion). This is celebrated quite differently from the Anglican Church of my youth, currently we celebrate it roughly once a month, where pieces of bread and little glasses of grape juice are passed around and the whole congregation eats and drinks in the same moment. It took my heart some time to adjust, but I’ve come to embrace it fully and appreciate the waiting and marking of the sacrament as extra special by celebrating it less often.
    4. As I mentioned before I’ve felt so encouraged by Jennifer and other talented Catholic bloggers, I love reading about how you raise your children in Godly ways. Please pray generally for your Protestant readers (and those of other backgrounds, and who have not found Christ), that this could continue to be a venue where believers can find common ground and put a face to the other.
    5. I blog at Catching up with Kristinawhere I’m taking up Jen’s 7 posts in 7 days challenge!

  12. amanda

    1. I started out in the Methodist church at birth, and my parents moved us to a Southern Baptist church when I was 7. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior at 5 and was baptized at the Baptist church at 7. I now consider myself a non-denominational follower of Christ, though my family still attends the church where I was baptized.

    2. My beliefs have grown to be more grounded in my identity in Christ as a victorious overcomer empowered by the Spirit rather than a sinner who is scared that she can never please God. I have come to understand that I am pleasing in His sight because of Jesus’ righteousness, and that’s been very freeing and has enabled me to walk more closely with Him instead of basing my view of Him on my stumbling and often sinful performance.

    3. Currently, I am not too smitten with our church’s worship service, but we are where the Lord wants us to be. I am most aware of His presence when I am meditating on His word with Him and when I am writing.

    4. Thank you for praying for me! I am coming down with a bad sore throat and sinus infection, and I have a lot of work to do this week at school before Spring Break starts. I’d like to be able to finish the work this week, so that I can enjoy my family during our break.

    5. I have written a novel: The Broken Road, which is available at Amazon here: It’s a Christian historical romance set in 1882 Colorado and is the first in a series (the second is with my publisher at the moment). The love story isn’t the focal part of the story, though, so it’s not mushy. 😉 The story is about a young widow finding her solace in Christ.

    Thank you! I love your blog and have read it for several years now.

  13. Lynne

    Whoa, coool comments! I’ve enjoyed reading about all of your various backgrounds and spiritual status. Thank you for sharing!

    Jen, I don’t wanna be a whiner, but is there any way you can enable follow up on comments? Maybe it would help us be more “chatty”. And also, can you enable links to open in a new window? Because I always want to open up the links, but I never want to leave your page. 🙂

    • Bailey

      Lynne, you should be able to open links in a new window/tab when you right-click on a link.

      • Lynne

        oh yea! thanks!

    • Karen G

      I am also loving reading the comments from everyone of various faith traditions and backgrounds. So glad you did this Jen.

      • Anne McD

        Me too! 🙂

  14. Tina

    1. I was raised Baptist and still hold to their tenet of Believer’s baptism, but more consider myself non-denominational now.

    2. When I was little, everyone else BESIDES Baptists were obviously NOT going to heaven! As an adult, um…NO. God’s a pretty big God, and Baptists don’t have that magical stairway to heaven! As long as your faith in Jesus is real, it’s cool.

    3. I would say my favorite thing is when there’s a sermon that makes me squirm…one that gets right to the heart of something I’ve either been actively struggling with or just outright trying to hide, I LOVE IT. God talking directly to me (at least it seems that way!).

    4. My worries for my special needs (Blind, developmentally delayed and high-functioning autistic) son Ethan. He’s 12 and we don’t know what the future holds for him. And I’m starting to worry, which I don’t want to do.


    I love reading your posts, Jen. You are such a REAL mom, and as a protestant it has been such an education on Catholicism! Thank you!

  15. Christine P.

    1. I was raised Baptist, spent some time in both the Brethren assemblies and an ecumenical charismatic prayer house, and then became an Anglican in my young twenties. So my formation is all over the place — when pressed, I call myself an anglobapticostal. (But really — I’m Anglican).

    2. They’re different in some ways — for example, I believe in the Real Presence at eucharist, where in the Baptist church communion is chiefly seen as an act of remembrance. But in essentials, I don’t think that a tonne has changed. I figure if we can all recite & believe the Creed(s), most of the rest is window dressing. We’re all Christians.

    3. I fell in love with Anglicanism because of the liturgy, especially when I started attending a regular sung evensong service. The Canadian 1962 Book of Common Prayer is a minute update from the 1662 BCP, and still uses all the traditional language. I love it. (And as an aside, I’m pretty happy that Anglican priests may marry, since my husband is currently on the ordination track!)

    4. My husband and I have experienced multiple pregnancy losses (no live births) and I think I miiiiight be pregnant again — still about a week early to test. Please pray for the health of the (maybe) baby, but most of all for our hearts, that God would give us the grace to trust Him no matter the outcome.

    • Julie

      Praying for you, Christine!

    • Little Wife

      Oh, Christine! Praying for you (and I’m so sorry for your losses!) Trusting God… it seems to be the theme of my day (and such a very difficult thing for me to do!)

  16. TheresaEH

    OHMY goodness! I will be popping back here a few more times today to read these comments of my brothers and sisters in Christ!! So interesting.
    Jen may I make a teeny suggestion….can you ask your readers (of all faiths) to recommend GOOD books that brought them closer to God. Winter has been so long here in North America, I am sure we all could use some new reading material eh 🙂
    I will lift up all of the comments on your blog at Mass this morning.

    • Eva

      Great idea- reading has been so important to me during this process!

  17. Amanda

    We go to the Methodist church now, but I wouldn’t say I’m a Methodist. Maybe garden variety Protestant. Evangelical. Jesus follower. I was raised Catholic by my Protestant father and now-Protestant-then-Catholic mother. We went to church and I participated in the sacraments but I never felt my heart engaged and it was meeting people of other traditions that drew me close to Jesus and that’s where I stayed.

    My favorite thing about our church is the people there. The sermons don’t always inspire me, but there are a lot of welcoming people trying to serve others.

    If you want to pray for me – I’m having trouble finding a good routine since I had my fourth baby. I’m anxious and tired and trying to homeschool and I don’t want to give up being open to more babies but I see why people do.

  18. Anne

    I’m Anglican. Baptized Anglican, grew up Anglican, and am still Anglican. My husband and I are both ordained and pastor an Anglican Church. Well, he does most all that stuff and I homeschool and fuss with the altar and teach Sunday school and do a bunch of pastoral care.
    I love our worship but I love my husband’s preaching the most. He has grown extraordinarily as a preacher of the last ten years. I am so grateful that I can listen to his preaching and be fed by it. Being the pastor’s wife is a dicey business and if you don’t like the sermon every Sunday, it can be a miserable place.
    I have blogged at undercurrentofhostility all these past eight years but an rolling it all into a new blog called Preventing Grace this week. Explanations forthcoming.
    My great prayer is that winter will end before I lose my soul.

    • Caroline M.

      I’m glad you posted this – I am excited to look at your blog! My husband’s ordination in the Episcopal church is coming up, and I’ll admit there’s a lot of trepidation (on my end) about being a priest’s wife. Thankfully I like my husband’s preaching too 🙂

      • Marissa

        I’m an Anglican priest’s wife, too. 🙂 Nice to “meet” you both. While I think my husband is skilled at preaching as well, one of the things I love about Anglicanism is that the sermon isn’t the “main point” of the service, you know? He can bomb the sermon and in some ways it doesn’t matter – people encounter Christ in the Eucharist and the liturgy and the music. So rich.

        Also, I love that the sermons are so short – ha! I’ve since visited non-denom churches of my pre-Anglican years, and it feels like 3-sermons-at-a-time. heh.

        And Caroline in my opinion being a priest’s wife is quite different from being a pastor’s wife. I was very nervous as well – I never intended to sign up for that and in fact remember being very clear in one of his interviews: they weren’t hiring both of us – they were hiring him. 😉 I suppose it depends on the parish and part of the country you live in, but I’ve found it to be much less expectation-laden then I …well…expected.

        And Anne – Yes! Spring soon!

        • Caroline M.

          That is my hope as well. I grew up in the Bible Belt with lots of evangelical churches where they hire thinking they’re getting a two-fer. It does seem to run differently in the Episcopal church, which I’m grateful for.

        • Tasoni

          Awww, Jen! I <3 you! Thanks for the shout-out :).

  19. Diane

    1. Searching! See #2
    2. I grew up in a home where no religion was practiced. As a teen who thought I was an atheist I started “searching”. At 19 I ended up joining the Mormon church. Spent 30 years as a faithful, devoted member, then my world was turned on end when I found out that I’d been deceived by their teachings. For the past 6 years since leaving them, I’ve gone to a few different non-denominational Christian churches. I’ve found that I have a deep aversion now to any organized “religion” (I think I’m finding it hard to trust again after giving my all for so long to the Mormons). I know I was drawn to your blog, Jen, because you were a former atheist. I want to know with all my heart that God does indeed exist, but I’m just not there 100% yet. Hence my “searching”. I read now about all religions (including atheism), hoping to find the answers that will bring me peace.
    3. Through music and art.
    4. I think that you’ll find the answer to this question by reading #2 🙂
    5. I have a blog, Peaceful Lane. It’s been ages since I posted on it, but there’s plenty on their to look at for those interested in crafts. The address is

    I wanted to add that I just LOVE your blog, Jen! I love your sense of humor, as does my husband. Whenever the word “scorpion” is mentioned, we look at each other, start laughing, and say “JEN!” lol! I live in the northeast and other than the lollipop with a scorpion encased in it that I once bought as a gag gift for my goofy son, I’ve never encountered one in person. But I have a TERRIBLE fear of mice, so I feel your pain lol!

      • Diane

        No, I haven’t read it, but it looks good! Oh what I wouldn’t give to spend a day with the author! One of the hardest things about coming out of Mormonism is not having people to talk to about it who really understand because they’ve “been there done that”! Most of the internet chat places I’ve run across over the years are filled with rabid atheist ex-Mormons who do not even want to talk about religion, or who mock it and those who still want to believe!

    • Karen G

      Praying for you Diane.

      • Diane

        Thank you!

  20. Meg

    When my Presbyterian mother and Baptist father had children and decided to get serious about church, they chose the Episcopalian denomination, and that is what I was raised in. About four years ago, our family’s search for a church lead us to an ELCA Lutheran church. Our pastor uses many parts of the Anglican worship–I spied a Book of Common Prayer on him during a service once.

    I definitely think about my faith now. I mean actively trying to see how it works with everyday life. How do I show my children how faith can work in our lives? Even scarier for me is this realization I’m having that following Jesus means spreading the Gospel. Getting out there and talking about it. As a former Episcopalian, that is not something we do!

    My favorite part of the service? Probably the sermons. We are blessed to have two very good preachers. I wish we had Communion weekly, but we only have it twice a month. There are practical reasons for this, but I still liked having it weekly like we did in the Episcopal church.

    Intentions to pray for? My husband recently lost his uncle unexpectedly. His cousins are reeling from their loss.

    I blog over at

  21. Carol Z

    I’m Jewish and was raised Jewish. Parents and extended family were very active in synagogue and we celebrated holidays — even some pretty obscure ones — and went to services. Still celebrate some pretty obscure holidays. I’m fascinated with religion and religious history and was a Religion major in college and studied American Religious History in Graduate School. That said, I enjoy Christian services, too, and am very comfortable at mass.

    I belong to a great congregation and have for the last twenty years. I love the people, our rabbis, the music, the feeling of awe and the closeness I feel to G’d.

    Prayers — I believe in intercessory prayer and am part of an online prayer group. I’d love to pray for your needs, too, but always glad for prayers for the peace of Jerusalem.

    I’ve been blogging for over five years and it’s one of my all time favorite activities. My blog is I’m also putting together a book on preparing for retirement, my latest adventure.

    Really enjoy your blog!

    • Dill

      Where did you study American Religious History? That’s so cool! I was a theology major in undergrad at a Catholic university. I got a pretty decent grounding in Jewish studies as well as the Catholic stuff. I ended up going the historical theology route in grad school, although I didn’t finish my degree. Aren’t all the ways religions and the United States’ culture and politics have shaped each other fascinating?

      I will be keeping you & your intentions in my prayers.

  22. Heather

    Hi you,

    1. I grew up Baptist and now I just think of myself as a non-denominational post-evangelical kind of lady.
    2. I grew up conservative evangelical and I never really fit, but I believe many of the same things. Now I just feel like I can’t say I KNOW everything about what God was saying/is saying. Sometimes I don’t and then I trust and that’s okay.
    3. I’m moved by old hymns. I’m moved by nature and I’m moved by the ordinary 🙂
    4. I would appreciate prayers for peace and surrender. I am anxious.
    5. I think my blog will show up in the comment love thingy. 😉

  23. Sara

    1. I grew up in the Reformed/Presbyterian stream of Protestantism and am still (firmly) there–my husband is pastor to an EPC (Evangelical Presbyterian) church.

    2. I wouldn’t say my beliefs have really changed so much as grown (I hope) more graceful. My opinions about what is right is pretty much the same, but my patience and understanding with how and how long it might take people to get there has grown.

    3. I’ll be honest–I love listening to my husband preach. He’s good, and there’s just nothing cooler than watching the Holy Spirit work powerfully through the person you love most.

    4. Prayers for our congregation, always appreciated. Personally, prayers for my grandpa–89, ill, and has never been a man of any faith.

    5. My blogging is on hiatus. I admire moms who can write with a houseful of chaos. My four kids have had me so perpetually distracted it’s hard to follow a thought through!

  24. Mish

    I was raised Southern Baptist but as an adult I’ve found that the label doesn’t mean as much as the fact that I am a born-again Christian. I married a guy from Buffalo NY who was raised Catholic so we have been able to share our “religion” with each other but we already had the same “faith”. I have to admit that I’ve embarrassed him on more than one occasion at a Catholic service because I’m just curious and want to take everything in. Plus, I forget about the kneeler and have been smacked in the shin more times than I’d like to admit. My favorite part of the church service is the music. I’m a hymn girl from way back and since most contemporary churches don’t do hymns anymore, I’m learning to like the new music. I’d love for you to pray for a ministry idea God has laid on my heart. I’m really excited but nervous about this new venture. I have a little blog about my life and silly stories from my past. Please check it out and if you like what you read, let me know.

  25. Kierstin

    We’re kind of a split family. We belong to the Nazarene Church because of my dad’s family but often attend lutheran services as well because of my mom’s side. My parents prefer the nazarene church so we go with them often but my husband, children, and I all prefer the lutheran services.

    Not really different as much as I’ve found spiritual growth that has lead me to a deeper understanding of what it means to be religious and I suppose indirectly changed how I know myself as a Christian.

    I really enjoy just being in service. There is something wonderful about sitting there with all these other people you know, doing such a collective thing that we all have been doing our whole lives and our parents did their whole lives and our parents parents etc… It’s just very transcendient. Which is probably also why I’m so moved by the sublime in nature. I think it was Abraham Lincoln who said “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon earth and be an atheist but I cannot conceive how a man can look up into the heavens and say there is no God.” And I agree.

    I think we all can always be encouraged to hold onto our faith. It seems like such a tenuous thing to me sometimes.

    I blog at

  26. Dorothy K.

    1. What is your denomination? Non-denimational, but my particular church closely resembles the Presbyterian denomination and all the pastors at my church are ordained by the local presbytery.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change? Yes, my beliefs were more exclusionary based on denominational interpretations of scripture. Now, I see that different groups interpret scripture differently and we will only know who is “correct” when we reach heaven. Until that time, I need to be searching the scriptures for clarity and be open to the idea that I may indeed be wrong. That is to say that scripture is foundational as the only truth in the world.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? My favorite aspect of our services is the reverence created by the music, scripture readings, recitations of the creeds and catechisms as well as prayer and communion. When I attend church, I know mentally and spiritually that I am leaving the secular and entering a sacred place where my only goal is worshipping a Holy God.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? That I would be Christ’s light in a dark place.
    Thanks for the opportunity to get to know your readers better through this kind of forum!!

  27. Julie

    1) Methodist
    2) I didn’t realize my relationship with God was superficial until I became a mom in my late twenties and life got harder for many different reasons. I joined a church in my new city, started going to bible studies and met a great group of supportive people. I finally allowed God to change my life.
    3) I love the creeds in the Methodist church, and I love the confession at communion. I can physically see and hear God’s grace.
    4) Thanks for your prayers! I need to search for a new job for my well-being and that of my family, but I seem to be lacking the courage to take the first steps.

  28. Tracy

    Well, since you asked directly…

    1. We attend a non-denominational bible church. With great worship, an emphasis on discipleship, fellowship, and following Jesus, it’s exactly where we belong now.

    2. I was raised in a Presbyterian church – that said, I didn’t really have a clue what life could be like with a vibrant faith in Jesus. In fact, I went through a period of time where I chose to be atheist instead, but realized that God is GOD, and there isn’t any denying that. Realizing that Jesus died to save us was the game changer, and I have been following Him for almost 30 years now. Definitely the best decision I have ever made.

    3. My favorite thing is usually the worship itself. I love to be able to sing and pray to God. Communion is a close second.

    4. My usual prayer request is healing for our son Robbie, who is severely affected by autism. A close second at this point is my mother’s health as she is living with stage 4 cancer.

    5. I have had a blog (since 2005! how did that happen?) – though promoting it isn’t usually on my big to-do list. I write because I have to write. If I’m not writing on my blog, I’m probably writing in one of my paper journals! – The Secret of Living. The title comes from Philippians 4:12 as the Apostle Paul said: “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.” I keep trying to learn that secret as well – to live with Christ in every circumstance.

  29. Megan Tietz

    Jen, I think it speaks so much to your personality and approach to your faith that you have gathered such a strong non-Catholic contingency of loyal readers. I’ve been reading you since the way back when, and you’ve always welcomed anyone to your tribe.

    1. I think I most closely identify with post-evangelical. We currently attend a non-denominational church in downtown Oklahoma City.

    2. The core of my spiritual beliefs are the same. I still affirm the Nicene Creed. However, much of my theological perspective has changed on everything from the age of the earth to embracing the Christus Victor view of the Cross over substitutionary atonement. My theological stances are always shifting, but I’ve not strayed from the fundamentals of the faith.

    3. My favorite part of our worship service is the weekly observance of communion which we practice through intinction (dipping bread pieces into wine).

