My debut on Huffington Post’s TED Weekends

I’ve been an avid reader of Huffington Post for years now. Last week I was emailed by an editor asking me to write for their TED Weekends. The topic was cults and they were featuring Diane Benscoter’s TED talk from 2009 about visual memetics and how cults rewire the brain. It was fascinating and of course I was honored. I said yes.

Fast forward to yesterday. The article was posted and it even appeared on HuffPo’s front page.

That's me, on the front page of Huffington Post!
That’s me, on the front page of Huffington Post!
(On the middle left where it says “TED Weekends”.)


It was quite a surreal moment. I was at work and I kept telling my favorite people at work, “It’s on the front page! OMG! Next to the President!”

I worked hard on the article, reading, researching and rewriting. My faithful friends did a lot of reading and rereading and editing over the entire week. I can’t thank them enough.

The beauty of all of this is I’ve also received my own HuffPo blog. This means a lot to me because I work with so many survivors (not to mention I write often about women’s issues and other topics) and I’ve been working hard to build my platform so I could help them tell their stories. It’s a great opportunity.

ted weekends post


The entire article can be read here. Please comment and share it with your friends! It would mean so much to me to get the word out about Master’s Commission and the dangers of Christian youth programs. The article will remain up until this Friday when a new TED Weekends subject is posted. (The article will remain on the site, just not on the front page, so it’s crucial to share it this week.)

What are the rules when it comes to dating single parents?


Image credit:
Image credit:

I recently found a blog named Geek in the Wilderness when I was searching for comparative reports about Squarespace versus WordPress. I use Squarespace for a portfolio but I’d wondered how good they were on SEO. WordPress typically ranks at the top and Squarespace has claims that it’s comparable to WordPress. It better be for the price tag but I wasn’t convinced based on my recent site transfer.

Geek in the Wilderness happens to be Frank Swift, a Christian, who also writes about dating and whatnot. Like me, only male…and Christian. I stumbled upon his post “Why I would never date single moms” and laughed. That sounded like something I’d said a year or two ago. Nothing against single dads, but that baby momma drama is out of control. I have no interest in dealing with a jealous woman who’s trying to make our lives difficult. The fact that someone had sex with someone else or had a kid with someone else really didn’t bother me. I like kids and I think I’d be a fine stepparent. I was raised with a stepparent and we turned out fine.

What was funny–from an observer’s point of view–was the amount of women who responded. Heyyy, Ladies. Frank got 123 responses and not all of those women were happy. To me, it seemed like some single moms were sorely disappointed in Frank for not widening his dating pool to include them. It’s not really their choice, is it. One woman was particularly upset. I felt like it was her way of pouting: Here I am, choosing the Holy Calling of wife and mother and some man has the NERVE to say no! How dare he. Or at least that’s my interpretation of this stranger:

…[Ju]st had to pitch in because Frank Swift eventually decided to claim that he is a Christian…shocker with the lack of Love and empathy for what a surge of negative emotions one may experience reading his insight into the dynamics and “frankly” slim chances he reckons they have on the market. I weep for you because after all you experienced as a child and even saw your mother experience, one would think your main prayer for all is that, no matter what occurs in their lives, they have a chance to lead joyous, tranquil and Love – filled lives, alone, in homogenous or blended families, for the glory of God…mm…It has been interesting to get a glimpse of society’s perspectives on a very concerning state of affairs. Im saddened for all who have to go it alone and inspired by their strength to bring up the “sprogs” single handendly while trying to stay sane against all odds….Hats off to those who can meet their life partners in this day and age and keep at it, that has always been something worth commending. As for the guy in the wilderness, God fill you with His love so that even when yiu are making the right points, you be much kinder. There are vulnerable people out there who could do with less self-esteem knocking +just as you wouldn’t have wanted your mummy to get back in the day). (Read more here…)

Jessica comments:

You have no intelligence and sound like a small minded little prick! Good luck finding any women that would touch YOU with a 12 foot will probably end up living with ur mum for the rest of your life….get a grip

Another comment:

You know guys? You’re so selfish! The little HOPE for (us) those who’s single moms you’ve taken!! After reading this and comments. I feel i should go back to my ex even theres a lot of tears than joy. it feels NO one would love me and my son like the love my EX does!!

I’m not saying I entirely agree with Frank, although I agree with more of his points than not. He’s a bit sexist and that probably comes from his faith. He also doesn’t take the “bull by the horns” so to speak. He just says “Well, I’m not opposed to what God might bring” instead of sticking to his guns. I also love kids and kids love me, so I have no doubt that if I met a single dad, his kids would love me. I also think it’s admirable for a man to take his kids. It goes against societal norms. I respect that.

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What I am saying is there was a point in my early twenties (and even until I was 29) where I swore off dating someone who had kids 0r was married before. Like Frank, I couldn’t see myself getting serious with someone who had “baggage” and the one time I dated someone who was previously married (and had a kid), he proved that I was right. He was a dick. I do think my Christian beliefs highlighted the issue even more than it should have been, though. Had I not been a Christian for most of my twenties, I probably wouldn’t have cared as much on the technicality of having been married before. In the Christian world being married is the ultimate goal, so is having kids. But if someone has kids or is divorced and wants to remarry, it’s a cardinal sin. No Christian wants to date you. It’s a whole big hypocritical mess.

I’ve met single dads that I really like since I’ve gotten older. I’ve also met single dads who were douchebags. I’ve met men were divorced and still in love with their ex-wives or at the very least talked about her every single goddamn day. No one wants to be with someone who can’t forget another woman. If someone can’t say goodbye to their ex’s then they aren’t ready to date someone new.

Some of the women on Frank’s blog did have good points, though: it’s hard to meet people who are healthy and stable and even harder to meet people who share the same standards as you do. But for what it’s worth, being alone because you’re choosy isn’t a bad thing. Settling for someone who will make you miserable is a bad thing.