Undercover Heathen: Tales from a Baptist Christmas Party


“You should pull up your top, you’re showing too much cleavage,” my mom said, eyeing me critically.

I knew then I’d made a huge mistake. But it was too late. I’d been trapped. I was was on my way to a party at a Baptist church dressed, apparently, like a small-time prostitute.

The hook had been baited earlier that week when my mom suggested we should have a girls’ night together soon. So I’d invited to her over for Sunday evening to watch Inside Out and eat sandwiches, since my husband was out of town and my father would be completely unable to comprehend an animated movie starring anthropomorphic versions of a young girl’s emotions. It sounded about as relaxing as an evening with my mother could possibly be, and like the introvert I am, I planned on making it an early night and probably not changing out of my pajamas the entire day. Well, except to change into fresh pajamas after my bath – I’m not a barbarian.

Two hours before our movie date, my mother called.

“Hi, honey! I’m so sorry but I completely forgot that I had a work party scheduled for tonight, since we hit all our sales goals for the last six months.”

My mother works at an evangelical Christian bookstore, a job for which she is more than suited. In fact, it might be the only job for which she is suited, since she would be immediately fired from any other sort of employment for rabid proselytizing.

“Oh. Okay, well we can watch the movie anoth-”

“I’d like you to come with me and meet my coworkers.”

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