    4. Please remember my brother to the Lord in prayer. He is battling long-time, life-destroying addiction issues.

    5. As a matter of fact, I do have a book! It’s called Spirit-Led Parenting: From Fear to Freedom in Baby’s First Year. I co-authored it with Laura Oyer, and the heart of our message is surrendering the questions and challenges of the first year of parenting to Christ so that rather than being a year of following rules and formulas, it is a year of spiritual growth and transformation. It has been well-received by Protestants and Catholics alike. 🙂

    • Smoochagator

      Oh, Megan, how I love you. I will be praying for your brother! And I totally agree with your opening paragraph.

  30. Megan Marie

    1.) I am Nazarene…and I’ll expound on that in #2

    2.) No, I’ve always been in the Nazarene church. My father is a Pastor, and I work in the church now as well.

    3.)I play in the orchestra at my church, so I get to help lead worship in a way. Not only do I take part in leading worship, but that is also MY personal worship time…I love that time I get to spend honoring the Lord with my music…

    4.) My grandmother just lost her job and she hadn’t been planning yet for retirement so she is having a really tough time with that right now. Thanks so much!

    5.) I do have a blog! I started it a year and a half ago on a whim. I try to post regularly but don’t count on that : )

    • Marie

      Nazarene! Me too!

  31. Renee

    1. We currently attend a Methodist church in south central KY but do not consider ourselves Methodist. Rather, we see ourselves as Christians, and non-denominational. We’ve attended churches of other denominations depending on where we were living and how we felt led.
    2. Yes, they are different in some respects. I grew up in the Catholic Church, actually, and still have a deep love for it, and for the Catholic traditions that were part of my childhood. After a period of leaving church and faith altogether I went through a period of crisis during graduate school. During this time I felt convicted of the need to address the void in my spiritual life. I went back to the Catholic Church first as it was the basis for all my church experience. Sadly, there was little to no personal ministry there and I was left without the kind of help I desperately needed. A few friends invited me to church with them and it changed my life (it was a non-denomination congregation). I was stunned and drawn by the commitment to personal ministry, people pursuing holiness in their daily lives, and the deep intimacy of worshipping there. I still go to Mass at Christmas sometimes though, and enjoy it when I do go. Since my re-awakening in the faith I have studied Scripture and theology, and concluded that there are theological issues that keep me from returning to the Catholic Church, though I love my Catholic brothers and sister in Christ!
    3. My husband is on the verge of losing his sister to cancer and his dad to congestive heart failure and dementia. They are both believers, but it is a difficult time for the family.
    4. No blog (I’m not that interesting LOL!).

    • Lynne

      Renee, would you expound a little on what you mean by “personal ministry”? I don’t want to exploit what you’ve shared above, but in my Catholic church we are trying to recognize needs that aren’t being met and figure out a way to include those things. The Catholic churches I’ve been at tend to be much less personal and welcoming than the Protestant churches I’ve attended. You go to Mass, you go home, and no one reaches out to you. Is that sort of what you meant, or was there a more specific women’s/mom’s/prayer/Bible group that you were looking for–or something other yet? Catholic churches have much need of improvement in this regard. But I’m glad you found what you needed. 🙂

      • Renee

        No problem, I’m glad to answer your question. In fact, it is exactly what you suggested. I went back to church some time after a friend died in a drowning accident. Even after having gone for several weeks, the parish priest never even greeted me, asked me anything, nothing. I am quite sure he never even noticed that I didn’t come back. It was definitely a “you go to Mass, you go home, and no one reaches out to you” experience. I was very much in need of prayer, and someone to reach out to me. When I visited the non-denominational, charismatic congregation (pretty sedate in that regard), the worship was so intimate; I had never experienced anything like it. The pastor and his wife, and several elders, approached me after church and asked who I was, if they could be of help, etc. The pastor asked me to come meet with him, which I did. He connected me with some women in the church who were mature believers with the goal that they would disciple me, which they did. If I called someone in a down moment, they asked me to come over so they could pray with me! We met weekly in home groups. Finally, the members of the church really, really knew Scripture. It was an extraordinary experience. Again, though, I love my wonderful Catholic brothers and sisters, and am glad we can share in this journey as followers of Jesus!

        • Renee

          P.S. I don’t remember which e-mail address I used in my initial post; may not be the same as the one I’ve used here. In any case, I would be fine with a personal e-mail if you’d like more details, though in this forum is fine as well. It’s kind of hard to find posts though since you have to scroll through them all 🙂

          • Lynne

            I don’t know how to reply via email. Can we do that here? Thanks so much for taking time to answer. I’ve thought about this problem a lot. Having grown up in a Baptist church, I know each week visitors would be asked to stand or raise their hands and then would be greeted and given a little contact form to fill out. In Catholic churches, I think one problem is that people go to Mass where ever they happen to be that week. They aren’t “church shopping”, just getting to Mass. And so when I see someone I don’t recognize, I just figure they are from out of town and passing through. That’s still not an excuse not to reach out to them, of course. I’m need to bring this up to our parish council and see if we can’t come up with some ways to have more of an outreach to people as they come in and out. It’s so sad to think of anyone coming to church and feeling totally ignored. 🙁 Thank you!

      • Deborah Wilson

        I know exactly what she means. Here in the area where I live the parish priest is foreign, very hard to understand and has to oversee three different parishes. There is no fellowship of any kind with other churchgoers and none with our priest.
        I have started attending a Southern Baptist Church for the fellowship. So I basically go to Confession and a Mass on Saturday evening that basically lasts 20 minutes tops, then on Sunday morning I go to the Baptist Church for Sunday School and I also help with their children’s program and Bible Study on Wednesdays.

  32. Rachel Hillary

    Oh, I loved waking up to this this morning! Thanks for such a lovely opportunity to get to know your non-Catholic readers!

    1. I’m in the process of converting to the Anglican tradition from a Baptist upbringing. I was never baptized, despite the label, so I’m being baptized on March 30th (pray for me!) and I am absolutely overjoyed and humbled by the work God has done in my heart to get me here.

    2. My beliefs are SO different. I talk a lot about this on my blog, but the past four years have seen a radical intervention of God’s love in my life. Not to mention the inspiration I got from reading your conversion story, Jen-I fell in love with liturgy thanks to you, and continually turn to your archives when I’m praying over a hard question.

    3. Liturgy and the Holy Eucharist are my favorite things about worship service. In my Baptist childhood church, we positively eschewed liturgy, and it was a running joke (part of the reason I left the Baptist denomination as an adult, but that’s a story for a different time). And communion? Every week?! That would have been ludicrous. But honestly, it’s made the world of difference in my life, and I look forward to church every single day.

    4. I’m currently praying over whether or not to wear a head covering (a chapel veil) during Lent. I feel strongly that it’s the right decision, and my prayers haven’t led to a different feeling, but I’m still on the fence about actually executing it. I’m also finishing up my senior undergraduate thesis this week, so prayers are appreciated for finishing with grace and confidence! Not to pile on, but I’m also seeking discernment about entering deeper into the faith, whatever that looks like for me.

    5. I do blog, though these days it’s a bit sporadic as I finish my thesis. I’ll be back with a vengeance come Friday, though. 🙂

  33. Carrie

    We have gone to a non-denominational Christian church for 13 years, but are now in RCIA classes at the local Catholic Church. Much to the chagrin of my 15 year old son and, less so, my 12 year old daughter. (Our 18 year old, 10 year old, 7 year old and new baby are all good with it! 🙂 )
    I grew up nominally Catholic, dh was United Church of Christ Protestant. Dated and got married not really caring about God, started going to church when our oldest were little, and really “got God” and became dedicated to Him and very involved in our church.
    Then, a few years ago, we had the rug pulled out from under us, and I started questioning our church, our beliefs, and wanting something more. More of a connection with the God who is bigger than us, bigger than our little church and whatever outreach the pastor was wrapped up in at the moment. Long story short, through your blog and some others (,, and jump to mind…) I started researching Catholicism. I really didn’t want to go back to it, but that is where God keeps leading me!
    Now that rcia is almost over, we are having doubts, though. Cold feet, I guess. So I would love prayers for that, and also that our family would not be so divided over this issue. Apparently changing a teenage boy’s church (and therefore social circle), is just as upsetting as taking his binkie was as a kid. But now he’s taller than me, and much more sarcastic and argumentative!

    • Dori

      I’ll pray for you and your “cold feet!” I was raised Catholic and reverted after a few years away; I just wanted to share that I am so happy to be “home!”

    • Becky

      Ok, this is now the 4th time I have had to write this post. It kept getting wiped away and lost every time I tried to write this. So, I am taking that as the fact that I HAVE to post this! (I am pretty stubborn and persistent 😉
      So, as I was saying….. I reverted to Catholicism in the last year after being away for 17 years. My husband converted (it was his epistomoligical crisis that the Lord used to guide us to the Catholic church)and my 2 oldest daughters will receive 1st Communion and Confirmation at Easter vigil. So, we are in the same RCIA process as you right now! What I want to share is I can’t even express in words how intensely grateful we are to be Home. But, what I want to remind you of as you approach Easter, is that the spiritual warfare is real and can be very difficult. The last thing Satan wants is for you to be Catholic . He will absolutely use your children (your soft spot) to make you doubt this decision. we had never experienced spiritual warfare until we started our journey home. If you need any support or encouragement, please feel free to email me. I would also be happy to pray for you and your family.

  34. Bailey

    I don’t have a belief system, just a wish to still be able to believe.
    I grew up Mennonite, then was Canadian Baptist as an adult (really different from what I understand of USA Baptists!).

    I was raised to be christian but now am unable to discern any presence of God therefore my practices have changed. Following God requires a complete change of life and I cannot sustain that without any input.

    I occasionally attend a non-traditional Anglican gathering because they openly acknowledge doubt and welcome doubters.


      Bailey, Your honest touches me. May I pray for your faith? That God would show up undeniably?

    • Caroline M.

      We need doubters, questioners, and people willing to shake things up. Even if it doesn’t “click” for you, you are helping those around you to deepen their own faith, if that makes sense.

  35. Cheryl

    Fun! I’ll play…
    1. Lutheran (LCMC), a congregation we helped start about five years ago. We left a different Lutheran church, felt like our hearts had been torn out for a while, but we know we were following where The Lord was leading us.
    2. I grew up Southern Baptist, and my husband grew up kind of Lutheran-Presbyterian-unchurched. We were married in and attended a Methodist church, but when we moved to our current town we found a Lutheran congregation we loved. We both were very comfortable in a liturgical church and now I couldn’t leave it. (We have occasionally even considered becoming Orthodox or Catholic but haven’t gone there yet!) All four of our kids were baptized as infants in that first Lutheran congregation.
    3. Communion, hands-down. We have it every week and I find myself missing it terribly if we miss church for whatever reason. As Lutherans we believe that Jesus is fully present with the elements. I love sharing that. Even better are the weeks when my husband and I can assist in serving.
    4. God is laying some opportunities before us right now. Discernment for my husband and me–the need is great but where are we supposed to be serving His kingdom?
    5. I used to blog but quit, part of the paring down that I think God was guiding me to. So, nothing to promote!

    • Little Wife

      We work at a Lutheran Camp, and the major change from ELCA to LCMC in recent years has been so divisive and difficult for so many people! Praying for peace in that for your family, and also for discernment as requested!

    • jen

      I’m ex-ELCA now AALC. My husband jumped ship in 2010.

  36. Sonya

    1) I’m Anglican (Church of England) living in Canada. I love the phrase that Anglicans are too protestant for the Catholics and too Catholic for the protestants. I think that fits me personally very well.
    2) I was raised Anglican, but my parents drifted away from the church when I was about 12. I continued to attend on my own and was confirmed. I also drifted away for many years and then came back when I had children. Spirituality was always important to me, but it wasn’t until I was older that I came to appreciate all the church had to offer me. I have definitely grown in depth and maturity of faith.
    3) I love all aspects of the Book of Common Prayer, personal prayer and liturgy, but I think that communion (eucharist) prayers and liturgy are my favouites.

  37. Luke Holzmann

    1. I am I member of a Foursquare church — part of the charismatic Protestant tradition (sister-denomination to Assemblies of God). So that’s the denomination I am a part of… but I don’t like saying it’s “my” denomination (see #4 below). I have no ties to such an affiliation. I have ties to Christ and want to serve Him where He puts me. I do, however, resonate well with how my church does things, so I’m happy there.

    2. I hope my understanding of Christ’s love and grace continue to grow so I am able to better share the Good News. I think the biggest shift has been from a rather separatist/judgmental approach to ministry to one of welcoming and unconditional love (note: I’m growing in this; definitely not there yet [smile]). My pastor said it well recently: We have a tendency to demand that people behave, then believe, then belong; it should be the opposite: welcome them in so they belong, invite them to believe in Christ, and then the Holy Spirit will do the work of nudging them to behave differently as needed.

    3. I love learning more about Scripture. I appreciate that our pastoral staff typically goes through a passage of the Bible and provides historical context and insights.

    4. I would love to have more unity in Christ. May we — regardless of denomination/”flavor” of Christian faith — be one in Him. I’m very excited to see this desire to connect with Christ-followers across the spectrum in this generation. May it continue.

    5. I blog for Sonlight (see the link in my name above). I also offer a free film school/media-mentoring blog here: Wait, we can be shameless? Okay, if you want more, check out my page: [grin]


    • Elizabeth

      We are using the Sonlight program this year for our homeschooling. So far we love it!

    • Lynne

      as in, son of John? I don’t know him; just an old homeschooler from way back who used to scour the Sonlight forums. It’s weird to think his kids–or mine–could be all grown up now.

  38. Sonya

    Hello- It was wonderful to meet you at the IF Gathering! If you felt like you were one of the few Catholics, I am pretty sure I was the only Lutheran:)

    1. I am Lutheran, but having best friends who are Catholic and Baptist I have attended their churches growing up and even now, so I really appreciate the whole Christian spectrum. What I love about being Lutheran and why I stay is that I feel very close to the Catholic church and all of its beauty and when I attend a Catholic church it feels very normal and “at home.” Also, because I am Protestant, I can see the beauty, warmth and passion for Jesus and missions when I visit a Baptist church and also feel very “at home.” Conversely, there are times when I feel I don’t really fit in well to the Christian spectrum, since we aren’t really Catholic – even though we are close:) – and we are way too Catholic for some protestant denominations. We also don’t have really any famous speakers, bloggers, conferences, radio , or TV to articulate what it means to be Lutheran, or to show us in a positive light:) Really the only time I see Lutherans mentioned by anyone well known in the world of Christianity is through some articles asking “What is up with the Lutherans?” But, when I do start to feel like I don’t fit in, I try to concentrate instead that I can and do feel comfortable in a wide range of Christian denominations.

    2. I think I have a much better understanding of the differences and similarities around the Christian world and I have really come to appreciate the beauty of the different practices across the spectrums.

    3. Even within our church we have different styles of service. One looks pretty identical to a very traditional Catholic mass, another is more contemporary. I love to go to both and really find meaning and beauty in both.

    4. My prayer is to live my life in a way that my children and our whole family would grow to love God more and more each day. Thank you for praying!

    • Melissa

      About #1 – yes! Although most of the time, I just don’t feel like I fit in with either group. I’m sure the fact that I homeschool and lutherans are generally (at least in my area) very pro-parochial school doesn’t help!

    • jen

      #1: Catholic-loving Lutheran here as well. I think my Catholic bestie gets my faith better than my Protestant friends.

  39. Elizabeth

    We are an non-denominational (Christian). It is different from the way I was raised. I grew up in an Evangelical Baptist church in a small town of Texas.

    My favorite thing about worship is the actual service. I’m not much for the singing. I sound like a cow with her foot stuck in the mud when I sing. I also enjoy the relate-able funny skits that our church puts on. I love that they incorporate humor into their sermons.

    As for prayer, since you’re offering, my husband left his well paid career to finish his degree in Engineering. His schedule is grueling and he is gone seven days a week from the house since he works the weekends. (He is the sole provider of the home) I can’t work because we have small children and daycare is too expensive. The cost kind of cancels out any income I would bring in. Make sense? Anyway, I suppose I would like prayers that my husband successfully finishes his classes (2 years left!) and that we continue to make wise financial choices during this time of our lives. Money is super tight and we would like to save for a house for after graduation and live debt free…so a prayer that everything falls into place and we are successful in saving for that house! Okay–that was a lot of prayers I just asked for, LOL! Thank you all in advance for any prayers you may say for us. We deeply appreciate it. 😉

    As for the plug:

  40. Deedee

    1. What is your denomination?
    That’s a hard question to answer – I attend a Church of Christ right now (not as conservative as most Church of Christ churches), but my beliefs are fairly progressive.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change?
    Yes – I was raised really, really conservative, fundamentalist, Republican (yes, the politics were tied up the the religion). I was home-schooled all 12 years, and hardly ever missed church, swore I would court instead of date, etc. When I went to college, I attended a Methodist church, and fell in love with the liturgy and the traditions (still love all the symbolism!). Over the last few years, as I really study the Bible more, I’m finding that some of the beliefs I had always struggled with but never had the courage to question might not be as Biblical (or true) as I was taught. Some of the beliefs I’ve held too assuming they were “what Christians should think” may actually be “what what people in the South think”. It’s been an interesting journey. 🙂

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine?
    I love coming together and singing – I’m not a hand-raiser, most times, but I love hearing the whole congregation sing the same hymns together as one. The Church of Christ usually doesn’t have instrumental music, so the vocal harmonies really come through. I also love (and miss) the traditions from the Methodist church – the preacher robes, the liturgical calendar, singing the doxology every week.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?
    Just pray that I can continue to seek God and know more about Him. I’m really seeking to drill through my preconceived notions and see what the Bible really says about so many subjects – even when it’s hard, or makes me uncomfortable. Thanks!

    • Caron

      DeeDee, I was in the CofC for years and years and I miss the singing as well. Without the music to hide behind, the songs are so pretty. Glad to meet you here. Good luck!

