Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why? Why? It's Pop Music's Nature!



R.I.P. Mike! In honor of his musical legacy, here's his classic song "Human Nature", SWV's "Right Here (Human Nature Mix)" and Chris Brown's "She Ain't You". Amazing how one track can keep being produced over and over again to make a number of songs.







Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My Hair Journey: In Words & Pictures

It took over a year, but I'm completely relaxer free! I didn't do one grand "big chop", instead I chose to transition. So now, a look back:




April 2010- This picture was taken on Easter, the day after my last relaxer touch up. I spent a good eight (!) hours in the salon that day, and I remember feeling like I could not do that anymore.I was spending a good amount of money and way too much time to have my scalp burned and to get itchy on a regular basis! I want to point out though, that my hair was very healthy, despite the relaxer and the honey blond highlights. This was my usual "style"- not a style at all but a roller set. I usually just sat for an hour under the dryer after getting a deep conditioner and walked out without even getting my hair wrapped. Why? Because I found that due to the repeat relaxing, my hair was losing body to the point I had to use some effort to actually keep it from hanging limp. Thankfully, my hair is very thick, so it didn't look bad. But I definitely could tell my hair wasn't the same as when I first started relaxing 9 years before.

May/June 2010- I decided to experiment with not relaxing my hair but just washing and styling it myself. I was toying with the idea of going natural, but didn't think I could do it. So I started by trying differently curly creams and gels. Some would weigh my hair down, others didn't give enough hold and I wound up with poofy waves. I thought it was funny that I actually had to scrunch waves into some sections that were over-processed. When I wore my hair like this to work, I immediately got some negative comments. Everything from "Is that a weave?" to "What happened?". This was actually good preparation for the onslaught of negativity I was about to receive in the coming months.





July 2010
: Frustrated by dealing with two textures, I went to the salon and got a good 6+ inches cut off.. It was either do this or I would've just grabbed the scissors and cut all of it off, lol! The criticism abated for the few weeks I wore it straight (this was the result of a flat iron, btw). Some of my family members weren't crazy that I cut my hair, but came around once I explained I was growing the perm out (they never liked my getting relaxers to begin with).



August 2010: I made the choice to keep the heat out of my hair and try to work with the two textures. The insults started back, and my confidence (despite the bright smile) plummeted. I used Miss Jessie's Curly Meringue and Buttercreme to manage the kinks/waves combo. Although I tried to be confident, I wound up in tears more than once as people not only mocked the texture but also the now much shorter length. As much as I was tempted to go back to relaxing something about the barrage of insults made me dig in my heels.
September 2010: With more and more of my true texture growing in, I knew I would have to figure out a way to do my hair sans gel as the weather grew colder. I began experimenting with bantu knots (wound up a fail), braids (so-so) and finally found success with twists to set my hair. Since so much of my hair was still chemically straightened, I would wrap my ends with rollers made from brown paper bags to give them some curl and blend better with the new growth.


October 2010: I got into a pretty good routine of doing twist outs and using rollers to make a curly fro. I used coconut oil or olive oil to moisturize daily, washed with a few different products I saw recommended on hair blogs and set my curls with either Bee Mine curly butter or the Ms. Jessie's. I began to receive a few compliments on my new "funky" look, but very few from other Black people. I was stunned by that, and still am to be honest.


November 2010: I start using hair accessories to add a little dazzle to my twist outs. My hair had grown a lot (even though it looks shorter) with all the new growth, and I still had to wrestle to put life into the straight half of my hair.


December 2010: After a rough few weeks of first trimester pregnancy, I knew I needed a break from doing my hair! I went back to the salon and had a few inches cut off and had a dark rinse put in to even out the color. My stylist made a few comments like, "So, are you FINALLY going to get a relaxer?" and "Your hair is too thick now!". I felt a little uncomfortable but must say, she did a great job. My hair was nicely conditioned and stayed straight through the holidays. When I headed back to work a few days after New Year's, I received a few, "Oh, good, you gave up that afro-thing and got a perm." I let them know they were dead wrong. It was the flat iron. Sheesh! Why do people forget that the relaxer is NOT the only way to achieve straight hair?


January 2011: I found my hair routine much easier after the hair cut. My hair was easier to style and softer. I continued doing twist outs and purchased soft, cotton-filled cloth rollers to enhance the curl.


