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In another, Jesus was driving a car and I was sitting next to him.

Suddenly, to my horror, I saw in the rearview mirror that a large glob of mucus was hanging out of my nose.

Growing up a smarty-pants, fundamentalist, hillbilly girl in the 1970s By the age of twelve, Susan Campbell had been flirting with Jesus for some time, and in her mind, Jesus had been flirting back. She went to his house three times a week, listened to his stories, loudly and lustily sang songs to him. [Campbell’s] writing is striking for the compassion with which she views her younger self, a fledgling believer confined in a cage of manmade rules.” —Jane Ciabattari, More“Rarely has a genuine feminist emerged from the modern evangelical movement. [and gives] readers a hook to grab on to as they ponder life’s big questions alongside a tomboy theologian.” —Harry Levins, St. Fundamentalism ‘broke off in us,’ like a sword, seems a poignant metaphor for the injuries suffered.

She even professed her love for him through being baptized. ” —Wally Lamb, author of The Hour I First Believed“This fond memoir of growing up a rebellious tomboy in a fundamentalist church that expects women to be pious, subservient and, above all, quiet tells what it feels like to have Jesus as your boyfriend-and what happens when you want to break up with him.” —Ms.“[A] heartfelt memoir . An exception is Susan Campbell.” —Hanna Rosin, Mother Jones“A mesmerizing, funny, impressionistic memoir of a spiritual and thoughtful person, one who has spent her life wrestling with religion, the meaning of faith and her feelings for the Divine.” —Houston Chronicle“Campbell has both a sense of humor and a knack for religious research . Louis Post-Dispatch“A moving account of closely cinched fundamentalist girlhood . Fortunately for the rest of us, [Campbell’s] chosen salve for those wounds is the writing of astute and vivid prose.” —Valerie Weaver-Zercher, The Christian Century Chapter One: The Devil Is in an Air Bubble The devil is in an air bubble floating beneath my baptismal robe.

originally appeared on August 27, 2013 on the now-defunct website of Hartford Faith and Values.

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So, one Sunday morning, she walked to the front of her fundamentalist Christian church to profess her love for Jesus and be baptized.

For a while, Campbell diligently plays by the gender-restrictive rules.

She knocks on doors for Jesus rather than preach from the pulpit; diligently guards her chastity, refusing even to date; and memorizes long fragments from the Bible.

But from the moment her robe floated to the surface of the baptistry water, she began to question her fundamentalist faith.

If baptism requires complete immersion underwater, what does it mean, if a piece of fabric attached to a would-be Christian floats to the top? In Dating Jesus, Campbell takes us into the world of fundamentalism-a world where details really, really matter-while wrestling with questions that would thwart any young woman intent on adhering to a literalist religion.

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