  41. Caron

    1. What is your denomination? I’m a Catholic revert, but finding it difficult at times. My parents left the church after my religious education and went to the Church of Christ. I missed Catholicism. Now I miss the friendliness and hospitality of a non-Catholic church.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? My spiritual beliefs are not different than the past. I have felt God pulling me to him for as long as I can remember.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? I love moments of silence. In an evangelical church, silence is rare. They’ll say, “Let’s have a moment of silence” and it’s three seconds long.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Two things have been weighing on me heavily in the past two weeks. The first is that I went to a social event at the parish and it was a bad experience that has surprised me by revealing how frail I am when it comes to my decision to return. The other is how women can be so mean to one another, especially moms to non-moms.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? I blog about absolutely nothing at

    • Amy

      My parents also left the Catholic Church and converted to Church of Christ but it was before I was born. As an adult I felt deeply called to learn about the Catholic faith and both my husband and I converted 10 years ago. It wasn’t until 7 years into being Catholic that I had a deeper conversion experience and completely fell in love with the Catholic faith and all it has to offer. I recently read an amazing book called Walking with Purpose and you can get it for free at The reason this book came to mind for you is because the author Lisa Brenninkmeyer has a bible study program for parishes that sounds like something you might be interested in. Check the website to see if a parish near you offers it or consider bringing it to your parish! Praying for you!

      • Maggie

        Oh Caron, I am so sorry you had such a bad experience after trying to reach out. I hope you find comfort and friendship soon. I had found many of the parishes I have belonged to have a cliquish atmosphere, especially when there is a large parish school. There is also a contingent that some to Mass, and then leaves, having fulfilled their obligation. I hope you find open arms soon.

        • Caron

          Maggie, thank you. I was so disappointed in my reaction to the folks that night. The nicest person at the table was the man who pointed out that he was not raised a Catholic! And yes, there is a school attached to this parish. One other person pointed that out. Someone else, a cradle Catholic who is a dear friend teased me that I tried to play with the Catholics … As in running with the big dogs and getting trampled. Sigh.

      • Caron

        Thank you. I will look into this.

  42. Colleen

    1. My husband and I are members of a non-denom church that has a slightly Baptist flavour but with a huge dose of the Holy Spirit. My Dad is Catholic, and my Mom converted at their marriage so they could take communion together. I was baptized in the Catholic Church, but growing up we attended non-denom churches. My parents currently attend a Baptist church but are not members.

    2. My spiritual beliefs have not changed so much as matured since childhood. I find myself drawn to the reverence and solemnity of the liturgy, both Catholic and Anglican. I find that the seriousness of God is sometimes overshadowed by the friendliness of God in non-denom circles.

    3. I love our church’s music worship. We sing a mix of current music and hymns, the children are encouraged to participate by singing and dancing around the sanctuary and the fellowship is wonderful.

    4. I was diagnosed with a brain tumour three years ago, and I believe that God can heal through the prayers of His people.

    5. I’m a reader, not a writer. And I apologize for any spelling or grammatical errors, I’m writing one handed while trying to keep a baby asleep.

    Thanks for all your hard work, can’t wait to read your book!

  43. Caroline M.

    1. I’m Episcopalian as of last year’s Easter Vigil, but I started attending Episcopal churches in college because my (then fiance) was Episcopal. Little did I know then that he was called to the priesthood.

    2. Oh goodness, this forum is too small to cover this question. I grew up super-Calvinist Presbyterian (PCA for those who know what that means) and also went to a Southern Baptist school K5-12th grade. So yeah, it’s different. 🙂

    3. I would also consider myself Anglo-Catholic along with some other folks here. My favorite thing – no, the thing I need – is the Eucharist. My worship preference is very high-church, lots of smells and bells and organ music and chant, but I’ve also enjoyed casual services with a guitar. Outside of church I love worshiping in nature, and in fact that’s where I pray the most.

    4. As I mentioned, my husband was called to the priesthood, and we are nearing the end of his seminary years. God willing, he will be ordained to the diaconate in May (which in our church comes before priest ordination), and we will be moving from DC to who knows where. I don’t like change or uncertainty, so we could really use some prayers for sanity and peace of mind.

    5. I write about nerdy things, social justice issues, and my ongoing deconversion from fundamentalism at my blog called the iklings etc. That is, I pretend that it has a theme but really it depends on the day. I love your blog, and I have enjoyed learning about Catholic theology and devotions over the past few years.

    • Eva

      I’ve added your blog to my ‘Fabulous New Blogs To Read’ list! (auspicious, isn’t it 😉 )

      • Caroline M.

        Thanks cuz now I found your blog, and I’m thrilled! You have some really great posts.

  44. Whitney

    1. I’m a PCA Presbyterian – the more evangelical Presbyterians 🙂

    2. I was raised in an urban Methodist church – about as liberal as you can get in Texas.

    3. I’m a sucker for communion. I like being forced to reflect on my sin and then being reminded that I have been saved by God’s grace. My church – though Protestant – practices communion each week and I love it.

    4. I am struggling to be as patient and loving with my ailing mother as I should be. She has MS, lives in independent living but needs to be in assisted living, and caring for her overwhelms me since I’m also a new mother.

    Love your blog! Raised as a Protestant in North Texas, I had some negative stereotypes about Catholics but now that I live on the East Coast, those stereotypes have been dispelled and I have lots of good Catholic friends. My husband was Catholic from cradle until we started dating (sorry I converted him!) and I really appreciate what his Catholic upbringing and education has done for him. There are many aspects of Catholicism that I like, but feel more at home with Protestant theology.


    Thank you for opening up the question. I am doing the 7 in 7 Challenge too….
    1) I am a Christian with a capital C and currently reformed with a lower-case r. A friend described themselves as such once and I found it brilliant. I have also been souther baptist, presbyterian and non-denominational.

    2) I love love love the idea of sanctification. The list of changes in my spiritual beliefs is long; way more freedom (in what we eat and drink; in who I teach; in how I worship). But I also firmly believe no one has the Spiritual gift of criticism. I love my foundation and can trace God through every step (see my blog).

    3) What don’t I like about our worship service? Church is the highlight of my week. Our pastor is an amazing teacher, the music leads me to the throne of grace, my church family blesses us.

    4) Pray for me as I try to overcome my fears. As God would have it, we are studying Gideon in Bible study now. He gave a list of why he wasn’t the guy for God’s big job. I can fall into that trap.

    5) My blog – – is new. I am loving it. Most pleasantly surprised by the blog community I am enjoying. Beats Primetime TV!

  46. Lindsay

    1. I am an Orthodox Christian. I was raised this way, in the Greek Orthodox Church. Lately we have spent a little time at the Romanian Orthodox Church, and really love that as well.

    3. My favorite part… The entire Liturgy, but I love most the chanting, when everyone participates.

    • Emily

      1. I am an Orthodox Christian as well. My husband and I both converted shortly before we got married in 2001.
      2. I was raised in various protestant denominations. There are so many things that have changed in my beliefs since I was younger. Learning about the role of saints and the Mother of God wasn’t something stressed in my protestant denominations. I’ve now come to see how we are able to pray and ask for their intercessions, and how we are able to still pray for the souls of the reposed. There are many things I could elaborate on but I’ll keep it short. I suppose as I’ve aged I’ve thought way more about seeking salvation and asking for God’s mercy on the sinner that I am, than I once did.
      3. I love the total sensory experience of Orthodox services. I love the singing/chanting, I love the incense, I love the brightly colored vestments, and I love the beautiful icons. There are so many ways to include our senses in the services. I love a good vespers service. There are so many things I love!

  47. Chandra Hadfield

    1. I am a follower of Christ. I don’t go to a denominational church, but sometimes I think “non-denomination” is, in itself, it’s own denomination. LOL.

    2. My current belief system is fundamentally the same as when I was growing up (Who is God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, salvation, baptism, etc). The difference is that growing up, I was very involved in the charismatic church. I married a Baptist and started studying scripture more. I like to say that I believe like a “Bapticostal”.

    3. My favorite thing about the worship service I attend is the music. I love that they incorporate new praise and worship songs with old familiar hymns.

    4. For prayer, I just need wisdom in some areas of my life, and a good dose of diligence and motivation to follow through.

    5. My shameless plug is for my blog: I write about my faith and how it changes me all the time.

  48. Sarah

    1. I am a Southern Baptist.

    2. My spiritual beliefs are different from when I was younger but not in the sense that I have changed belief systems, but they have deepened and matured in a way I never could have imagined as a child. To the point that I am now a Southern Baptist considering RCIA. I felt called to seminary in 2010 and am now 2 semesters away from being finished with an M.Div. from a Southern Baptist seminary. I felt a really clear call to ministry but my seminary training has me questioning how much I agree with Baptist theology.

    3. I love the long, deep sermons. Taking a passage of scripture and walking through it step by step. I also love the intentional discipleship efforts that I have not found in Catholic churches.

    4. Figuring out if I should make the jump and join the Catholic church. If that’s what God has for me, the courage to tell my family about it. If that’s what God has for me, figuring out how my Southern Baptist Seminary degree and call to serve fit in a Catholic context. I think I have made the intellectual journey to Catholicism but my heart is Baptist. Worshiping in a Baptist context feels like home. Worshiping in Mass I feel like an expat. A happy expat, but it still isn’t home.

    5. Shameless plug: My blog! I’ve been trying to get more readers without much success, but oh well! 🙂

    • Lynne

      My uncle is a lifelong, Sunday School teaching, men’s group leading Southern Baptist, currently attending a Methodist church, and just about to finish up a M.A. in Theology at the Augustine Institute (ultra Catholic!). I don’t think he quite knows where he fits, either. Let’s just say his Baptist Sunday School and men’s group classes learned a lot about the true beliefs of Catholics. 🙂

      I grew up Baptist and converted to Catholicism when I was 23 or so. For the longest time Mass was foreign to me. There was no heart connection, and no emotional tie. I finally realized that what I missed about the Baptist church were the great choir and hymns, and also the very strong preaching–these were the things of my childhood and my family, and stirred very deep emotions. They were part of my religious “culture”. I still love and long for old hymns and good preaching, but now I have such a deep awareness of Jesus in the Eucharist that when I go to a Baptist church (funerals, weddings) I miss Him there. That may sound corny, but it’s true for me. Hearts can change, even if they still love and appreciate the “old ways”.

      • Sarah

        Thanks Lynne, I think that is exactly how I feel too. I think I am realizing that I just need to be patient and enjoy the journey. I want to be there now, and sometimes things take time.

  49. Mary

    I am a Catholic and have been my whole life but feel compelled to comment because I have been away from the church for so long. Because of the support of my parents and family, I dutifully followed Catholicism through my teens but was pretty much inactive in my 20s and early 30s. I just couldn’t find my place in a Catholic church where I felt welcome and connected. The majority of the congregations were older than 60 and I just felt out of it.

    When my mom was sick, I did start going again briefly. The familiar surroundings and prayers were comforting. But I didn’t stay long and was adrift again. I feel the church itself has made some encouraging decisions to reach out, especially with our current pope.

    I am now in my late 30s, married and the mother of twin toddlers. I want their roots to be in the Catholic church. They were baptized, we have joined a church, and I have started taking them to church. (My husband is also Catholic but chooses not to go).

    My sister-in-law introduced me to Conversion Diary and through Jennifer’s blog, I have found a new world of women of my generation, going through the same life events, and yet have a strong faith. I have been reading Jennifer’s blog regularly, along with other gals’ blogs and have started reflecting on my faith and how to strengthen it. Thank you for this opportunity to open up and grow!

    I am a teacher and health coach.

    • Bonnie

      So glad you found Jen, and the extended community of Catholics out there blogging their hearts out! I love it too. Although I’m a pretty ordinary Catholic who attends Mass each Sunday, I just don’t have the time to get involved at the parish. But how I love the community of believers I have found, mostly from linking from Jen’s site, and then from links on those bloggers’ sites, on the internet. I have found much support here, and it is like a lifeline to me. So, glad you found Jen too, and hope you look at other sites linked here. Some are really wonderful!

  50. Brenda

    1. I was raised in a Southern Baptist church, but currently attend a non-denominational church.

    2. I am much more “tolerant” than I was raised to be! I was raised to believe that anyone outside of the Baptist tradition was going to hell. I was pleased to find out otherwise.

    3. I love the music of our worship as well as the preaching of the Word.

    4. We are facing a move to a different city. I am trying to practice “no worrying” but this isn’t going well. Please pray we’ll have peace.

    5. I blog sporadically at

    Thanks! This is so much fun!

  51. Erin

    1. Okay, I’m definitely the minority here — I’m a happy atheist!
    2. I was raised as a practicing Catholic. Went to a wonderful, all-girls Catholic high school. But realized by the end of high school that Catholicism and feminism didn’t get along very well. Even my very Catholic mother respected my decision to stop practicing.
    3. I find peace in nature. I do a lot of hiking, and that’s my cathedral of choice.

    • Smoochagator

      I really appreciate atheist readers commenting on this post! It’s good to know that you don’t think we scary Christians are going to pop up and thump you right into the ground with our Bibles 😉

      If you don’t mind spiritual reading, you may enjoy Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World, which is about finding the sacred in nature, and Sue Monk Kidd’s Dance of the Dissident Daughter, which is about finding the sacred feminine outside the walls of traditional religious structures. Both titles came to mind as I read your comment.

  52. Julie

    1. Lifelong Mormon here. You’ve actually got a pretty decent Mormon following, and I’m guessing it’s because of the similar emphasis on family and other shared values.
    2. I’ve always been committed and active but my faith is different, of course. The older I get and the more life experiences I go through have lenses themselves to that. More passion, maybe. Commitment on a deeper level, likely, that I didn’t understand when I was younger.
    3. The favorite thing about our worship, for me, is the inclusive family nature of it. Also the inclusivity of having all members participate in services. But it’s not the Sunday services that define my relationship with God, my faith, or my relationship with our church.

  53. Elissa

    1. What is your denomination? I was raised in the Wesleyan church, and after I married atttended Free Methodist, United Methodist, and now for the past several years Christian and Missionary Alliance.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? I would say that as a child, I felt that my faith was ruled by fear and guilt. As an adult, I know that my Heavenly Father is a loving God, and my faith is fueled more by a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? I love praise and worship and Holy Communion. Our Communion is passed throughout the congregation.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Continued open communication between our faiths. We’re more similar than we think. 🙂

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Nope… Just living life as a wife, mother of five amazing kiddos, and full-time public school teacher.

  54. Gaff

    1. Atheist existentialist. Been dabbling in Zen Buddhism lately, though.
    2. I was baptized in a Catholic church and went to a Catholic elementary school. Haven’t been back to church since. Even as a little kid none of it seemed real to me, so I don’t know if my beliefs have really changed at all. There were some awfully nice teachers, priests, and nuns at good old St. Margaret’s, though, so I retain some affection for the Catholic church even as I disagree with it about pretty much everything.
    3. I don’t think anything or anyone is divine. But just for fun let’s say when watching Doctor Who.
    4. I don’t feel comfortable with the idea of people praying for me, but I appreciate the good intentions.

    • Eva

      Oh My God yes to the Doctor Who. Encountering the Divine and all 🙂

    • Smoochagator

      It’s good to know that you have warm feelings leftover from a childhood in a Catholic school! I’ve heard too many horror stories of people being turned off to Catholicism because of mean nuns with rulers.

      I think everyone could benefit from a dose of Zen Buddhism in their life. The idea of detaching from the here and now is very intriguing/challenging to someone like me who is such an obsessive worrier.

  55. Kari

    1. I am an atheist.
    2. I was raised a Roman Catholic and attended a Catholic school for my entire education prior to college. My mom was a Byzantine Catholic but always took part in Roman Catholic services since my parent’s had decided to raise us as Roman Catholic. She has never converted. My dad is very involved in my parent’s church and in my later high school years, I also was very involved. Once I went to college, I started to question everything Catholic and it started to become clear to me that I was not a believer, but a blind follower of my dad’s religion. I stopped attending mass sometime around my sophomore year of college and have never really considered going back.
    3. I’m not sure that I can claim to have any “divine” moments; but I feel most moved by being surrounded by natural beauty, both in nature itself as well as the beauty of people helping people.

    • Smoochagator

      I’m really glad atheist readers are commenting! As much animosity as there can be between believers of different religions (or no religion), it’s nice to see that we can, sometimes, get along 😀

  56. Marissa

    1. Anglican

    2. I grew up a hodge-podge: lots of different Protestant denominations and then I went to Catholic school. As a young adult, I took the hyper-evangelical path and then veered away from that in college. I think Anglicanism became my home because it was a “via media” so to speak. I loved how my Catholic school experience was full of church history and liturgy, and I loved how m Protestant experience had such a biblical perspective – and Anglicanism seems to blend those well. And then my husband was ordained an Anglican priest, so I suppose I’m staying put now. 😉 I do feel a strong kinship with my Catholic brothers and sisters – perhaps it was because I was baptized catholic or perhaps it is because I enjoy reading church history – but some of my most-loved authors were devout Catholics (Carlo Carretto – love him), I go to confession whenever I can, and my favorite place on earth is Mepkin Abbey, where I’ve gone on spiritual retreat.

    3. The liturgy and the Eucharist. I love the rootedness of the liturgy – saying words that have been said by Christians for thousands of years, and I love the sacramentality of the Eucharist.

    4. Peace and courage. By the way, I often attend a Catholic Mom’s Group nearby, and the sharing of intentions is such a lovely way to pray together. We’ve adopted it at many of our own church gatherings because of how it seems to be shared conversation in God’s presence.

    5. My blog – – Spiritual Reflections and Prayers of the People written according to the lectionary readings.
    My books (I write middle-grade fantasy novels) –

    • Sherry

      I thought your name sounded familiar. I ready your book, Storybound, back in October and reviewed it at my blog: It’s nice to read about the spiritual background that informs your life and writing.

  57. CarrieZ

    Southern Baptist since 9 months before I was born. 🙂 Had a brief stint as a Methodist when my small-town childhood church split in half, but I’m happily now back in the bigger-city Baptist church where I started out as an infant. So, no….not many changes. 🙂

    I teach in PreK Sunday school. We have a breathtaking sanctuary, a pastor who is both incredibly knowledgable and also incredible at relating that knowledge to both real life and the Bible, a phenomenal music department (very old-school traditional), and an education division focused on small groups of all ages. It’s really hard to beat.

    Growing up, my best friend was Catholic (and still is, of course), and I enjoy reading this viewpoint. It sometimes causes me to consider things I hadn’t before.

    Prayer needs….all is really fairly smooth here. Executing my mom’s estate, homeschooling one who is gifted and one with special needs, and remodeling our laundry room. So….normal for us. 🙂

    And now my children who I just told to get loaded in the van just ran in to tell me that the battery is dead….such is life. Off to investigate. 🙂

    Homeschooling mom from the Panhandle. 🙂

  58. andrea frazer

    1. I am a Christian I was once a Catholic and didn’t feel Jesus in the mass. I now find a more enriching experience through our Bible teaching church.