February 2011: Oh, the joy of pregnancy... I wound up sick a few days and realized after not doing my hair that... I don't really *need* to do it so much. Let me explain. I had been pretty vigilant about applying leave-ins and re-twisting often. At this point, though, I realized as long as my hair was moisturized (a few spritzes of water and some coconut oil before bed), I could honestly do without all the heavy creams. It was a relief! Plus I started getting more positive feedback which I think might be tied to Esperanza Spalding's surprise win at the Grammy's. Suddenly, afros weren't all that strange.

May 2011: Oh the joy of pregnancy... and I'm being non-sarcastic this time. Besides my nails growing super fast and strong, another benefit to being preggo and popping prenatals is my hair has grown very thick. At this point, I still kept up the twist outs for their relative ease and used almost only water and coconut, olive or sunflower seed oil. I mainly do co-washes and have found using plain old Fruitopia conditioner for curls or Organix coconut conditioner leave my hair as soft and easy to detangle as some of the pricey specialty stuff.




June 2011: I'm not sure why, but for some reason, last Friday, I just became so fed up with the straggly, relaxed ends I began to go through my hair and cut them all off. In some areas, that was 1/8 of an inch. In others, it was 3. But I just kept on, slowly snipping away so that by Sunday...

I was left with just coils! To keep the spring in my locks, I used the clear EcoStyler gel after wetting and applying coconut oil.

The next day, I didn't have to even re-wet it or add more products. I realize 1.) that my natural texture is kind of Sideshow Bob, kind of Whitney Houston in "My Love is Your Love"and 2.) definitely 4a in the hair typing scale (except for some random "baby hair" around the edges, lol).

So now, 14 months later, I'm pretty much on the opposite side of where I started. Dark where I had been light, coily where I had been straight. I wish I could say I wake up everyday loving my hair, but I don't. In fact, I still look at pictures of myself from years past and feel I really looked better with straight hair. It also bothers me that people rarely compliment my hair, no matter what hair band I wear (they'll carefully comment on the accessory without mentioning my hair), or style I try. From the day I stopped using heat, I've received a barrage of criticism, even when my hair texture was still pretty "loose" thanks to the relaxer last May and June.

I wish I could tell the girls considering going natural that it was a breeze, but that would be a lie. Not so much because of the work of doing my hair (although I did have some missteps!), but because straight hair really is more favored in the minds of many people, and a deviation from it raises eyebrows (or for some, ire). I'd tell anyone considering it to be prepared for the naysayers, even some of your closest family and friends.

But on the positive, let me add I've saved well over a $1,000 (maybe even closer to two). My Saturdays are mine again. I no longer fear having a daughter with a lot of hair because I actually know how to manage my own without running to someone else. My parents are happy that I'm finally off the creamy crack (who knew they kind of had a point about the trap of relaxers? HA!). My husband is no longer afraid to touch my hair. My scalp is not flaky and bumpy anymore. My hair smells nice without that chemical burn I use to try and mask.

It's been quite the journey and I'm proud of myself for taking it... and for far longer than a couple of weeks. :-)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Baby-kinis???

Why is this baby's bikini more revealing than mine? Wth???







H/T: And Sometimes Tea/ Creative Minority Report

Weird Al Spoofs Lady Gaga

Weird Al as Lady Gaga in "Perform This Way". (NBC Philadelphia)





So "monsters", what do you think?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog Repost: Some Latent Thoughts on Father's Day


My brother Joe and his 9 year old son, Nate. Single dad and his main man. They both make me proud.



____________________________________________________________



"The Sun don't come out for many, like Annie/
half orphan, mama never had an abortion/
papa sorta did, still I managed to live..."
~Jay-Z, "Brooklyn We Go Hard"




Father's Day, that holiday always in the shadows of the sugary sweet hoopla of Mother's Day, was on Sunday, yet I've spent the week still contemplating fatherhood. I thought of my friend Isis*, who is now facing trips to family court because of her decision to finally file for custody- and child support. While she told me about her son's father's ugly (but expected) reaction, her preschooler laughingly made a not-so-super Mario spin to his repeated death on my Wii. Isis' decision was far from rash. Her son has lived with her his whole life, even when Dad checked out. She paid for the majority of his expenses, including food, the doctor and medicine. His father was more apt to plunk down a hundred bucks on baby Jordans than diapers. He was constantly late in paying the day care bill, so she often had to take care of it. Enough was enough. So Isis went down to the courthouse and did what she felt was best. But she remained guilt-ridden.She wondered if she had just destined her son to the life of half-orphan that she had lived through as a girl.


