Jessica Bluemke grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and graduated from Ball State University in 2008 with a BA in Literature. She currently works as a writer and resides on the North side of Chicago.
Are you looking for some vague statements regarding your past, present and future? Then do I have the product for you! Making fun of Tarot cards feels a little like punching down. At best, I suppose it could be like a mini therapy session (albeit from an unlicensed and unqualified therapist): You kind of hear what you want to hear, and maybe a shift in perspective can help you make a decision you’ve been waffling on — more or less harmless when it comes down to it. At worst, though, it’s a huge scam that can trick unsuspecting customers out of their money. For the most part, we can easily chalk up the majority of what Tarot readers do to Barnum statements and a general willingness to believe what we want to believe (check out this episode of Oh No Ross and Carrie for a great first-hand look at all of that). In an effort to be helpful, fellow Patheos blogger Lilith Dorsey of Voodoo Universe gave her readers nine questions they should ask before a Tarot reading. Read more
The Mormon Church has been in the news a lot lately, due to a controversial new policy doubling down on homophobia: Those in same-sex relationships are now considered “apostates,” affecting not only them, but also their children, who will not be allowed to be baptized or confirmed unless they disavow their parents’ “sin.” They cannot perform missionary service (without super-special permission) and certainly cannot join the priesthood. While this is a drastic step, the LDS has a history of being fraught with homophobia (along with rampant racism and sexism). Those of us who are outside observers of religion have seen this time after time in church after church. Personally, I’ve always thought that the longer these institutions dig their heels into their outdated ways, the quicker people will see the light and leave. But it’s understandable for someone whose life is wrapped up in a church like the LDS — one that touches on just about every part of its parishioner’s lives — would want to make systemic changes from within. That’s what Chelsea Shields has been doing. In a recent TED Talk, she spoke of her life in the LDS Church where, as a young girl, she accepted that her role as a woman would be to not have sex outside marriage, follow the rules, and be good. Read more
If anyone asked me how to spot a fake psychic, I’d probably say “Go find me a psychic.” Easy enough, right? Well, Daily Mail Australia asked self-described psychic and real-name-user Sharina Star the same question… and she had a somewhat longer answer. She told the paper that she’s been “open to the spiritual world” since she survived a horrible abduction at the age of 10 that left her beaten and left to die. Sad stuff, and she has my deepest sympathy for what she went through… but it doesn’t mean we can’t criticize the fact that she’s chosen to manipulate and scam who-knows-how-many people. Read more
As someone who never attended church as a young person, I find that I get a little squirmy when I watch services in general. The more over-the-top they are, the less comfortable I feel. Needless to say, the following video had me cringing the whole time. It’s from the Church of God in Christ’s 107th Holy Convocation in Memphis and features a young man declaring himself free from homosexuality… Read more
Earlier this month, blogger and concerned mother Becky Blackburn published a post in the Deseret News (I was hoping it was the Dessert News, but we can’t always get what we want, can we?) called “Why aren’t our kids going to church dances?” Blackburn recounted a harrowing tale of the time she tried to strong-arm her 15-year-old son into having The Best Night Ever at his church dance. While that sounds like general “Parent of a teen” fodder, her article takes an odd turn right out of the gate: Read more