    2. My beliefs are a bit different now. I don’t pray the rosary nor do I pray to saints. I believe that Jesus is the intercessor for us and I go to Him!

    3. My favorite part about Sunday services is how we worship first with amazing music. Afterwards, our pastor really “unpacks” the Bible for us. It’s not just two readings and a Gospel but we go through one particular section of the Bible at a time. Example: We’re currently studying Mark, and it’s awesome to learn about Jesus through Mark’s eyes. We also learn the history of the time. It speaks to my intellect (which is often fuzzy… I’m not saying I’m some brilliant theologian by any stretch!) I also love the baptisms every 3 months. Or…as my non-Christian friends tease me…the “dunk tank!” or “the church’s biggest wet tee shirt contest!”

    4. Please pray for my feelings of being totally overwhelmed right now. I’m working full time while my hubby starts his own biz. I’m exhausted with worry about my kids and my mom who is frail. I had a great run giving all this God and then kind of fell flat. I pray for faith!

    5. I write about Tourette Syndrome at

    Finally, I included you last week in a top 10 article I wrote for my job at Check your fine self out!

  59. Jessica Snell

    1. I’m an Anglican.

    2. They’ve changed some, in that I was raised Baptist and became Anglican as a young adult. But really all those changes came from deeper study of the path I was already on. 🙂

    3. I love praying the prayers that Christians have prayed for centuries.

    4. Rain for California! It’s scary how dry it is out here.

    5. I’m the editor of a little book on celebrating the church year in your home. It’s called “Let Us Keep the Feast” and the Kindle version of the Lent volume is just 99 cents on Amazon. 🙂

    It’s full of great ideas for celebrating Lent at home, by yourself and with the kids (if you have them), and reaching outside the home too, to share your celebrations with friends and neighbors. 🙂

    • Katie

      Hi Jessica- I was wondering who else read this blog 🙂 Small world!

    • Camilla

      Have been praying about how to celebrate Lent with my children–our first official attempt. So… just went over and grabbed your book! As a former Baptist, but now becoming Catholic, I love praying the prayers, too, and love praying the Psalms, and love praying the Divine Office, knowing I’m praying every day in unity with brothers and sisters all over the world. Blessings– Camilla

  60. Morag

    1. At the moment I can safely say I’m a Christian but since emigrating to the USA don’t have a denomination. I was raised in the Church of Scotland (Presbyterian) then at college went to the Baptist church as well and then later the Episcopal church while dating my husband.
    2. Growing up in the West coast of Scotland there is a big divide between Catholic and Protestant and I knew Catholics as the OTHER, what I wasn’t. So when my boyfriend told me he was converting to Catholicism I got a bit freaked out. I read a lot and confronted my prejudice and felt ok to marry even though I didn’t have intentions of converting myself. We’ve attended Mass together for most of the 8 years we’ve been married (the baby years made it trickier) and at the moment, it’s the only church I attend. I had been going to a non-denominational church here in CA but now the service times clash and I’m having greater difficulty with the whole idea of sola-scriptura.
    3. My favourite part of worship regardless of the denomination is the music. I enjoy modern worship songs but there is a great variation of quality, I like old hymns and I absolutely love singing the liturgy at Mass. Currently also enjoy the view from our Catholic church – we have a direct view of the Eastern Sierra Mountains (amazing)
    4. I would love prayers for direction for my family. My husband is keen on moving to Texas (!) and I’m also applying for work after 6 years staying at home!!
    5. Plugs – I have a blog –
    And I am also a Mary&Martha independent consultant and sell beautiful Christian homeware and gifts at

  61. Stephanie

    1. I am Anglican.

    2. My beliefs have changed dramatically in the past few years. In large part that is because I joined a Catholic Bible study. Though I have not converted to Catholicism, I find a richness and depth in the liturgy that I have never experienced in other denominations. I moved away from a very intellectual fundamentalist reformed/ calvinist theology, and into the liturgical church. It has been a beautiful experience.

    3. The liturgy and Eucharist can’t really be separated from one another, and together they are my favorite part of the service. Liturgy has been so healing after a painful church experience. I also love my particular congregation. They are a contemplative, honest group – perfect for my personality.

    4. Please pray for continued healing in my family and marriage. And for a dear friend, who after years of chronic severe pain will have surgery this week to hopefully bring her relief.

    5. I have a blog! I write about parenting young children, the changes in my faith and understanding of God, and my family’s journey out of a destructive theology and into a wider view of God.

    Hey Jen – I had a dream over the weekend that I decorated cookies with Glennon Melton, then I ran into you on a beach. We were trying to talk but were so busy chasing our kids we couldn’t finish a sentence. Probably what would happen in real life too! =)

  62. Leticia Adams

    These comments are freakin’ awesome! One thing that I’ve always prayed for since becoming Catholic is for more discussions between people of different faiths. Hi 5 Jennifer. And thank all ya’ll for commenting. I’m praying for each of you.

    Jesus is very happy with this blog post. 🙂

    • Little Wife

      You’re sweet!

      I think the important part is for all Jesus followers to be open and loving towards one another. I think the denominational divisions can be so hard on the faith as a whole, sometimes! Thanks for your welcoming spirit!

  63. Abby

    1. I am Orthodox.
    2. I was born and raised Lutheran (pastor’s kid who went to 16 years of Lutheran schools). My husband was also born and raised Lutheran and was ordained as a Lutheran pastor. As we studied more about Lutheran teaching and church history, we saw that there was more to following Christ than current Lutheranism teaches and practices, and had to leave when we felt we were no longer being honest in our church. Initially headed to Roman Catholicism (which is where I discovered your blog and became a regular reader) our search took us to Orthodoxy. We were chrismated at the beginning of Advent.
    3. I love that my three little girls receive the Eucharist.
    4. My family is struggling with our choice to become Orthodox.
    Thank you for your stories and your honesty, Jen!

  64. Karen Stauffer

    What a great idea Jen! These are so fun to read.

    1. My husband and I are part of a non-denominational church that has charismatic leanings. I grew up in a conservative Brethren in Christ church. The Brethren in Christ are less conservative though than the churches in the Anabaptist tradition…Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Amish. My husband grew up in a non-denominational charismatic church, but his father was raised in an Old Order Mennonite family (think horse & buggy/no electricity ). We live in a very conservative Pennsylvania community where many of our neighbors are Old Order Mennonite, Mennonite, or Amish.
    2. The tenets of my faith are the same as what I grew up with, but I think my understanding of the spirit of God’s Word has changed dramatically. Growing up a lot of emphasis was placed on the do’s & dont’s of Christianity. No drinking, no smoking, no secular music, no dancing, limited tv/movies. I was a ‘good girl’ & followed the rules & thought that made me a good Christian. Then in my 20’s I fell & I fell hard. I basically rebelled against pretty much everything I ever believed and made very self-destructive choices. After many years of darkness & depression, God pulled me out of that life. And, I learned the meaning of Grace and the freedom found in Christ’s love & forgiveness.
    3. It’s hard to say what my favorite part of our service is. I enjoy both the music & the teaching. But, I suppose the worship time (singing) is my favorite. In our church people are very free to raise their hands or even to dance in worship. In my conservative background this was unheard of/frowned upon. There are times I feel led to raise my hands, but I hold back…am self-conscious of drawing attention to myself. Sometimes I do though. The songs we use in church are very much new worship songs. And, I have to say that I miss hymns. A lot. The one part that disappoints me about belonging to a more charismatic church is that it seems they want to keep everything ‘fresh’ & ‘current’. But, there’s such a rich history & tradition in the Church & I connect to that as well. I wish they could incorporate both.
    4. Prayer requests: As a mom to four young boys I am frequently overwhelmed, easily irritated, & discouraged. I ask for continued strength & wisdom in raising these boys into young men of God. I would also ask for prayer for my father who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. He will be received a bone scan & cat scan this week to determine whether or not the cancer has spread. I pray for healing & for peace.
    5. My poor little blog has been neglected of late. But, I’ve been trying to get back to it. It’s a blog about family & faith.

    • Karen Stauffer

      Yikes. I wish there was an edit button for the comments. I made a few typos. But in question 1 this line should have read “The Brethren in Christ are less conservative than the OTHER churches in the Anabaptist tradition…” The Brethren in Christ are also an Anabaptist church.

      One other thing I was going to say above and then totally forgot to is that we grew up believing that Catholics weren’t ‘true Christians’. I dare say there are probably some Catholics who think that Protestants are ‘true Christians’ either. All that to say, I obviously don’t believe that now. We are all Christians & of One Faith under Christ. I have been so blessed by your blog. And, reading about your conversion from atheism to Catholicism has really been so interesting & informational for me. In recent years I’ve become so much more aware of how many atheists there are. Up until then I naively thought that everyone believed in something…it was just a matter of pointing them to Jesus. Oh, I figured there were a few crusty old grumpy college professors who were atheists. But, man! Were my eyes opened…mainly through Facebook (but that’s a whole other story). Anyway, thank you! thank you! for your blog.
      P.S. – We have Catholic friends (actually my friend converted from a Mennonite background to Catholicism when she married her husband). Several years ago they invited us to a bazaar that their church was hosting. My conservative background must have totally kicked in because I was flabbergasted when I found out you could buy BEER at a church event on church property! Once I got over my shock, I was like ‘Now I could get used to this!’

  65. Ruth

    1. What is your denomination? I’m non-denominational, but have been part of Baptist and Friends churches and I currently go to an Evangelical Free Church. For me, its all about being in a place with strong Bible teaching, fellowship and a place where I’m challenged to to grow spiritually.
    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? They are pretty much the same, but as an adult, my faith is my own now.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? The music. Those few songs before the sermon provide a chance for me to clear out my head, praise God and focus on who He is and prepare my heart for the pastor’s message.
    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Showing God’s love to people, I know I fall short at times.
    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion. I do have a blog, but I’m horrible at posting!!!

  66. Little Wife

    Hey there! I’ve been following and commenting for a while now, but I don’t think I’ve actually introduced myself! I’m Little Wife, and I love your blog!!!

    1. I am currently attending an Evangelical Free church… but I’d consider myself a Heinz 57! (See below!)

    2. I was “double-dipped”- baptized Catholic *and* Protestant. My mother was Catholic, Dad was Reformed (Protestant), and I grew up in both faiths. Eventually, my mom “converted” and became Protestant as well. My folks did some searching for a church that fit… so I went to Bible churches, Reformed, non-denominational, a Baptist church for a while… The biggest thing I learned from all this was that, ultimately, the label on the church sign doesn’t really matter as much as what’s going on INSIDE the church. We attend an E-Free Church now because…

    3. We hopped around our area for a while, looking for a church where we felt God leading us. When we visited our church for the first time, they were reading through the book of Daniel. The whole thing. Verse by verse. It was amazing to see a church so focused on scripture. Best of all, though, was the fact that we were so welcomed there. We were immediately asked to join a Life Group and made some great friends.

    4. Thank you! I also love praying for so many of you (and the things you write on your blogs!), as well as giving praise for you! We’re all in Christian walk together- living out our faith to the world- and I’m so blessed by each and every Catholic blogger, as well as the Protestant bloggers I read often! I’m struggling with some fertility issues, and the more prayers the better- mostly that I trust God’s plan in everything!

    5. I blog over at A Little Wife’s Happy Life ( a little blog about faith, learning how to be a wife, living at a Bible Camp, household tips, recipes, and almost burning a high school down by accident. =)

    • Leticia Adams

      “Double-Dipped” HAHA!! I was baptized Catholic as a baby and then twice as a Baptist and once as a Pentecostal when I was a crazy teenager. Baptism is one Sacrament that I have very well covered. 😀

      • Little Wife

        Haha oh man! You’re, what, quadruple-dipped?!

        Yeah, I think my mom was just trying to tick off her mom (my grandma) with the baptism thing… I was baptized by a priest and Reformed pastor during the SAME service- one after another. Craziness.

  67. Becky

    LOVE this!
    1. I grew up Southern Baptist and currently attend a Lutheran church.
    2. My whole kindergarten through 12th grade experience was at a Pentecostal church school. I often felt the strain of works being necessary for righteousness. Being a part of a Lutheran church has totally taken that old pressure off of me. I also find that as I grow older I am more open-minded regarding Catholicism and liturgical denominations.
    3. The liturgy! I did not grow up with this, but I love it now that I’ve been exposed to it for year.
    4. I’m seeking God’s will for my life big time right now, especially regarding my next job (I’m currently unemployed).
    5. Everyone feel free to visit my blog at !!

  68. Katherine

    1. What is your denomination? Roman Catholic.
    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? No, just more mature.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? The Eucharist.
    4. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Nothing I can list specifically.
    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug?

  69. Katherine

    Doh! I just realized this was for non-Catholics. Clearly I need to go back to bed now. Please delete my comment, Jen! Thx.

  70. Heather@Women in the Scriptures

    1. Mormon (but that is just a nick-name people use because we believe in the Book of Mormon. Our church is really called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

    2. I was raised a Mormon and I don’t think that my beliefs have really changed from what I was taught. As I’ve gotten older though I’ve learned to study the scriptures and pray more earnestly and that has changed my relationship with God. I have also learned to listen better and to receive personal revelation, which is something I wasn’t as good at when I was younger.

    3. In our church we go to church for 3 hours each Sunday (I know sounds crazy!)and even though it can be hard with little kids, I love the strength it gives me. The first hour is our sacrament meeting where we take the sacrament and worship, the second hour is Sunday school (and primary for the kids) where we study and learn, and the last hour the men and women split up and men go to their Priesthood meetings and women go to Relief Society. I LOVE Relief Society because it feels like a gathering of God’s holy women. It is awesome to feel a real sisterhood with other women, strengthen each other spiritually and physically and plan ways we can help those who are needy in our community. I love that part of church 🙂

    5. I write a blog called Women in the Scriptures and write about things relating to faith and women.

    Can I just tell you too how much I love your blog! I first found it several years ago when I was I was learning about NFP and your example gave me so much courage and faith. I can easily say that your writing has changed my heart and my life more than any other blogger I have read. Thank you for being willing to share your heart and your testimony. I have two little kids that may not have been here yet if wasn’t for the strength and faith and words taught me 🙂

    • Little Wife

      I also got into Catholic bloggers when researching NFP! Just amazing, life-changing stuff, huh? I love being open to life!

    • Lynne

      I love the idea of the Relief Society. A multi-generational gathering of women who share the same faith *is* strengthening and encouraging–and so very lacking in our society. We all need a place to be built up and mentored, a place where there are others like ourselves who know what we’re going through and will bear each other up, both in prayer and in real, physically tangible ways. Sigh. How can I create a Catholic one of these? A relief society and AWANA–*must.find.Catholic.version*

      • Heather@Women in the Scriptures

        Lynne, Relief Society really is wonderful! It is actually the largest and oldest organization of women anywhere in the world. You can read more about it here if you are interested to give you ideas about how you might do a Catholic version 🙂 There is something really powerful about women gathering together to serve God!

      • Laura

        You could start a group :). Our parish has 2 groups– one group meets after Mass in the morning each week to study the bible. The other is a book/social club that meets in the evening…..they read and discuss a book (currently CSLewis’ The Great Divorce) every other week, and they have social gatherings on the “other” weeks. The bible study is held at our parish hall and the other group is hosted in a different home each week by whoever wants to/can do it. Many women participate in both. It is open to all ages, although the core group is probably upper 20s to low 40s in age. We also have several prolife ministries that many of these same women are involved in. There is 1 mom who sends out emails with information about both groups and she organizes the bible study. Another mom sends out the emails about the evening group. Anyone on the email lists can post and we get some great sharing that way. We also pray for each other’s intentions, prepare for liturgical seasons, etc by sharing information via these groups. We also organize “meal trains” For moms who have a new baby or sometimes other overwhelming circumstances that makes meal support helpful. The ministries happening at our church have grown over a few short years after one mom decided to start a St Elizabeth Apostolate, where women support women. She started out with the meal trains and it has grown quickly and brought together women at all ages and stages. I guess my point is, maybe get together with someone else, sit down with your pastor and make it happen!

  71. Lisa

    I was raised Southern Baptist, joined the United Methodist Church as an adult, and teeter between the emerging movement and Catholicism now. I say that I’m not interested in “drinking the typical kool-aid” that I grew up with and am continuing to search for the place that’s right for me. I’m married to a former Catholic priest and find that our “services” (like sharing the Liturgy of the Hours daily) are my favorites at the moment.

    Pray for us to find our spot to belong. Since we have a unique background/story, we are still searching for where to fit in at the moment.

    I do have a blog! You can check me out at where I write about living a life that’s just a little offbeat.

  72. Taylor Rauschkolb

    1. Church of God out of Anderson, IN –evidently there are different iterations of COG. I grew up in a conservative Methodist church though.
    2. Yes. I am still protestant, but my beliefs have opened up a bit. I love learning about different traditions– I relate to God much more differently now than I did 10 years ago. Its less about “keeping the rules” and more about loving Jesus. Because of this I’ve become less afraid of being wrong and more attracted to mystery.
    3. I love the worship, but I most profoundly encounter God in solitude and silence, or meditation on his Word.
    4. I would love prayer. I want to make more space for people and interruption in my life. I have 4 children and I am so easily irritated! I just want to go be alone. (see #2 above)
    5. Haha sure! I learned more about one of God’s names, and it has been changing the way I see God and my body and all women everywhere.

  73. Jane

    1. Protestant – Christian Reformed (probably unheard of in Texas!)
    2. I would say my beliefs have shifted, not changed, as I’ve learned more about what the Bible says and separated that from some church traditions I question.
    3. I most appreciate our worship service for the opportunity to worship how ever we feel comfortable. Appreciated your IF post. A number of people raise hands and I only wish I could because I think in some ways it shows we’re completely giving ourselves to God and not worried about what people around us are thinking.
    4. I live streamed the IF gathering and so appreciated the challenges. My prayer would be for myself (and others) to get off dead center and know what God really means when He asks us to live for him.
    **Funny reverse story. A few years ago I attended JustFaith at our local Catholic church as the only Protestant (and in our town, Chr. Reformed and Catholic are considered the two ends of the spectrum). It took so much for me to attend that first meeting, so I understand your hesitancy with IF. At the end, Sister asked us to pass the peace. I had no idea what she meant and told my husband later that I was tempted to do the Richard Nixon peace sign thing while looking around the circle. At our retreats, we had lots of fun sharing our Protestant/Catholic jokes:). I learned so much beyond the content of the class–sadly, how separate our two faith communities are, but also so many traditions in the Catholic church that are beautiful (passing the peace being one of them!)