____________________________________________________





My friend David and his son Beniah, husband and son of my best friend Giddel.



On Sunday, in my texting blitz to the fathers I know, I sent one to my best friend Giddel's mother, Veronica. Over the past thirteen years, I watched as she worked, scrimped, saved, paid and loved her way into raising three beautiful, responsible and hard working kids. She received plenty of help from her parents, but still the brunt of the responsibility rested on her shoulders, and so I didn't think twice sending her a message of happiness. She responded with a surpised "Thank you". But I still couldn't help think of all that her ex-husband had missed. He's since passed away, never having a chance to even meet the grandchildren he should be doting on.


____________________________________________________

In "A 'Vogue' Idea", Carrie wonders if her father's absence from her life has left a void she spent years trying to fill through relationships.


There's an episode of "Sex & The City" where Carrie actually ponders how her life might have been different if her absentee dad had stuck around. She types away at her laptop for her column, asking "How much does a father-figure figure?" Her haunting hypothetical question always lingered in my head. And although never fully played out, I wondered if Ms. Bradshaw's final season decision of who to be with- the older, wiser, worldly Russian or the older, elusive worldly Mr. Big- revealed just how much a father, even absently, figures into some of the most important life decisions a woman can make. Even fictional ones.


________________________________________________________




Jay-Z has money, power and respect, what The Lox swore you need in life (hmm... where are The Lox anyway?). Yet mixed in with all he has, he still bemoans what he never had. Or rather, who he didn't have.



Back in the day, when I was saying "adios" to high school and a timid "hello" to college, Jay-Z had a huge hit with "Hard Knock Life". Sampling little Orphan Annie, Jigga compared his often chaotic youth in Brooklyn to that famous little parentless red-head who was confined to an orphanage. Life was hard. Life is hard. But you live and learn. Yet, despite the "kicks" and "tricks", the sun would come out. At least it did for Annie. She was adopted by the kind-hearted and rich Daddy Warbucks. Her "tomorrow" came.

It's been over a decade since "Hard Knock Life" was  released. Jay-Z is married to one of the most famous woman in the world. He's a platinum artist, part owner of the Nets. He's helped launch the careers of Kanye, John Legend and Rihanna. He's Mr. Morebucks. But his references to the father who wasn't there, to being partially aborted reveal a dark cloud that still seems to shade his sunshine. On "So Ambitious", he talks about the male authority figures who were in his life:

"I felt so inspired by what my teacher said,
Said I'd either be dead or be a reefer head,
Not sure if thats how adults should speak to kids,
Especially when the only thing I did was speak in class,
I'll teach his a--,
Even betters what my uncle did,
I pop my demo tape in start to beat my head,
Peaked out my eye, see if he was beating his,
He might as well say beat it kid, he’s on the list...
I had to lace up my boots even harder,
Father is too far away to father..."


______________________________________________________


My stepmom Kathy emailed me from the hotel she was at a couple of days ago with my dad in North Carolina. They had attended my great-uncle's 85th birthday party, an event that attracted family from all around the country. She had enjoyed herself, but her heart and mind was in Wisconsin, with her daddy, who's been sick.  She's gone through car accidents, heart breaks, sicknesses and a host of other trials, but- her daddy, who she is a female dead ringer for, being sick... is crushing. Maybe she doesn't know that her words drip of despair, that somehow the keystrokes reveal fear. But her email was jolting. She is a grandmother, her parents in their eighties- and still the thought of losing the first man she ever loved is reverting her to a girl.


__________________________________________________________




My brother-in-law Manny, with his kids Justin and Sophia.



_________________________________________________________________



Eventually Isis pulled her son away from the powerful clutches of the Wii, aided by my husband. It was late, he had school the next day. She placed a little red retro Nike cap on his head, similar to one Will Smith wore back when he was still The Fresh Prince. "It's cute," I said. "Yeah, it's a gift from his father."

The two walked out, hand in hand, home.