    • Camilla

      Made me chuckle envisioning you spinning around with the peace sign during the sharing of the peace! That is a hard tradition to get comfortable with for some people! Especially introverts. 🙂 –Camilla

      • Camilla

        Yep… still laughing.

  74. Kristen

    1. I grew up Presbyterian, but became Anglican as an adult because it was a good middle ground with my Catholic husband 🙂

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? My husband studies theology, so my beliefs have become more mature in regards to interpreting the Bible.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? The music! I love having an extended time of worship music at the beginning of the service.

    4. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Yes! We are in the process of trying to adopt from foster care, but the state is very very slow. We’d love prayers for the process, as well as for the children awaiting forever families.


  75. Tamsin

    Wow, I’m not the only non-Catholic who loves this blog too then!

    1. What is your denomination? Evangelical Christian.
    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? No, not especially, though I do feel much more drawn to aspects of Catholicism (attitude to family life, sanctity of marriage, birth control) than when I was younger. More of an addition to previous beliefs than a change.
    3. What is your favourite thing about your worship service? Singing a song as an adoration, offering the words up to Him & feeling connected with God.
    4. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? We have one miracle daughter after battling with more. We would love God to bless us with more (interestingly, the saint of the year generator gave me St Raymond Nonnatus for this year!)
    5. We have a small family journal at

    • Little Wife

      I’m with you on #2- there are so many beautiful things about the Catholic faith, and openness to life is definitely one of them. I want to go to my church and be like, “Guys! Check out what the Catholics believe! Let’s do THAT!”

      • Caroline M.

        Haha yep. I’m not sold on the no birth control thing, but I agree there are so many good Catholic beliefs and practices. Sometimes my husband asks when I’m going to convert.

  76. Sarah

    1. I’m from a Christian Church (as in Stone-Campbell Movement, same roots as Churches of Christ and Disciples; we’re sort in the middle of those two extremes).

    2. My beliefs are a lot less conservative socially and theologically than how I grew up, although morally, still very conservative. That change has been slow over time, culminating in my seminary experience. Ironically, I’m more comfortable with the Catholic idea of church, more comfortable with liturgy, and more comfortable with the Church directing my faith than I used to be, even though I’m more liberal socially. It’s occasionally confusing. I figure it’s supposed to be. One shouldn’t have all the answers when one speaks of the divine.

    3. I’ve always loved worship purely for the experience of bringing praise to God. I volunteer with the children and youth and sharing my time and faith with them makes me feel very fulfilled. Our preacher gives very good homilies, that often make me squirm a little (something I think is required of a good homily). Ultimately, I think the best thing about our services is the fellowship of meeting with other believers and corporately worshiping God.

    4. My best friend’s little boy (9 months) has a head that is growing too quickly. The pediatrician wasn’t sure what to do, can’t figure out what’s causing it. He sent my friend to a specialist. The specialist isn’t exactly sure what’s causing it. They’ve ruled out hydrocephalus, a tumor, and several other more ‘common’ problems, but they haven’t figured out what is causing it. So far it has not caused any developmental issues, but of course that is our most pressing fear. This is my constant prayer concern and knowing others are praying would be wonderful.

    5. I don’t have anything to shamelessly self promote, so I would like to answer someone else’s request for books that shaped our faith and shamelessly promote the works of Kathleen Norris and Anne Lamott. I particularly loved Cloister Walk and Acedia and Me (both Kathleen Norris’). They are memoir-ish books akin to Annie Dillard’s works, which I admit, I also love.

  77. Anne C.

    I am a long-time reader, but a rare commenter….so, here we go!

    1) My denomination is the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches (Canada). You can go here to find out more:

    2) My current beliefs are somewhat different from when I was younger. In part, this is from me growing up and maturing, “working out my salvation” and struggling through issues…some things I’ve rejected outright (certain eschatological positions), other things I’ve come to a richer understanding of. I’ve developed a deep respect and love for the liturgical traditions…I use Phyllis Tickles’ “The Divine Hours” books for my personal prayer time. If there was a liturgical Baptist denomination, I would strongly consider being part of it! 😀 This year, I am thinking of getting ashes imposed for Ash Wednesday and taking Lent a bit more seriously than I have in the past.

    3)My favourite thing about my worship service is: I play piano for our services, and I really love connecting with God, and helping lead the congregation to connect with God in music and song. Often at home, this is part of my time with God…even though it’s “practicing,” it’s deeper than that. I can’t quite put it into words…I guess it’s a form of prayer, and using music and words to say what I can’t.

    4) Intentions for which you can pray:
    a) Pray for me as I am quite often a solo parent. My husband travels frequently for his job, most often for a week a time, and I sometimes struggle “doing it all on my own” and feel lonely.
    b) that my husband and I would make time for our relationship when he is home and learn to enjoy one another again.
    c) our church is currently looking for a new senior pastor, as our current senior pastor is retiring in May, and our associate pastor is pursuing a call to missions and will probably be leaving to follow that calling in the next year or so. i am on the pastoral search team. We are praying that God would see fit for us to have a new senior pastor for September, ideally. It’s a very precarious time for us as a church.

  78. Susan

    Hi Jen! Thanks for having this discussion.

    1. I am Evangelical.
    2. My parents were agnostic, and actually weren’t happy when I started reading the Bible in my teens. I came to know and start following Jesus when I was 19, which was about 27 years ago. So yes definite change from when I was a kid.
    3. Hard to say – sometimes the music is good and makes me “feel” worshipful, sometimes it’s not. We are between music directors right now and just have people filling in until we find someone permanent. Our pastor gives wonderful sermons – he digs deep into the Bible and history, and speaks with such passion about Jesus.
    4. Thank you for praying for me! I often pray for you and for other bloggers I follow. My life is actually very broken – nothing I want to go into detail about here, but you can pray for me and God knows the details.
    5. No blog…maybe someday!

  79. Joseph

    Hi Jen, have loved your blog for years. Thanks for doing this.

    1. Russian Orthodox – convert from Catholicism
    2. Same as the Catholic Church minus the things we are disputing with each other.
    3. Respectfully – the traditional Liturgy that most of the Catholic Church was missing
    4. A prayer for the bringing the Catholic and Orthodox Churches back together again, so that I can attend Adoration, I do miss Adoration.
    5. Yes I blog –

  80. Val

    1. I’ve been in the Church of Christ my whole life.

    2. My beliefs have definitely broadened as I’ve aged. Not to say that I have abandoned the foundations of my faith but I’ve come to see the true beauty of the Restoration Movement. It was a plea for simplicity and unity. I’ve also really been shaped by my experiences as a missionary and church planter overseas. It forced me to really try to sort out what is essential and what is preference or habit.

    3. I love our weekly communion. When I have spent time in other churches, communion is what I miss more than anything else. I also love our tighknit culture. Though CoCs can sometimes be a little exclusionary, when you are “in”, you’re in and you can make connections at a church in any city you visit.

    4. My life is at a real point of redefinition right now. I no longer have unlimited time to pursue God–I have to find ways to serve and reach out to Him in my daily life. I believe I am doing what He wants me to do but I feel lost at the same time. Pray that I find new ways to consecrate my life.

  81. Melissa

    1. What is your denomination? Or, if you’re not Christian, what is your belief system? Lutheran – LCMS variety
    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change? Yes, I grew up a hodge podge of Southern Baptist, Non-denominational, Charismatic. The one common thread was that they were all certain that they and only they had the right answer about All. The. Things. My husband grew up Methodist but had family members who were pastors in various other denominations whose churches he had also attended. When we were first married and looking for “our church” we attended one based on the friendliness of the members (and they were truly the friendliest people I’d ever encountered.) We never officially joined that church because they were of the believer’s baptism variety and wanted my husband to be “re-baptized,” which made us uncomfortable. After our first child was born we discovered that their approach to children and church was much different than the one we wanted to take. (Children were not welcome in their services since they were too much of a distraction to the mood they were trying to set.) So we began looking into the core theological positions for every denomination we could think of (as well as our own positions.) We ended up Lutheran, though I sometimes think I lean a little more Catholic than most everyone in church with me.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine? Communion and the Liturgy. Since I’ve spent Sunday mornings wrestling one baby after another for 8 years, I often don’t hear enough of the sermon for it to matter, but if I receive communion or get to sing at least some of the psalms or hear at least some scripture I still get something out of it.
    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? We have decisions to make about moving or majorly remodeling our house. Neither one sounds like fun to me. I’d love prayers for direction and energy to do either.
    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion. Nope

  82. Kara

    Fun! I wasn’t sure if Protestants were allowed to comment! 🙂
    1. Southern Baptist
    2. No, but of course I have a much deeper understanding of my faith than I did growing up, and it’s a lot less about the legalism and a lot more about my relationship with Christ.
    3. As I think someone else said, getting to go! 🙂 I’ve worked in children’s ministry for years, so I’ve probably spent just as many, if not more, Sundays “in the back” than in the service. And I can’t really narrow it down further, as sometimes God uses the music, sometimes the teaching.
    4. I’m in my first year of homeschooling, will be homeschooling twice as many kids next year as this year (bringing my son “home” for kindergarten after Pre-K,) and am expecting baby #4 over the summer. I know this is old hat for most of you ladies, but I find the prospect of the fall terrifying and prayers are appreciated!
    5. I blog at . I’m also a photographer and my work is most easily followed on facebook: .

  83. Katie

    Hello- I was welcomed into the Catholic blogging world through the wisdom and creativity of the ladies at Like Mother Like Daughter ( I was pretty sick of reading bad parenting advice (I have three littles currently) and find Auntie Leila a child-rearing genius. I stopped reading news and have been reading blogs instead. My (mostly non-Catholic) friends and I enjoy discussing the posts together.

    1. I am an Eastern Orthodox Christian
    2. Raised in a baptist church, I found my way to Orthodoxy after reading the Church Fathers during college. It took me two years to got through the conversion process and was very difficult to leave the denomination of my upbringing. I fell in love with liturgy, the church year, stability of belief, the sacramental life, etc… Also, I was tired of the focus on getting new converts and making church silly (frankly) with productions instead of worship.
    3. The main liturgy served is the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. I love its piercing, yet life giving words. I love how it interacts with me differently each week while remaining largely the same. I also particularly enjoy the bridegroom matins during Holy Week, and watching babies being churched and baptized.
    4. You may pray that I and my family continue to grow in love and faith daily and that we allow the Lord to mold our hearts and make something beautiful of our lives.
    5. I have a (mostly defunct) blog at

  84. heather

    1. What is your denomination? Or, if you’re not Christian, what is your belief system?
    I am a baptized and confirmed Episcopalian. I was baptized as an adult with my husband and our little girl at Easter Vigil a few years ago.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger?
    I dont know that my beliefs are different, but I have now found a ‘home’ in a church where I feel like my beliefs go hand in hand with what the church is about. I am from ‘The Bible belt’ and in a very evangelical conservative state. I grew up feeling like I couldnt have a real church home because all church was super conservative or Catholic, and I assumed you had to be born Catholic.I love the tradition and history of the church, the appreciation for beauty and the arts,(especially since I am an artist!)and how loving and accepting my parish is, and how welcoming they were to me from the beginning. Its also the first place I learned about the importance of communion.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? i love the comfort of knowing certain prayers and songs by heart and the feeling of quiet reverence throughout. As an introvert, many church services I attended with the hand raising and shouting out made me feel like people were watching me. I love in liturgical settings people seem more focused on their own worship experience.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?
    A wonderful woman I know recently passed away from cancer (she was diagnosed on Christmas Day of all days) and because she’d recently changed jobs, she had no insurance and so not only is her family going through the devestation of losing her, but the devestation of having to pay for her treatment completely out of pocket. I would like to ask for prayers for her to be at peace and for her family as well.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion.
    Why yes, I do! I have a folk art business called Audrey Eclectic. My etsy shop is:
    my blog is:

    I do a lot of paintings inspired by classic literature as well as some religious scenes (most focusing on motherhood) One of the great things about finding a faith home for me is that it brings more joy to me in my art, and I love to share it in my paintings. One of my paintings was actually on the cover on The Anglican Digest for christmas 2012 🙂

    • Camilla

      LOVE your beautiful paintings! If I had any money for things like that… Oh, I would indulge for sure. Liked you on FB to make sure I keep seeing them! –Camilla (will be praying for your friend’s family).

  85. Marie

    Hi, Jennifer! *waves* I’ve commented a few times, but I’m mostly a lurker who hearts your “7 quick takes” posts in a major way.

    1. What is your denomination?

    Church of the Nazarene. A spin-off of Methodism, which is a spin-off of Anglicanism, which is a spin-off of Catholicism. And I love Pope Francis.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change?

    Yes. And no. How to answer this without a book-length post? Basically, I grew up in a Christian home, though we didn’t go to church regularly. My foundation is the same as always, but how I live on that foundation has changed over the years. That has a lot to do with the private school I went to as a teen and the mentors I had in the abusive church my husband and I attended (the church was bad, not the mentors) when we were first married.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service?

    Eucharist (we call it Communion), hands down. I also love that my pastor has such a tender heart that he cries at least once every sermon.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?

    Totally! I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, so each day is a challenge. The really big thing right now is kids; I can’t have them, so my husband and I are talking about/praying about what our family is supposed to look like.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion.

    I do have a blog – Along the Way @ I would love for any of you to stop by!

    • Cynthia

      Marie, to say that each day is a challenge with CFS is an understatement. I was diagnosed with CFS and Fibromyaglgia in 2009. The physical challenges can be overwhelming by themselves. When you add the challenges added by those who don’t understand the illness and trying to decide how much you can push your body – well, I’m not sure there is a word to describe it. You are in my prayers.

  86. Rosita

    1. I am currently Mennonite, though I was raised Church of the Brethren. Both churches are out of the Anabaptist movement. That being said, I have always had a love for the Catholic Church and often attend mass and when I was younger and living in France I participated in a Catholic young adult group. I don’t feel led to change denominations, but I do often find myself explaining/confronting misconceptions about the Catholic Church with Protestant friends.

    2. I would say my current spiritual beliefs differ very little from when I was younger. I was blessed that both my parents have very active faiths which made me see how faith was a real part of life, not just a Sunday activity. They were also both very active in ecumenical activities, so I have always had an appreciation and understanding of other faith traditions, even when they varied from my own. I think it was because I was exposed to other traditions when I was younger I was able to ask a lot of those questions and sort through for answers then.

    3. My favorite things about worship service is communion. And although it is not a regular part of the worship service where we currently attend, I love the Mennonite tradition of acapella singing. After growing up on the Church of the Brethren, the tradition I miss the most is Love Feast (on Maundy Thursday there would be a shared meal with other members where we also washed each others feet. It was always a very powerful service for me.)

    4. Prayer requests – Our sixth child is due any day. We are planning to start homeschooling next year at the request of our two oldest children.

    5. No book, blog, or Etsy shop. Thought about starting a blog, but the thought did not energize me, it just made me more tired. So for now I just enjoy reading what others share.

    • Allie Dillinger

      You have such an interesting background, and I am sure a very interesting perspective on faith and life. I’ve always wanted to know more about the Mennonite church, and we are also considering homeschooling once our kids are older. If you started a blog, I would read it!

      • Allie Dillinger

        Also – that’s probably not the most enticing post of mine to be highlighting….lol.

  87. Allie Dillinger

    Well, this is exciting!

    1. I am a protestant and currently a member of the Wesleyan church.
    2. I grew up Southern Baptist and I still adhere to a lot of what I grew up with. But being part of a Wesleyan church for 10 years, I guess I’ve grown more…reformed? I also attended my dad’s Episcopalian church every other weekend when I visited, but I did not agree with much of what was taught and so I never really aligned with that. In fact, it took me several years to realize that not all Anglican churches are the same and that there were wonderful Christians in all denominations. I do, however, LOVE the liturgy and reverence that I find the Anglican and Catholic church embrace much more so than the Evangelical church (in general).
    3. I love worshiping through music and communion when I am in church. At home I treasure my personal time with the Lord praying and studying the Word, although with two toddlers I haven’t been very disciplined in that area lately (and sadly). I also LOVE doing Bible studies with a local group of women here – I think we can grow so much in community, when we draw from each other’s insights and personal walks with the Lord.
    4. I have a lot of lost family, and I struggle with maintaining a healthy relationship while still sharing the truth of the gospel with them. It’s been a difficulty in the past and it’s still hard.
    5. I blog at – and I wrote a post about unity between the Catholic and Protestant church a while back that I think I’ll shamelessly plug, thank you!

  88. Alinea

    This is a great idea!

    1- I belong to a Mennonite Brethren church. (We’re not the same as horse-and-buggy Mennonites- we embrace all modern conveniences! We do have ties to those Old Order Mennonite colonies though.) We are a peace church (pacifists and/or conscientious objectors) and Anabaptist (we’re baptized as adults or teens on confession of faith). I live in a part of Canada which has a lot of Mennonites, but I know we’re not very common in some places!

    2- My beliefs haven’t changed so much as solidified and matured, especially in the last few years since my children were born. There’s nothing like answering curious children’s questions to make you think hard about exactly what you believe and why! Making daily prayer and Bible reading a part of my schedule has also made a big impact on my faith.

    3- My favourite part of worship services is kind of hard to pin down. Music and singing don’t always have a big impact on me, and I sometimes find sermons hard to focus on, especially with children, but I really enjoy attending services. I think what I love most about the services at our church is that anyone can be involved. We have a very small church, which makes it easier (and sometimes necessary) to include people of all ages.

    4- This is a bit vague, but there are a few situations coming up in my life in which I know I should speak up when I would much rather stay silent.

    5- No blog, etc. I tried blogging once for a few months and found out how much work it is, and decided to leave it to the professionals (like you)!

  89. Jenny

    1. What is your denomination?

    Non-denom Christian headed towards the Catholic Church 🙂

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger?

    Yes, but not drastically. I was raised in a Christian home and have bounced around between a handful of denominations, but never left the tenets of the faith. My opinions on some of the more peripheral issues have changed over time. But now that I’m considering joining the RCC…that’s a bit of a change right there!

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service?

    Singing. It’s odd to me that Catholics, who have an incredible musical heritage, don’t seem to be much for congregational singing (from what I’ve seen) the way Protestants are.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?

    Pray for us as we discern our way into the Church and pray that our (very Protestant) families would not be too grieved and worried about us.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug?

    I write at and also on Thursdays at real

    On another note, I’ve been watching episodes of EWTN’s “The Journey Home” like nobody’s business and I just watched yours, Jennifer! It was great! Thank you so much for sharing your story of powerful conversion and letting us be part of it on your blog.

  90. Eva

    a) I call myself a Christian Agnostic these days- I’m still not totally convinced but Christianity resonates strongly with me.

    b) I’ve gone from being a new ager to a hard core atheist, to a spiritual seeker to a kind- of Christian 🙂

    c) My favourite thing about worship services is the fact that they test me and push my ‘OMG I’m really not comfortable with this’ buttons. I can now comfortably do the ‘peace be with you’ thing at the end of the service, but last week when I walked in we were all given a spoon and I was all ‘WHY ARE WE BEING GIVEN PROPS??? I’M NOT COMFORTABLE WITH WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN HERE!!!’. Turns out it wasn’t too bad but the tension I feel at actually having to talk to other people amuses me.

    d) I’m not comfortable with asking for prayers. Not sure why…

    e) Well yes I do have a blog. It’s small but I kind of love it and would love more participants. The whole reason that I began it was that I have no-one in my life to discuss with faith with. Now I have a few 🙂

    • jen

      I have to ask… what was with the spoon????

      • Eva

        It was something to do with an acronym of T.E.A spoon that we should use for quick prayers or something. I swear I was listening at the time but I clearly haven’t retained it!

  91. Erica

    Hi! So nice of you to Ask!

    I’m a Christian Jesus lover. I currently worship in a Vineyard church, but have also worshipped in Lutheran, Episcopalian, Baptist, and inter-denominational churches.
    I was raised Lutheran and came to my own faith as a teenager. I’d say my faith has matured but not made any radical changes.
    I used to love worship, music, singing the most about service, but our church has been having sound and volume issues that have interrupted that for me. Nowadays the preaching is blessing me most.

    If someone really wants to pray for me, it would be that my twenty years of migraines would stop. Thos Sunday the sermon was on the story when Jesus, on the way to heal Jairus’ darter, gets touched by the woman who had been bleeding for 12 years. I keep thinking, if only Jesus would pass close to me, I would reach out and touch his hem and be healed too. It’s hard to persist in believing God is loving and good and present in my life and yet have this chronic, life interrupting condition. I often get tired of asking for prayer for my headaches, but after Sunday I’m kicking my cynicism and weariness to the curb.

    God bless you, Jen, and thank you for all the lovely and encouraging writing.

    • Lynne

      I, too, think of myself as the woman touching his hem. Prayers for you.

  92. Erin


    My husband and I both have so enjoyed reading your blog. You always make me laugh which I always need!
    1.) I am a Southern Baptist Christian.
    2.) My beliefs haven’t changed since childhood, they have just become more directed, informed and have moved me to more action.
    3.) My favorite thing about worship service is the greeting time. We take a few minutes after the first praise song or two to float around the aisles a bit, saying hello, hugging and shaking hands, asking how things are going. One can also be sure to introduce oneself to someone new so that they feel comfortable. Our church body truly is a family making up the body of Christ! It is a beautiful thing. There is such thoughtfulness and love.
    4.) I just pray for wisdom, that we will be used by Him, and that we will have the courage to follow through with whatever He calls us to do.
    5.) My photography blog is I love getting to know my customers and loving on them.

  93. Mel

    1. I love the church we currently attend, which is a Church of Christ, but it pains me to say that I attend a Church of Christ — why, is explained in question 2.

    2. I was raised in the very conservative version of the Church of Christ (i.e. we were the only ones going to heaven, celebrating Christmas and Easter as a religious holiday were sins, singing with instruments was a sin, etc). I never bought into that whole concept, but I was the preacher’s kid so I didn’t have much choice of where I went to church.
    As an adult I moved, married a man that was raised Baptist, and had every intention of attending a different church, but on a whim we attended a COC here and found that was different. They acknowledge and fellowship with Christians in other denominations, they talk about and believe in God’s grace, celebrate Christmas and Easter, it’s just a night and day experience.
    But because of the my negative connotation of the Church of Christ, I don’t like idea of being associated with one, (even when I know this one is different). Also, I’m not tied to only attending/worshiping at a COC.
    So I wouldn’t say my beliefs changed, but I’m finally attending a church where I agree with what is taught.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? I don’t have one, honestly. Some days it’s the sermon, some days it’s the singing, sometimes Communion, and other times it’s nothing. I really do love the people at our church though.

    4. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? I’m pregnant with our fourth child and would really appreciate prayers for a full term, uneventful pregnancy and delivery, that ends with a healthy mom and healthy baby. I’ve had “exciting” pregnancies in the past and would love to have a normal pregnancy and delivery. Oh, and a smooth transition to becoming a family of 6.

  94. Melinda

    1. What is your denomination? I’m Lutheran. We’ve attended both ELCA and LCMS churches and, right now, are at a LCMS church. I’m really not sure what all the hubbub between these two synods are!

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change? I was raised Episcopalian and was so until about 2001. When 9/11 happened I, like so many, took refuge in my faith. However, during that first Sunday after that horrible day, not a single thing was mentioned about the attacks. During or shortly after communion, someone from the back of our church started singing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and I remember the priests and music directors looking at each other in panic. When, after weeks, nothing was mentioned, I realized that I needed a church that was in the world. After a bit of research, I joined a Lutheran congregation.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine? I’ve always enjoyed the Eucharist, no matter what church I am at. However, on thing I particularly like about our current church is the emphasis on the scripture. One of the reasons we left our last church is that the Bible was taking more and more of a back row roll in things and our current church keeps it front and center.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? I think this is something we can all pray for, but I hope that, as Christians, we can finally get past the barriers between us. Instead of saying I’m a Lutheran or I’m a Catholic or whatnot, we should say we are Christians.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion. I do! I have a book blog at

    • jen

      #1: I’m ex-ELCA and have attended churches in both the ELCA and LCMS. The differences have to do with how Scripture and the “Confessions” are interpreted. The ELCA takes a more liberal view of Scripture whereas the LCMS tends to be much more conservative. The LCMS also practices closed communion where you need to be LCMS (or at least able to assent to agreement with the teachings of that particular church) before you are allowed to commune. Of course, this varies by parish and also region of the country with the areas around St. Louis and Fort Wayne, Indiana being the most stringent.

      #4: Word.

  95. Sherry

    I’m a Texas Southern Baptist from head to toe, but strangely enough, we are members of an Evangelical Free church where we will probably stay for the rest of our lives, good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise. I would love to go back to a Southern Baptist church because of the traditions that I grew up with (yes, Baptists have traditions, too) but then I’d have to leave my church family and it’s where God put us.

    I haven’t really changed much in my beliefs, but I obviously have become comfortable with being in a different denomination–and with fellowshipping with other denominations.

    I like the informality of our worship service–and the congregational participation in the singing and in the other parts of the service. Our pastor sometimes uses the stories of what God is doing in the lives of people in the congregation (with their permission, of course) to illustrate points in his sermons, and I like that. I like knowing that we are all broken people worshipping a mighty God together.

    You could pray for my two sons and one of my daughters, all three of whom are not really walking with the Lord. I have eight children, and I am not sure why God has allowed three of the eight to walk away from his grace and try to go it on their own. But I am trusting Him for their salvation in His mercy.

    Yes, I write mostly about books at my blog, Semicolon.

  96. Laura

    I couldn’t make it through all the comments, but glad to see I’m not the only Jew representing. 🙂

  97. Anne

    Hello! And I thought I was the only non-Catholic reading the blog! It is great to read all the comments.
    1. I am Episcopal, my husband is Catholic. Neither of us wants to give up our church so we go separate ways on Sunday..I take our twin toddlers with me, and our 4 year old goes to Mass with her dad..for now. I am trying to get us to at least alternate Sundays so we can all attend and worship as a whole family.

    2. I was raised in the Episcopal church and identified myself that way my whole life..but quite superficially. Up until my thirties I really had a hard time believing in God..this is something I really wrestled with because many times I have felt God’s presence, yet I just couldnt buy into it orwouldnt let myself..but this persistent sense of God led me to really give God and religion a chance again and I began atttending regularly. Between that and reading many, in fact, mostly Catholic stories, of faith and conversion my faith has solidified and deepened, and the mystery of it all is so beautiful.

    3. My favorite parts of the Episcopal service are communion, the peace, and the traditional hymns. Not being able to partake in communion when I attend Catholic services with my husband bothers me..but I get it, the beliefs with respect to communion are distinctly different between the Catholic and Episcopal church.

    4. I would appreciate prayers for guidance and courage as I prepare to search for a job after a couple years off for baby rearing. :). Blessings to you all.

    • lehall

      I would invite you to check out the American Association of Interchurch Families (or the stronger organization in Great Britain, I think it’s called AIF) We are families living life together fully invested in two different Christian traditions. Lots of people make it work lots of different ways, The big shift comes when you can begin to share and nurture faith with your spouse and kids, even as there are differences. AIF has a really good listserve where folks share, trouble-shoot and support. We’d love to welcome you.

      • Anne

        Thank you for the suggestion. I will check it out!

  98. Thora

    1. Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, otherwise known as Mormon.

    2. Born, bred and raised Mormon, and now raising my four (soon to be five) children with my husband in our faith.

    3. I love taking the sacrament each week – the weeks I don’t make to Church because of sickness, etc, I feel like my whole week is off kilter somehow. I also currently am really enjoying Sunday School; my husband is teaching it, and we’re doing the Old Testament this year. He is finishing his Ph.d. in Hebrew Bible, and I did Near Eastern Studies as an undergraduate, so he spends all week bouncing his thoughts/ideas off of me from Genesis (where we currently are). I love that it gets us talking about the scriptures together, and then every week I really enjoy his lessons – but then I might be biased 😉 (And our youngest son started our Church’s nursery that they join at 18 months for the second two hours of church (after the Sacrament Meeting, which is the main meeting), and I’m not going to lie – it was bliss listening to a lesson without him running around.)

    4.The biggest thing that needs prayers in my life currently is that I’m entering the final trimester of my fifth pregnancy – I don’t have any more needs than anyone else with four kids seven and younger, with a fifth on the way, but I have been struggling a lot with this pregnancy and having any energy.

    I know that you didn’t ask, but as a bonus answer, I love reading Catholic blogs, because you focus on family, and being open to life. It has changed my views on birth control and childbearing (not that I haven’t felt open to life previously, and I’ve always felt focused on the family, but this is a place that I feel the Catholic religion takes to a whole new level, and I like it.) Of course, trying to get the hang of using NFP and its higher learning curve I am sure is what directly led to this (surprise) pregnancy – but that has been good for me and openness to life as well.
    I love the Internet and blogs for being able to read and connect with others from other faiths – although I admit this is the first time I have commented on your blog, despite reading for around a year – but I reference your blog all the time in conversations with my husband – I really love your thoughts on family, but also on community, and finding modern community compared to what traditional friendships/community was. Also you helped me finally be able to express my thoughts on homosexual marriage, which was actually just what you said, and that I’d never been able to put into words before reading your words, and saying, “yes! yes!”, but had always felt.

  99. Leanne Shawler

    1. Baptised, sort of raised Anglican (Australian version).Now that I’m living in the U.S., I’m Episcopalian, (The Episcopal Church being a member of the Anglican Communion)

    2. Spiritual beliefs are definitely different now. My Christian education as a child wasn’t much, not going beyond preschool really. My idea of God was far away and judgemental. Now, I know God as being love and that I am (we all are) God’s beloved.

    3. The music is my favorite part. My church does a wide variety of music. We’re adding more and more gospel (which is a little different for an Episcopal church) and I get to dance as well as sing. I’ve sensed the divine in the music (of all kinds, not just the dancey stuff), through candles lit in darkness, through the silence of a monastery cloister.

    4. I pray for peace and an end to gun violence… and I’d like to pray for folks’ intentions too 🙂

    5. I have a blog which I post with varying degrees of frequency. I work now at a Reform synagogue so much of my recent posts have been about encountering that … others are art type posts.

    Thanks 🙂

  100. Steph

    1. Pentecostal, but mostly just a Jesus-lover.

    2. They are more grace-filled. I’ve seen my own need for the mercy of Christ, and through that have a better understanding of the gospel.

    3. When hope is found and lives are restored!

    4. I’d love prayer for clarity and direction. Oh and a husband. 😉

  101. Anne

    Hi Jen! Thanks so much for being so welcoming! I read a couple of Catholic blogs because I see certain similarities to my own religion: emphasis on the family, a prayerful life, concern for social justice. It makes me happy to feel so welcomed.
    1.My religion is the Baha’i Faith. Here is some info: and also our U.S. site
    2.I was raised as a Byzantine Catholic. I have a great love and admiration for that Faith and all the divine truths enshrined therein, I don’t feel so much that I’ve “left” that Faith, but that this is a continuation of it for me. It was important for me to find a Faith that embraced all of humanity: all religions and all peoples. When I came across the Baha’i Faith it felt like Truth to me. I also loved the emphasis on seeking peace and unity in this world. I do know that these truths are also an important and integral part of Catholic teaching as well, and my love for my previous religion has grown because of my involvement in the Baha’i Faith.
    3.We do not have a ritualized worship service, we read the writings of the Baha’i Faith and also other sacred religions. Sometimes there is music. We are a young Faith (1844), so we are in our earliest stages and a lot of these things (music, art) are still developing. I also “encounter the Divine” when I am in nature, and also when I am serving other people. It is an important part of my Faith to help people and to build a united, peaceful world.
    4. I was widowed many years ago, without children. I haven’t remarried because I haven’t found the right person yet!! If you could send some prayers my way for that intention that would be wonderful!
    5. I do have a personal blog, very small readership, mostly hiking pictures and places I’ve been:

    Jen, thank you again for this wonderful idea! I truly love your blog and you are a beautiful representative of your Catholic Faith. You are warm and welcoming to others, and you have cultivated a very respectful readership based on the level of dialog here and the very diverse group which follows you! I have a great love for the Faith you follow, and I truly enjoy reading your posts.

  102. ~ Beth

    I worship in the Episcopal Church, as an Anglo-catholic, which is a western branch of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I recognize Anglicanism (and Eastern Orthodoxy) as not Roman, but still fully catholic, deeply rooted in the church and traditions directly traced through physical touch back to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    I was baptized, confirmed, and married in the Episcopal Church, but strayed far, far, (far!) away in my adulthood. Upon my return, God slapped me in the head and graciously welcomed me into his bosom. I honestly can think of no other place I would rather be.

    I love ancient liturgy and tradition, filled with lots of scripture. I am constantly amazed by the way I am fed through the word of God and the sacraments, particularly by the daily receiving of the eucharist. It gives me a joy and peace that I never knew existed.

    I particularly love High Masses at night, with smells, bells, and choral prayer that are truly a foretaste of heaven. They are a treat for all the senses!

    I also love sharing the Good News with others and seeing how the seeds I drop are tended and grow by the grace of God. (Who says Episcopalians don’t evangelize?) I believe that living a life in Christ is the secret to happiness – yet it is not a secret at all!

    I pray for the unity of Christ’s church, that we all may be one.

    I don’t blog (yet!) but I do highly recommend the blog of our amazing priest:

    Thanks for asking!

  103. lehall

    Hi! It’s fun to see so much response from other non-Catholic readers. I don’t always get where you’re coming from on religion, but when you talk about what it’s like to take care of a home and family, I’m right with you. I love the way you publish those things that are obvious to everyone else and are like revelations to me.
    1. United Methodist. I am a pastor serving two small rural churches. My husband is Roman Catholic (confirmed during our engagement…that was an interesting time). We attended RCIA together. We got to the mid-way point and each person was supposed to meet with the priest individually. I got into his office and said “I think this whole Roman Catholic thing is really interesting, but I am not sure God is not calling me to ordination” He (wisely) suggested that I get that figured out before I pursued confirmation in the RC church. Within a few months, husband was confirmed and I was officially re-started in the UM ordination process.
    2. My religious beliefs have deepened and widened, but I’d say they still have the same center. We methodists like to talk about the transforming grace of God in Jesus Christ.
    3. I serve two very small churches and can see folks clearly as I lead. I am awed and grateful that we can be together and that God is with us.
    4. We’re working through plans for our second son’s baptism. Older’s baptism was grace-filled, faithful to the expectations of the RCC, and open to the hope of greater Christian unity. We live in a different city now and have different circumstances. We’re trying to figure out how to offer a similar gift to Younger.
    5. I blog (sporadically) at

  104. Rebecca

    1. Eastern Orthodox. (I have to be careful when self identifying, because I have noticed that if I just say “Orthodox”, people overwhelmingly assume I am Jewish. Maybe it is a regional thing.)
    2. I was born and raised Roman Catholic, spent 20ish years in agnostic disillusionment, converted to Orthodoxy with my formerly die-hard iconoclast Protestant husband.
    3. I love the churches themselves, Byzantine iconography, the paramount importance of the sacraments and confession especially, the consistency of worship, the attitude of the Orthodox church to the nature of humanity, free will, original sin & salvation… I could go on. I most especially appreciate that communion is immediate upon baptism. I never knew that was possible before, but honestly not having immediate communion would be a (hypothetical) deal breaker for me at this point… it just makes so much sense.

  105. April

    1. Attend Bible Church
    2. Raised in a Southern Baptist church. My beliefs have changed dramatically, since childhood. I would say the most obvious is NFP. We have five children. We don’t plan at all, just allow God to bless us as He sees fit.
    3. Worship music is my favorite. I love singing my heart out and praying. One of my closest friends is Catholic, your blog opens up a lot of discussions between us. A few days before you posted about you experience at IF, I asked her if Catholics raise their hands during worship. I thought it was neat that you would post about it at the same time.
    4. Right now, I’m praying for God’s vision for our houshold. To feel at peace within our walls.
    5. No plug

  106. Rose @

    1. What is your denomination? I am a Christian and while we are currently members of a Baptist church, we prefer to just be Christians, not “Baptists”. We’ve attended and been members of non-denominational, charismatic, Assembly of God and Baptist churches and loved them all.
    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? No – I’ve been a Christian since I was 9.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine? I love the music/praise & worship time. And the sermons… our pastor is wonderful.
    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Too many to write, but thank you for any and all prayers.
    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion. I write at and 🙂

  107. Kelly @ Love Well

    Good gravy, look at all of us. It’s like the freakin’ Reformation over here!