*Isis is a pseudonym. Like "Dragnet" names have been changed to protect the identities of the innocent.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Black & White & Turning Red

Jada Pinkett Smith & Marc Anthony in a scene from "Hawthorne" (Photo Source)


I finished an article on The Root about Jada Pinkett Smith's "Hawthorne" character feeling irritated. The writer questioned when Christina Hawthorne would finally date a Black man:

"Let's retrace the relationship arc of Hawthorne: Her ex-husband and the father of her daughter is white. Cool. Her own on-again, off-again Dr. McDreamy is white. Pattern established -- but what the hell, it's 2011. Then, late last season, a new love interest emerged. His name (in real life) is Marc Anthony. Yep, that one. Granted, he's Puerto Rican, and that does swing the racial pendulum a bit, but we're not quite there yet.

As the show enters its third season, still missing in action is a black man to play Hawthorne's romantic opposite. Where is he? The only black man harder to find, as of late, is LeBron James in the fourth quarter. Then again, if Hawthorne were to fancy a player from the 2011 NBA Finals, she would be more likely to catch German fever and go for Dallas Mavericks' star Dirk Nowitzki than James. As NBA analyst Mark Jackson might say, "Mama, there goes that white man!" So, what gives? Or, in the parlance of Hollywood, what's her motivation?

Allow me to invoke James yet again, at his expense. Maybe she set a personal goal to date "not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven," but as many nonblack men as possible in her quest to become champion of black women disgruntled with black men."

Beep, beep, beep... wait, hold up, back up, reverse. So Hawthorne is on a "quest to become champion of black women disgruntled with black men" because she has a couple of white ex's and is now interested in a Puerto Rican man? Huh?

Although the writer points out that there have been a number of Black male characters who have dated outside their race on the big and small screen- Will Smith, Isaiah Washington and Taye Diggs to name a few- Hawthorne seems to be catching a whole lot of scrutiny for doing the same thing.

In all honesty, I have only seen a few episodes of the show. Personally, I'm all hospital show'ed- out. I once watched "ER", "Grey's Anatomy", "House" and even "Scrubs" for a laugh. What caught my attention about the story was not the show but the subtle distaste for Black women being in relationships with men of other races.

 The Lovings (Photo Source)

Especially since this week is the anniversary of the landmark "Loving" case ruling which broke down ridiculous and discriminatory laws against interracial marriages. And for those of you unfamiliar with their story, Mrs. Loving was Black, while her hubby was White.

While movies like "Something New" proclaim this type of coupling as something, well, new, it obviously isn't. The Lovings married back in the 1950's. My mother, born a few years before their wedding, is the product of a Latin father and a Black/White mother.

And today, a great deal of my friends are either of mixed race ancestry or are themselves in relationships with men of other races. One friend has a Black mother and a Puerto Rican father, while another is Black and married to a Puerto Rican man. My sister's husband is Portuguese.


My sister, her husband and their kids Sophia and Justin on Easter 2010.


Before meeting K, I went out with Black guys... and Latinos and White guys and an Asian guy. Most of the guys who approached me weren't African American (on a side note, while K is Black, he isn't African American, but a native of Trinidad & Tobago). I didn't date those guys because I was disgruntled with Black men. Instead, they happened to be the guys I would meet up with most at work, school, church and cafes and bookstores. They also happened to have many of the things I was looking for- a relationship with God, a great work ethic and a respectful and caring attitude. That's not to say Black guys don't, just that there are plenty of men of other races who do, too.


Maybe that's what the fictional Christina has realized, too- that good (and bad) men come in every shade.

And I'm sure it doesn't hurt if a dude can sing like Marc Anthony, either.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Eddie's LONG, Dramatic Saga

 Bishop Eddie Long (photo source)


I'll skip rehashing the long history of Bishop Eddie Long's never ending fall from grace, but I thought the saga took an interesting turn when profit prophet Creflo Dollar chimed in to tell parishioners fleeing Long's church to turn right around and go back.



Well, not so fast New Life members. Maybe it is a good idea if you slip on your shouting shoes and slide on out. According to Elev8, "Pastor Donald Battle calls New Birth elders to task and tells Eddie Long “SIT DOWN!” in his sermon from yesterday. He wants elders who are leaving saying, “It was in the works.” to stop lying. He welcomed new members from New Birth searching for a spiritual home."



 Should they leave? Stay? What do you think? And do you feel Pastor Dollar and Pastor Battle should be speaking about the mess from their pulpits?

Monday, June 13, 2011

"I've Never Liked My Own Child"


Wow, this story hurts me so much to watch...