    1. I grew up closely aligned with the Baptist denomination, but I would call myself evangelical nondenominational.
    2. My current beliefs are clarified, I would say. They aren’t substantially different (although, like many, I had a time of wandering that ended with me embracing faith for myself). But God gets bigger and more glorious to me with each passing year, and I would say that keeps my faith always growing.
    3. I love the music in our worship service. It’s contemporary and loud, yet it also is done so well, and we have so many interesting musicians (harmonica, ukelele, trash cans, etc.) who are clearly using their gifts to edify the body and show off God’s glory.
    4. Sabbath. That’s what I want prayer for. It’s a continued journey for me. I want to do a better job embracing this gift than I currently do.

    • Joanna

      Love it – “the freakin’ Reformation over here”!

  108. Kelly

    I love that this post popped up. I was feeling like an outsider creeping around – good to know non-Catholics are welcome. 🙂

    1. I don’t affiliate myself with any denomination – you could say I’m the Christian church’s best cynic and yet perhaps their most loyal “member”. Adhering to Christ’s teachings – I don’t have the heart to give up on the Bride of Christ, but I still feel frustrated with all the divisions/denominations and don’t necessarily claim one.

    2. I was raised mostly in a baptist-like setting – extreme legalism. Now I realize you can’t be 100% on your theology – God is too big to let us have it all figured out. And I believe a whole lot more in the grace of God than I ever have.

    3. Honestly, I don’t find Protestant services very worshipful – it’s often more like going to band concert. But I enjoy worshiping God in the confines of my home in prayer and “Christian” music. I find old hymns worshipful as well.

    4. My family all seem to find themselves in hard places these days. Prayer for them would be a blessing.

    5. I enjoy blogging at the

  109. Amy B

    1. What is your denomination? Presbyterian Church in America. At least, that is the denomination of church I attend. It is closest to what I believe, but I really just think of myself as a Christian.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change? Yes. I was raised Catholic, and as a teen and young adult I was very fervently so. The story of why I am now a Protestant is a long and complicated one – and I have no desire to cause controversy! Short version is I eventually came to many of the same convictions as the original reformers (Luther, Calvin, etc). The long version can be found on my blog –

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? I don’t want to sound like I am minimizing the importance of the Sunday service – I am not! – but I do think that we have sometimes gotten a little too focused on that one or two hours of the week. Jesus is our Sabbath, and our entire lives should be worship. So, I find that where I meet Jesus best changes from day to day, week to week, season to season. Sometimes it is in the teaching I receive in the Sunday sermon. Sometimes it is in talking with a friend. Sometimes it is in reading the Word. Sometimes it is in a song on the radio. Sometimes it is in the breaking of the bread. Sometimes it is in the work I am doing. Etc.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? Prayer for my husband in his work – he needs to be seriously lifted up and strengthened during this season. Thank you!

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug?
    My blog (sort of defunct, but I have intentions to blog again!):
    My Jamberry Nails store:

    Thanks for taking the time to let us come out of hiding!!!! <3

  110. Jessica

    1. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (AKA Mormon)
    2. Lifelong member of this church, but my understanding has deepened and become sweeter the longer I study and worship. So many layers of meaning and symbolism to uncover…. I found your blog because you write about the pains of introversion, and I relate! I was surprised at how much I relate to you on a religious level as well. There is an amazing amount of similarity between our churches, that I never expected. I now find myself, a horrible introvert, reaching out in friendship to a sweet Catholic girl in town that I’ve always wanted to be friends with, but with both of us deeply committed to our own religions, I thought we would be too different to relate deeply. Being an introvert, I don’t do superficial friendships very well. Now I know we can understand each other on the deepest levels, too.
    3. I love the lay ministry – we don’t have paid, professional clergy. All the members of the congregation take turns fulfilling the different responsibilities at church. It gives me an appreciation for the frailties of all people, as well as the divinity in everyone who is trying to follow the Savior and serve as he would serve. I’m currently one of the organizers of the children’s program at church, where I never thought I would be, and where I am out of my comfort zone, but where I am being challenged to grow spiritually. Going to church to serve instead of to be served is a beautiful thing.
    4. I wish I could be selfless and ask you to pray for someone else, but it’s really me that needs extra prayers right now. I’ve been struggling with significant depression and am now in treatment, but I can’t find my footing yet. I feel like a failure to my husband and two sons. I need to get better.
    5. No real blog. Thanks for asking!

    • jen

      Jessica, you’d be really amazed at how many of us look normal on the outside but are really struggling with depression.

      Ten years ago, I ran into one of my parishioners when I was out walking and she started telling me about her depression and anxiety, commenting to me that she felt so spiritually weak because she was dealing with it. When I told her that I (her sweet little pastor’s wife) was on medication for mine, she was shocked. Her comment: “But you hide it so well!” If only she read my blog and knew how much I *didn’t* hide it…

      Hang in there. It does get better. It might take 2-3 tries to find a medication that helps as well as some therapy but things will improve.

    • Caroline M.

      Honey, listen. It is not selfish to ask for prayers for yourself. My heart hurts for you right now because damn, the depression beast is a terrible thing, and it’s hard to understand unless you’ve known it personally. It is wonderful that you are in treatment – that is such a hard step to take. Seriously, send me an email if you like. It’s Peace.

  111. southafricanmama

    1. What is your denomination? Anglican
    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? Yes and no. In my 20s I went through a stage of real doubt if there was anyone out there but meeting my husband and the births of my 2 children radically changed that and I’d definitely say my faith has matured and deepened since though I still have SUCH a long way to go. This is one of the reasons I love your blog – I found myself asking many of the same questions you did after having kids.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Eucharist service though I seldom get much peace there now with 2 young kids and involvement in Sunday School teaching!
    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart.Thank you, so kind. Please pray for a way for me to continue to be a stay at home mom and earn money from home/ (or think differently about money and lifestyle)- we need extra money but my babies need me at home.
    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Nope, hope to one day but for now just enjoy the fabulous blogs like this one.

  112. jamie

    1. Christian–Episcopalian

    2. My view of God has shifted from that He’s old-testament, mad-all-the-time God to a more loving God.

    3. The ritual…it is very comforting to me. It helps me stay grounded.

    4. My upcoming move back to the states (my husband is in the military overseas)

    5. nope, just like reading your blog! thanks!

  113. jen

    1. What is your denomination?

    If you cut me open, I bleed Christian first and foremost. If you want to get super-specific, I’m Lutheran (more specifically AALC)

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger?

    Very different. I was raised atheist/agnostic and came to faith when I was 13 in the Episcopal church. (I think my dad still holds out hope 20 years later that I’ll “come to my senses”.) I hung out with the Conservative Baptists in college and married my husband who is a Lutheran pastor… and the 4th generation of Lutherans in ministry in his family.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service?

    The music. The older the hymn, the better, especially as Bach set many of his chorales to hymn tunes. If it’s done well, Lutheran church music is heavenly. Not done well, it’s… kind of like being in the other place.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?

    My autistic son to continue to develop speech. Please and thank you. 🙂

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug?

    I’m the annoying one who refreshes your page at 10:00 PST on Thursday night to try and be the first person up for Quick Takes. I blog at ::Meditatio:: which is at

    Thank you so much for doing this, Jen!

  114. Joanna

    Hi, Jen! I have been reading your blog for 4+ years now and love, love, love checking in every few days.
    1. We are Jesus followers first and foremost but we are definitely theologically Protestant. Denominationally, we are probably more evangelical with a bent towards Baptist doctrine but currently attend an amazing Cumberland Presbyterian church we love for the spirit of God that moves in it. Love just pours out of our Church family.
    2. I am WAY far from my previously agnostic young adulthood. Definite born again, Holy Roller, Jesus freak-type now because I have been saved through God’s amazing and precious grace from an absolutely sin-filled life and heart.
    3. I love our liturgy, which is odd because it’s a bit formal and we’re not really formal people. We have a choir and a praise band, which is a really fun mix. I also really love that we have a corporate time of confession because we need to remember we have a holy and just God and that our repentance is a huge part of our salvation.
    4. Prayers for unity in our marriage, our family and our church – that we would truly love others before ourselves.
    5. No plugs here. My motto right now is “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”. (Obviously, people make time for blogs, websites, etsy shops and I am grateful for them and their efforts but this mama has enough on her plate right now.)

  115. Caroline Marie

    I’m really enjoying reading these comments!

    1) I try to follow the universal truth that exists within all major religions – Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, ,Judaism – past the cliche of GOD = LOVE and into what that belief really means. I’m studying theology at a Catholic university, and am inspired by the great mystics.

    2) I was a devout Catholic as a child and attended Catholic school grades 1- 12. As a young adult, I became interested in various new age and pagan beliefs and then followed a spiritual path leading me back to a Catholic school at age 45.

    3) I attend a progressive Catholic church that has great music, the beautiful traditions of Catholic rituals and inspirational pre-mass speakers. But where I truly encounter the Divine is through prayer, trees, the ocean, inspired art, kindness.

    4) I adopted an older child who has some significant mental health issues due to the trauma and abuse of her early years. Prayers for her are appreciated.

    • Caroline M.

      From one Caroline to another – definitely praying for you as you struggle through these hardships with your daughter. People like you are doing a wonderful thing by adopting those who aren’t “as young and healthy as possible.”

  116. Lindsey @ Running in Circles

    I was raised in a very contemporary non-denominational church, which is the same kind of church that I attend now, because my husband is employed there. That said, as I have developed in my own faith I have come to think of myself as a liturgical Protestant…I feel like learning about the historical components of church life and worship have deepened and strengthened my faith. Since this is not really the emphasis of our church, I have had to get creative with my own home culture to fill in the gaps for myself and for my kids. I wrote for 31 days about this topic in October at my blog, Running in Circles (

    I love reading here, Jen…I’m looking forward to seven posts this week! 🙂

  117. Caroline M.

    I hate to post twice, but I just got an email from my husband about my sister-in-law. She has been having bad headaches and there is potentially something very wrong. She’s due for an MRI within the hour, so prayers needed please!

    • Lynne

      prayers for her now

  118. Grainne

    1. Evangelical Presbyterian

    2. Grew up Baptist, attended Brethern/Gospel Hall at university and would still be at one of those denominations if I hadn’t married my husband who was already an elder in our Presbyterian church.

    3. The best parts about our services are hearing the Gospel preached and the Bible elucidated and that we are very much encouraged in our personal walk with God and to get into His Word and learn more and question and decide for ourselves (though obviously the church dogma is based on the Westminster Statement of Faith). I love our very friendly (especially family-friendly) church and enjoy socialising before and after services, at our mums and tots group as well as outside of the building.

    I most powerfully encounter God though in parenting my two year old son; as we seek to raise him to the glory of God and lead him through his days with a biblical worldview, hoping and praying that he will one day also choose a path of personal faith in Christ. The challenges of parenting bring me to my knees often and watching my son grow in his knowledge and understanding of God and His love for us and sacrifice (Jesus) for us is just an amazing journey to be on. Listening to him pray is just a delight.

    4. Please pray that the father of lies might loose his grip on my in-laws, it is so sad to see unbelief in and imagine eternal damnation for such lovely people.

    5. My poorly neglected blog is: though I am joining in with 7 posts in 7 days – thank you for the motivation Jen and the wonderful writings I’ve enjoyed for several years (though I think this is my first comment).

  119. Jamie

    1. Lutheran- Missouri Synod- (which is the more traditional branch of Lutheran) I have Catholic leanings- my husband refuses to go to the Catholic church due to the priest scandal. We made a Lutheran compromise. Everytime I’m irritated at the way the Lutheran church ignores Mary, I remember to be grateful I have a husband who happily attends church. Priorities.
    2. I was not baptized or raised in the church. Neither was my husband. Many of my friends were Christian and I say that I was culturally Christian. After the birth of my first child I understood the concept of the unconditional love of Christ- that is being willing to die so that others may live. I understood why God sent a son and not a daughter- his daughters are already the vessel to get life here- the son of God is the vessel to return home. All of this made sense because of my experience in childbirth. I didn’t accept the gospel until then. I always knew I wanted my children to be raised going to church and have some foundation of faith.
    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? I like that it is traditional. We sing all the hymns. I like that we take communion more than most protestant churches. Every other week. I feel profound gratitude when I’m in church. I also like the people. I like that it is small and everyone knows everyone. Also somehow everyone has gotten the “how to dress in church” memo. Even the high school students. And I’m in Southern California!

  120. Jessica

    1. What is your denomination? Or, if you’re not Christian, what is your belief system?

    At this point in my life I simply consider myself a Christian. I don’t subscribe to any specific denomination.

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? If so, why did they change?

    I was born to parents who were raised Catholic, I was baptized in the Catholic church as an infant, and went to Catholic school through 4th grade. My parents were “born again” when I was about 5 or 6, and so despite my early Catholic background I mostly grew up in a Protestant church (Assemblies of God). I carried on my Protestant faith to college, where I was very involved in a campus ministry group (also Assemblies of God). At the very end of my college experience I went through a really painful experience with the ministry group that left me feeling really bitter and jaded towards the church and organized religion in general. Since then, I have gone through periods of total neglect of my beliefs, to a gradual returning to the root of my faith. I’ve also been blessed with a husband who is a Christian and extremely understanding of where I’m at (and he has also gone through his own journey). My parents returned to the Catholic church when I was in college, and we attend mass with them on occasion. My husband and I have also recently started attending a Calvary Chapel near our house (sporadically… we aren’t regular attenders).

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? Or, if you don’t go to regular services, where do you most powerfully encounter the divine?

    When we attend services, I always appreciate the sermon/homily and the music. Music is one of the main ways I connect with God.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for?

    I’m due with my first baby in April. We would greatly appreciate prayers that God would continue to provide for us financially, and mostly that we would learn to trust Him more through this season of change.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? Feel free to indulge in a little shameless self promotion.

    I have a blog, but haven’t written on it in ages! Hoping to return to regular blogging soon – I think it will be fun to use as an outlet for documenting life as a new mom, and our daughter’s milestones as she grows!

  121. Jill

    I love reading all these comments, great idea!

    1. Our family is Episcopalian.

    2. I wasn’t raised in church, but in adulthood sought a deeper relationship with God. As often happens, age, marriage, and children has served to deepen my faith

    3. I adore the book of common prayer. I’m moved by the concept of the Anglican communion moving through prayer, worship, and sacraments in a shared way.

    4. My youngest son is developmentally delayed. He is making great progress with therapies, but prayers for communication gains especially are appreciated.

    5 I ‘m mom to 4 kids, ages 5 & 2 (yep, two sets of twins) and blog about our chaos at

  122. Jenny

    I’m Mormon (Christian religion but neither Protestant nor Catholic.) I love my faith but have a soft spot for Catholicism so I really enjoy your blog. You talk so eloquently about the same family values that I have.

    I grew up Lutheran, but grew less religious and as a teenager I wasn’t really interested in belonging to any religion. When a Mormon friend invited me to a youth event at his church, I went and after listening I knew it was a truth I had to pursue. Baptized LDS in 2000 and never regretted it.

    My favorite thing about my faith in general is how it empowers me as a mother and a woman. To know how important I am to Jesus Christ, and how he wants me to be happy and help me through life despite all my imperfections, is somehow both empowering and humbling at the same time.

    My 5th baby, born February 9th, was born with some breathing and eating difficulties. He’s still in the hospital struggling to gain weight. We can always use more prayers for him!

    No blog to promote – just love to read yours.

  123. Camilla

    I was wondering what I was going to do tonight… Now I think I’ll sit with a cup of tea and make a list of all these prayer requests–going to take a while. Loved reading through these–what a sense of community you have here, Jen. I can’t chime in as a Protestant anymore, because I know my home is now the Catholic church. But my prayer request is that I will be able to join it formally soon–with my whole family (I want my children all Baptized, and really want to be able to participate in Communion). I’m not comfortable making the weekly commitment to Mass if my husband is not on board. But… in all the conversion testimonies I have read so far… God takes the whole family. So I am waiting to see what He will do.

  124. Heather

    Hi Jen,

    I have been reading your blog for a while and thought I would answer some of the questions!

    Denomination: We are American Baptist although not really tied down to any one denomination.

    Spiritual Beliefs: My husband and I were both raised in Christian homes (he as a Catholic, I was Methodist). We both found our way to an adult walk with God in college, which was a big transition. The other big transition in our faith came when we had kids.

    Favorites: Right now, I would say it is the people who are there. The service itself is great, but the people are really what gives hands and feet to the message.

    Prayers: For my oldest son, who has a disability, and is having a hard time finding friends at school (because of it). Also, for my business, which I launched this year to provide income for the immediate and extended family (my parents). I need to bring in more sales to keep things moving.

    Plug Away: Sure, I will plug my company Cover Crop Marketing. We provide digital marketing services (website, social media, email marketing) to small to mid sized businesses.

    All the best, Heather

  125. Kirsten

    Jennifer, I SO enjoy your blog! As a mama of four little children close in age, I laugh, cry, and am massively encouraged by your words on a regular basis.

    1. I am a Spirit-filled, charismatic Christian. We go to a non-denominational church.
    2. My beliefs haven’t really changed since I was a child, though they have grown, and my understanding of what I believe and why has matured.
    3. My favorite thing about our service is the worship! Yes, I’m one of those “crying about Jesus” people you wrote of recently. My heart seems to explode when I feel God’s presence in worship, and my hands wave, my feet leap and dance, my mouth shouts and sings, my eyes cry in response. I just love Jesus so much!
    4. I would love prayer as I am feeling the need for more like-minded friends and community.
    5. I have a blog!

  126. Lawana Gray

    Hi, I’m Lawana. 35 years old with two daughters, ages 8 and 4

    1. I am a Pentecostal. Specifically, I attend an Assembly of God church, but I try not to let that specifically define me.
    2. My dad is an Assembly of God pastor, so I grew up in this environment. At the core, I believe the same, however a lot of the extraneous stuff has changed for me. I also love the liturgical side of the church and love having those blended together.
    3. I do love the music. I’m a musician and have been a worship leader for many years, though I am not currently leading regularly at our church. I just find a special place in that environment where my sould can connect with the Creator. Words are not even necessary.
    4. If I could ask prayer for anything it would be this: my husband and I are campus missionaries to the university and we rely on financial gifts from churches and individuals to make that happen. We are very low on our budget right now and would like to make it to a full budget so we can pioneer an interdenominational ministry at our local university. We believe that the universities are such a strategic mission field and want to see those students come out of college closer to The Lord, rather than farther away.
    5. I do have a blog that I am still in the process of building and posting regularly on: And I also have an etsy shop- crafterglow. I’ll be honest, not much is on there, I kind of just make stuff on a whim and throw it up there.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your posts. This is only the second time I’ve ever commented. I rarely comment on blogs…not sure why. 🙂

  127. Martha Joy

    Hi! I’m Martha Joy a sixty something widow.

    1. I’m an Anglo Catholic and am part of a wonderful “low to slightly high church” near where I live in the greater Chicago area.
    2. I grew up in the strange world of Christian Science and was converted to Christian faith at age 17. A Baptist minister told my parents and I about Jesus our Savior. I was baptized and went off to a Baptist college. I got interested in the Episcopal church and worked as secretary to the father superior of an Episcopal monastery. My favorite service at church is the Wednesday morning Eucharist with healing prayers.
    3. The book I love the most — Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean Pierre de Caussade, S.J. I was introduced to this book by my late husband David, a Catholic convert.
    4. My prayer request is for strength and healing as I am a three year survivor of pancreatic cancer. I’m on a tough chemo regime now and so far the results are encouraging. There are few pancreatic cancer survivors — and I pray that there will be more of us as doctors figure out how to combat this disease.
    5. No blog as yet. I do have a non fiction book — it’s a history of our local fire department — that will be published this spring. YIPEE!!

    Jen, your blog is terrific and an encouragement. I’m really looking forward to reading your book.

  128. Hevel

    Late for the party, as always…

    1. I’m Jewish, and within Judaism I’m part of an Independent (formerly renewalist), egalitarian, post-hassidic (that makes me giggle), Torah, Talmud, Kabbalah and personal spirituality embracing minyan. I said it nicely, right?
    2. Born to Jewish parents as a micropreemie in Catholic Ireland, I was emergency baptized, against my parents’ specific wishes by a nurse (Baruch Hashem, she was fired after the incident), later adopted by my Catholic convert aunt and raised in Roman Catholicism. The family converted to Mormonism, but were inactive for a while. This way it happened that I held the position of deacon in the LDS Church while being confirmed in the Catholic Church, all the while not believing in G-d and being pretty vocal about it… but being one of the 29 nieces and nephews of the priest in one of Cork’s parishes, I was forgiven for being an atheist… anyway, nowadays I would say that I don’t believe any part of the Bible to be inspired by G-d, but I don’t rule out his existence. I am enjoying the blessings of the tradition and wisdom of Judaism, and life in gay friendly Metro Tel Aviv.
    3. The best part about worship service? Hm, my favourite service is the Kabbalat Shabbat Friday evenings, when we welcome in the Shabbat by singing Lecha Dodi. Of course I also love the lighting of the Shabbat candles in my own home (now done by my four wonderful daughters), and praying at the Kotel (West Wall), the holiest site in Judaism.
    4. My friend Nellie (not her real name), a Catholic mother of many and blogger could use some prayers.
    5. I currently blog at and try to start up a blog on crocheting and other crafts at, where I’d love to be able to sell a few items I made. I am actually paying taxes after what I sell. 🙂

  129. Gina

    1. Evangelical. I attend a non-denominational church.

    2. No, they haven’t fundamentally changed, although I think (I hope!) they’ve deepened and strengthened over time.

    3. I love our music and I love being part of the choir.

    4. In some ways, my church is heading in a direction that disturbs me. I shouldn’t go into detail here, but I would be most grateful for prayer. Please just pray that truth and fairness would prevail and that eyes would be opened where they need to be opened.

    5. My work site is And my fun site is 🙂

    Thanks, Jen

    • Gina

      Sorry, the above should say “Thanks, Jen!” not “Thanks, Jen,” without punctuation. I didn’t mean to sign myself with your name. 🙂

  130. kharking

    1. I attend a Presbyterian Church of America (PCA) church although we are not members. I just passed ten years there and would like to become official but my husband is uncomfortable with the concept of membership and I am uncomfortable with becoming one without him. So there we are.

    2. I grew up in a PCUSA church that was on the conservative end of that denomination. I attended a bunch of different types of churches in college to explore some more of the greater body of Christ and various worship styles and then ended up in the PCA as an adult. Like many here, I didn’t undergo a significant shift in core beliefs although I can point to a handful of times when faith and God became more personal and real to me in a deeper way.
    I encountered Catholicism when looking into NFP a number of years ago and have really appreciated the coherent writing about family life and teaching children through the year. I grew up with and now use for my own family the ideas in Celebrating the Christian Year and there are a lot of similarities and great tools available from moms who are using the liturgical calendar in the same way. It is also great to know that I am not alone in having children so close together! I also appreciate your particular willingness to not see other denominations as the enemy. Reformed calvinism doesn’t equal devil-worshiping heretic, unlike what I have sadly heard on quite a number of Catholic blogs.

    3. I’ve grown up with the same type of liturgical style that our current services use now so my favorite thing changes from time to time depending on the season that I am in. I used to love sermons but I seldom hear a complete one these days. I love to worship God through singing but I do it all day, every day so the unique thing about the service itself is taking communion every week.

    4. This year has been a hard one for our marriage and my husband particularly has been struggling with depression. Please pray that he will seek God and any other help that he needs during this time and that I will know how to be available for him as well as caring for our children. Please pray for peacefulness in my heart and a willingness to let go of fear and anger and trust God for his care of all of us.

    5. I do have a blog, sort of, and the shameless part is that most of the writing I have done over the last couple of years has been to share the kids’ birth stories for friends. I didn’t write one myself but your birth story haikus were hilarious!

  131. Michele

    1. Lutheran (ELCA)
    2. I was raised going to various VBS programs, but not really going to church. So, I guess my beliefs are different now.
    3. Hmmm. This is tough. I think Communion is my favorite part.
    4. I’ve been struggling recently because I think I’m being called to do something…but I can’t figure out what it is! I would appreciate any prayers in that regard 🙂

  132. Emily

    1. I am an Orthodox Christian… My husband is a priest in the Orthodox Church in America.

    2. My parents got married in the Methodist church, attended an Episcopalian church for several years and decided that it was time to take the plunge into Orthodoxy when I was three. My dad went to seminary pretty soon after and became a priest when I was seven or eight.

    3. I love that all of my senses are involved in worship: beeswax candles, incense, Holy Communion, beautiful hymns, gorgeous icons, etc.

    4. Please pray for the soul of the servant of God Gregory. He is a parishioner who passed away yesterday.

    5. I blog at I blog about homeschooling, knitting, reading, and Orthodoxy, and homemaking.

    Thanks for your blog, Jen! I really enjoy it!

    • jen

      Yay… a matushka!

  133. Cynthia

    1. What is your denomination? Episcopalian

    2. Are your current spiritual beliefs different from when you were younger? My beliefs have not changed but have grown in my walk the the Lord so much.

    3. What is your favorite thing about your worship service? I love the liturgy. I was raised Southern Baptist and always felt like something was missing. When I married my divorced Catholic husband, we settled on the Episcopal Church as a compromise. I loved it from the minute I walked in the door and realized that the liturgy was what I had always been missing. Communion is my favorite time in our service. I love the symbolism and the closeness that I feel to our Savior afterward.

    4. My Catholic readers and I would love to say a prayer for anything that’s on your heart. Do you have any intentions we can pray for? I have been running from the Lord’s call to write and edit for way too many years please pray that I will yield to His calling and be able to fulfill His will for me.

    5. Do you have a blog, book, or Etsy shop you’d like to plug? I’ve not written in a while but I have two blogs:

  134. Anne @ Modern Mrs Darcy

    I am so late to the party but wanted to record my response in the 200+ comments here! Not Catholic, but Episcopal, after having grown up Presbyterian and served a decade in non-denom no-man’s land. My beliefs are both similar and quite different from when I was younger, depending on the subject … and I love the liturgy at my church.

  135. Tee

    I’ve answered a few of these already but I’ll do it again!

    I am an old order Mennonite. For those of you not familiar with the plain Mennonites, think Amish. The main spiritual difference between the Amish and Mennonites is that Mennonites believe in salvation through God’s grace. The Amish believe it’s prideful to claim salvation and that the Lord God will decide if you’re to enter Heaven once you die. The lifestyles are very similar. While Mennonites have very strict rules about certain things, we are not quite as rigid as Amish.

    Yes, my beliefs are different than when I was younger. I was raised in the Southern Baptist church. I left that faith and became Mennonite in October of 2006. My basic spiritual beliefs have not really changed but certain details/beliefs have been altered and my lifestyle has changed significantly. For example, my style of dress is now different. I used to be a jeans-t shirt-ponytail type of girl. Now I only wear dresses/jumpers/skirts. No make up. Jewelry is allowed (no diamonds or gold) as long as it’s toned down but I typically don’t wear any. My hair is pulled up and hidden under my prayer kapp. The purpose beyond our dress code is to be uniformed and not draw attention to ourselves, to not be prideful in the way we dress. That’s just one of many examples.

    My favorite thing about worship services is the music! Love, love, love the old hymns!

    As of now, the only specific prayer request I have is that my kidneys straighten out a bit. They hate me but that’s okay because the feeling is mutual! I look forward to reading through these comments and praying over everyone!

  136. Michelle

    I’ve not been to a Catholic church one. The first time I attended an Anglican church, I could not find myself welcomes in the service so its just like something else to me.

    I love to visit countries and try new culture though and that I will start doing with churches now.

    I love it as long as we all are serving the living God.


  137. Sheila @ The Deliberate Reader

    1. I’m kind of figuring out where I fit denomination-wise, so I’m not sure how to answer this.

    2. My beliefs are quite different than when I was younger – and it would take a multi-post series to get into them all. I grew up in a church that was a very weird mix of beliefs cobbled together from Jehovah’s Witness/7th Day Adventist/LDS. It’s taken a long time to get past a lot of that, which is a big part of why I’m still not sure where I belong as far as denomination.

    3. My favorite thing about worship service is when the whole greet-your-neighbor part is over. I dread it so much. Yes, I realize that is completely shallow and ridiculous, but there you go. After that, I like the music and worship parts.

    4. I’m pregnant with baby #3, and I am feeling old and tired and do not know how I will cope when I have to start running errands with all three of them. Also, I’m dreading the postpartum period a bit – I’ve had rough recoveries with both of my other children, and I’m trying not to panic at the thought of what the first 6 weeks will be like. And all the moms with more than 3 can laugh at me right now, it’s fine.

    5. I blog about books and reading mostly, but am starting to write more about homeschooling and other general life topics at The Deliberate Reader.

  138. Grete

    1. I am a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, one of the more conservative contemporary Lutheran churches.

    2. My current spiritual beliefs are different than when I was younger. My parents were of the “she’ll figure it out on her own” world of parenting, and so I was left to find a church (or no church) on my own. My beliefs started to take shape when I met my husband (in highschool!) and I started going to church with him. We’ve since changed denominations, and have been happy to find a denomination where folks actually seem to believe what they say they believe, even when it’s not convenient.

    3. My favorite part of the worship service is the Eucharist. I have two under two right now, and I don’t always manage to hear much of the rest of it, and I can’t manage to hold a hymnal right now, so walking up to take communion is often the life raft of the service for me, in more ways than one.

  139. Deborah

    1. Raised Methodist, was an Evangelical Free Church member before we moved to TX. Now a member of a Southern Baptist Church.
    2. Good question! I’ll have to think about that one. I know more now what it means to be a disciple … was raised in Mississippi, which is culturally Christian, so I didn’t have to make a lot of choices/decisions about my personal faith. I grew up a lot when I went to college in Chicago and realized that not everyone I knew was a believer. I had to take responsibility for my own faith.
    3. I love a good sermon. Preferably exegetical instead of topical. Prayer makes me feel most connected to God.
    4. You could pray for my parenting. I have 3 children, and one has Down syndrome. I want to be a good mom to each of my kids, and lately, I feel like I’m missing time with my older two.
    5. It’s not my book, but I highly recommend Amy Julia Becker’s book “A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations and a Little Girl Named Penny.” Wonderful memoir of a mom’s first two years with her daughter with Down syndrome. Good for ANY parent, not just parents of kids with special needs. And … I have a blog, but I only blog once in a blue moon.

  140. Michelle

    love, love your blog so i guess i’ll throw in my two cents…

    1. not a member of any church. raised without religion except for a couple of years of sporadic Methodist church attendance with my reticent mom.
    2. i’ve always felt the presence of God in my life but haven’t ever known what to do with it. never been around people who were religious, so I’ve always been the oddball. Ever since I was a child I wanted to be Catholic but it seemed like too big of a hurdle given my family situation. Like so many, religion seemed unnecessary and arcane in college where I fell in love with an atheist anthropologist. We’ve since married and produced a whole team of little heathens.
    3. n/a?
    4. prayers please that my husband and children would feel God in their hearts, even just a tiny spark of interest that I could try to foster. anthropologists are notoriously athiestic – “religion as social control only” types. I love him dearly and completely, he’s a wonderful father and husband but I wish he could discover his spiritual side.
    5. no blog, no website, just loads and loads of laundry sprinkled with a big ol’ side of love.

  141. Angie

    1. Orthodox Christian. I grew up in the Church of God, Anderson IN, and became Orthodox in 2007, at age 30.

    2. Yes, things have changed. My home church was a dwindling church even when young. Most members were elderly so they weren’t invested in engaging young people in ministry. I went to church camp, VBS and Sunday School, but didn’t have friends my age there. My dad is not Christian, my mom’s faith was a very personal thing to her. I don’t remember ever having any serious faith-based discussions outside of Sunday School. By the time I got to college, I stopped going to church. I re-dedicated my life to the Lord in 2003 and started attending a Church of God, which closed several months later. I started attending another Church of God, where I was the only married person around whose spouse did not attend and who didn’t have children. That church started moving toward contemporary worship, which did not make me feel closer to God. I started attending an Antiochian Orthodox parish out of curiosity and stayed because God helped me find a family there. I am raising my two children here. Orthodoxy doesn’t change.

    3. I love the beauty of the Church for all the senses: the iconography, the incense, the singing, touching the icons and tasting Communion. I’m not an overly emotional spiritual person. I’m the kind of person who would love to see a miracle but am doubtful that I would be chosen to do so because I feel my faith is too small. But singing the Communion prayer surrounded by the diverse people of my parish hits me right in the feels.

    4. My spouse is not Christian; my mom wasn’t hands-on in teaching the tenets of the Christian faith, so I always feel lacking in teaching my children about God. Prayers for my husband and kids are always appreciated.

    5. I like to make things…I don’t have an Etsy shop, but I like to make rosaries and crochet/knit/bake and put pictures on my blog:

  142. Lisa

    We currently attend a Nazarene church, participate in a Catholic homeschool co-op, host a Hebraic Roots Bible study and celebrate the Biblical Feasts and Festivals. My father was an ordained minister who left the church and became a radical liberal. We were raised with a lot of “religion” but, bottom line, I was raised in a Pagan home. My beliefs changed when I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior as a “dare” to Him. He showed up. I believed. I love various forms of worship- the liturgy and sacramental power of the high church tradition as well as the accesiblity of the low church tradition. Music speaks to my heart- Latin worship, old hymns, some of the newer worship songs.
    I would ask that you would pray for the restoration of my family. Our older children have fallen under the heresy of antinomianism and live with little regard for how their actions hurt and dishonor others. They are still “in the church” but do not live as if God is anymore than a loving benevolant Santa Claus.
    I blog at about homeschooling, faith, family.

  143. Tinfoilhatcat

    Late on this, but I had to contribute:

    1. Protestant…I guess technically Grace Brethren, but my fiance and I have yet to find a church in our city that speaks to us.

    2. I was raised in a Christian home, and remember first really accepting Jesus in 7th grade. Started college and became really angry at God for whatever reasons I had…I remember driving home at night once screaming at Him asking why he’d give me so many challenges. Then, one night, I just happened to be listening to a late-night jazz station where the anchor would come on and say little quips now and then. This particular night, he said something along the lines of “send the praises up, and the blessings will fall right back down”. The way he said it just “clicked” something in my brain. I thought I’d give that mentality a shot for a while, and I couldn’t believe the immediate connection and closeness that I felt to God. I’ve been this way ever since 🙂

    3. I love the connection and peace that I feel with God during worship. My fiance and I attended a funeral for his devout Brethren grandmother a few years ago, and the service was so amazing that we spent the majority of the 4 hour car ride back home talking about how wonderful it was and how much of a peace that attending an amazing church can really bring.

    4. Pray for this world, which seems to be in so much conflict each and every day 🙁 I feel selfish, but please pray for me as well. I’ve been struggling with a bad and painful flare of IBS in the last few months, and it’s started wearing me down lately.

  144. Ronni

    Is it too late to post here? It looks like no one is commenting back on these comments anymore. Oh well – I JUST discovered this blog tonight and thought I’d post still. Is that ok?

    1. I’m currently not attending church, though my husband and I have been longing to find a place or religion to belong for many years now. The more I research, the more I’m leaning Catholic (and hence how I goggled my way onto your blog). We’ve attended some local masses a few times in the past several months, but not regularly. We have a 2 yr. old and it’s hard to sit through mass with her…let alone get to know other people and ask questions about the church.

    2. I grew up in a non-denominational church. My mom was Christian, my dad atheist/agnostic. I’ve never been sure what my dad believes, as he is respectfully quiet about his beliefs and allowed my mother to raise us in her religion. I went to a non-denominational Christian (not Catholic) school and a Church of Christ college. In college, I began seriously questioning my religious beliefs and stopped attending church. I never stopped believing in God, per se, I just found that I thought and questioned too much to really be able to commit to a particular religion or denomination.

    In recent years though, I think I’m realizing that a lot of my beliefs are in common with the Catholic church’s teachings, and that the Catholic church seems to be far more intellectual than I originally knew.

    But yeah, I still don’t know exactly where I belong. 🙂

    3. One of the things that draws me to the Catholic faith is the traditions and rituals. However, as another poster posted above, when I attended my Church of Christ college, I really grew to love the acapella singing.

    4. Oh wow, I haven’t asked anyone for a prayer request in years and years; let alone strangers! Um, maybe just guidance for my husband and I. Both that we figure out a spiritual/religious path and also that we are able to find out where we belong as far as his career and finances and family stability.

    5. I actually DID just very recently start a blog! I’m still building it up, but if you want the link, sure! 🙂 It’s

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