Harold Camping Suffers Stroke


From MSNBC:

"Harold Camping, the radio preacher who incorrectly predicted that the Rapture would happen last month, has reportedly been hospitalized after suffering a stroke. 

According to the Oakland Tribune, a neighbor said the 89-year-old president of the Oakland nonprofit Family Radio network was taken by ambulance from his home on Thursday night.

"He had a stroke, it was on his right side," said the neighbor, who declined to give her name.

Charles Menut, the regional manager for Family Stations Inc., Family Radio's parent company, alerted supporters via a message he posted to a Yahoo group, according to the Oakland Tribune."

Read the whole story here.

Yeesh, I have Hair PTSD!




Last Friday, K's friend Tariq told me he liked my hair. "I like the whole natural hair thing you got going on. It looks really good. I don't know why more girls don't wear their hair like that."

Very simple comment, and a nice complimentary one at that. Unfortunately, I quickly launched into a tirade: "WOW. Wow. You actually LIKE me hair? You're like one of five people. Everyone else HATES my hair. They thinks it's nappy, unsophisticated... you know, someone said I'm UGLY now. Because of my hair. That's it. I went from pretty to ugly, just like that. I've been called n***** naps, too. People say, "What happened to your hair?" like it's a dag gone tragedy!..."

Tariq sat quietly looking at me, shaking his head back and forth, like a nonverbal "Such a shame." In my crazed state, I looked over to K as if to gain emotional support for my harrowing tales of follicle woe. He also remained quiet, giving me the supportively sad head nod.

After the guys left, I realized I hadn't thanked Tariq for the compliment. I had managed to spout off a retelling of nearly every negative comment I've received in the past year, but didn't take the time to accept and show appreciation for one of the few positive comments given.


I'm battle weary, folks. As much I'd like to say it doesn't phase me when people insult my appearance, it does. Like the co-worker from another department who asked me "What happened..." who was so fixated on my hair, she didn't notice my protruding, six months along belly until another person (obviously uncomfortable that the woman was trashing me) changed the subject to my pregnancy... this grates at me. And all this grating has left me sore... and defensive.

On Sunday, I saw Tariq again and apologized, thanking him belatedly. Being the cool guy that he is, said no problem.

Do any of you have hair PTSD? Or maybe it's not hair, but it's about something else that complete strangers feel obligated to barrage you with verbal bullets about? How do you handle it?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Porn Problem


Writer Karen Spears Zacharias has a wonderful and timely piece on the problem of porn on her blog. Some excerpts:

"...The confession this week by New York’s Rep. Anthony Weiner that he has been involved in inappropriate online encounters highlights just how insidious a porn problem can be. Asked why he sent sexually explicit photos to women online, Rep. Weiner said he didn’t know why. It was dumb. Stupid, he said.

Anthony Weiner is married to a beautiful, smart, and engaging woman.

But she, apparently, wasn’t good enough. That’s the lure, and trouble with porn: you want what you don’t have and don’t want what you do have.

Naomi Wolff deftly explains the affect of porn on male-female relationships in The Porn Myth:  But does all this sexual imagery in the air mean that sex has been liberated—or is it the case that the relationship between the multi-billion-dollar porn industry, compulsiveness, and sexual appetite has become like the relationship between agribusiness, processed foods, supersize portions, and obesity? If your appetite is stimulated and fed by poor-quality material, it takes more junk to fill you up. People are not closer because of porn but further apart; people are not more turned on in their daily lives but less so.

Real women, no matter how beautiful or smart or engaging, cannot compete with a man’s online addiction.

Says Wolfe: For the first time in human history, the images’ power and allure have supplanted that of real naked women. Today, real naked women are just bad porn.”


To read the entire post, click here.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Music Malaise: It's Murder & Monsters from the Roc



Over on For Harriet,  they're asking the question if we are taking music videos too seriously. This is in response to the recent brouhaha over singer Rihanna's latest video, "Man Down", which depicts the singer enacting revenge on the man who raped her by shooting him dead.



The For Harriet story also mentions Kanye's final edition of "Monster" which was just released: 

A rough cut of the video leaked months ago and prompted widespread debate about the inherent misogyny of the male rappers cooly performing around hanging, lifeless female bodies while rapper Nicki Minaj crawls on the floor. Sexism is nothing new to hip hop audiences, but the unfamiliarity of seeing eager booty-shaking video models replaced with corpses felt particularly unnerving.

It's the sprawled out corpses that do it for me. With full warning, below is the video. It is full of cursing, violent themes, and the aforementioned corpses. *NOT WORK OR KID SAFE*

                                                     

Um... wow. Kind of like watching crime and medical exam scenes from "Law & Order" and "CSI" spliced together to rap music.

So are we taking videos too seriously? I don't know... maybe we should be asking why Roc artists are so fixated on depicting murder, violence and death in their videos...

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How About the Theme Song to Law & Order: SVU?




Why is "Rapist Songs" a Trending Topic on Twitter right now? #FAIL #shame

Friday, June 3, 2011

K, My Big Sunshine

 K and I in a 2nd anniversary photo last October.


"...he became the sun and I became the moon..." ~The Other Side of The Game by Erykah Badu

**************************************************************

It was late one night early in our relationship when me and K discovered we both loved Sunshine, a track off Lupe Fiasco's freshman album. The lyrics are sweetly innocent:

"You're my sunshine (you're my sunshine),
You're my moonlight (you're my moonlight),
You're the starry skies above me won't you please come down and hug me..."

I love the song's dreamy feel, how Lupe references the ordinary (his Jordan sneakers) and fairy tales (fire breathing dragons). In so many ways, I feel it represents my relationship with K. We met at the most ordinary, unromantic place a couple could- work. He came to fix my always-broken computer. And that meeting was so utterly ordinary, as were many of the subsequent ones. Even our first date was going to be plenty ordinary, at least for Jersey- a meal at a local diner. When we finally agreed to go out, being an administrative assistant, I scribbled the date and time down on the most typical of office supplies- a Post It note. I laugh at that now, how Post It notes were lambasted on "Sex & The City" because Carrie was dumped via one, meanwhile my relationship with my husband began on one.

When we met up, me in skinny jeans and platform sandals, fifteen minutes late, and he, wearing jeans and sneakers and carrying a bouquet of flowers... things immediately crossed from the everyday to the magical. Over the course of a few hours, I realized I was sitting across from my Knight, sans shiny armor, but with a shiny silver Civic. With an ethereal calmness, he lit up my dreary life. If there was an orchestra in my mind, although it had long since fell mute, it suddenly came to life from the "pit" of my heart. By the time we said good night- he picked me up and twirled me around... my feet floating in the air, my world an oddly stable blur- I could feel the dragons in my life receding, their flames no longer burning. I waved goodbye, smiling as my Sunshine drove off in the moonlight.


Amy Winehouse sings, in Tears Dry on Their Own, "He walks away, The sun goes down, He takes the day..." and that's how I felt as I walked in to my apartment alone that night. I felt so very dim and lonely. I hadn't realized how dark my world was until light had been shone on it. My apologies to Joni Mitchell, but sometimes, you don't know what you don't have until it's gone. Three weeks later, I knew I would marry him. I never wanted him gone again.



K says I'm his sunshine. But I know our roles in the song and in life. He's sunshine, and I'm moonlight. When things are dark, I know that the light I give off is a reflection of him.

Three years ago, on the first Friday in June, around this time, I was sitting at a booth in the Tropicana Diner, enjoying a first meal with the quiet, extra-ordinary guy who hailed from a tropical island. Now I'm his wife, carrying the little Sunshine he's given me. And ever so thankful for all the light.


Z, My Little Sunshine






Mommy loves you so much already! :-)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Those Small Minded Born Again Christians & Roman Catholics!



From USA Today:

"For decades, mainline Protestants have been beset by bad news: declining numbers, aging membership, waning cultural influence.A new study from Duke University Medical Center, however, gives these Protestants one reason for cheer: they seem to have larger brains than born-again Christians, Roman Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated.

The study, which examined the hippocampus region of the brain, found that Protestants who did not have a "born again" experience had significantly more gray matter than either those who reported a life-changing religious experience, Catholics, or unaffiliated older adults.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Templeton Foundation, included at least two MRI measurements of the hippocampus region of 268 adults between 1994 and 2005.
It found an association between participants' professed religious affiliation and the physical structure of their brain. Specifically, those identified as Protestant who did not have a religious conversion or born-again experience — more common among their evangelical brethren — had a bigger hippocampus."

To read the whole story, click here. I wonder how the size of my brain would stack up- as a Pentecostal-raised, born again Evangelical turned recent Anglican? Hmmm...
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