Church bulletin: It ain’t Jesus’ birthday

Happy Holidays, y’all. It’s a week before Christmas, so I’m sure you’re busy preparing for holiday parties, family get-togethers and whatever else you use to get your jolly on this time of year. There’s lot of holidays coming up (14 religious holidays in total in the month of December), so get your hope where you can this time of year, y’all.

This week we’re talking about being Black and Jewish (a special post from our Black Joy team), pagan connections to modern Christmas practices, a post about “ick” videos from Reckon reporter Anna Claire Vollers, potentially unethical behavior between influential evangelicals and conservative supreme court justices and an Atlanta pastor who wants to grow cannabis on church property.

If you’ve got any hot holiday gossip, hit up my DMs on Twitter or Instagram or send me an old school email at Let’s get into it, y’all.

8 Black and Jewish icons you should know

Hanukkah 2022 begins the evening of Sunday, December 18th and ends the evening of Monday, December 26th. In honor of the Festival of Lights, Black Joy is spotlighting Black and Jewish icons. Our Jewish community deserves to be seen in more than just the headlines about our nation’s intensifying antisemitism. They also deserve to be celebrated for their accomplishments and contributions to our culture.

Kat Graham is an entertainer and humanitarian best known for her role as Bonnie Bennett on The Vampire Diaries. She is a United Nations Refugee Goodwill Ambassador. And an executive producer and host for Witness (2023), a TIME documentary about the international refugee crisis.

Ezra Edmond is a writer, director and animation producer with a passion for storytelling with insights into complex identities. Most notably, his animated short about being Black & Jewish, “Blewish.” He has worked with Disney, Pixar and Lucasfilm.

Tahuonia Rubel is a fashion model, singer and television personality, known for winning the fifth series of Big Brother Israel in 2013. She has led campaigns for designer brands, including Sleek Makeup, MAC Cosmetics and Diesel for Glamour magazine.

Michael W. Twitty is a culinary historian and creator of Afroculinaria, a blog devoted to African American foodways and their legacies. His book, The Cooking Gene, won two James Beard Awards in 2018. His latest book, KOSHERSOUL, looks at the creation of African Jewish cooking.

Imani Jackson is the CEO and head chef of Chopped & Served, offering sovereign, blewish cuisine. The community-based catering company frequently provides free food to inner-city youth. She recently opened a brick-and-mortar location in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis, MN.

Camonghne Felix is a writer, poet and communications strategist. Formerly the Director of Surrogates and Strategic Communications for the Elizabeth Warren presidential campaign, her memoir, Dyscalculia, will be released February 14, 2023, and is now available for pre-order.

Read more on And while you’re there subscribe to the Black Joy newsletter and check out Black Joy on Instagram, Tiktok and Twitter.

Nurse ‘ick’ videos: An OBGYN explains the importance of compassion

This month, a video went viral on TikTok in which a few labor and delivery nurses from Atlanta shared their “icks” – pet peeves – about their patients. Online commenters blasted the nurse’s complaints as disrespectful and needlessly cruel. But the video prompted responses from other users who detailed their own difficult birth experiences with providers they felt didn’t listen to them.

Dr. Heather Skanes, a young OBGYN who recently opened her practice in Birmingham, Ala., has seen the video. A friend who’s also in the medical profession sent her a link to it even before it went viral. Skanes told Reckon News that the video highlighted, for her, a problem that persists in medicine and birth work: providers acting in ways that destroy trust with their patients.

“When (patients) feel like you’re not listening, they may stop talking, which means you’re not getting all the information you need, which can affect their care,” she said. “You have what I think is one of the biggest problems that can develop, which is this distrust of the medical system. It’s so harmful for the people we want to serve.”

Skanes said she built her practice, Oasis Women’s Health, to improve community healthcare particularly for Black women and birth givers. She said she’s heard from patients who have stories about providers who were dismissive, or who talk about being afraid providers won’t believe them when they talk about a problem or concern in pregnancy.


Holiday Homework

Here’s a roundup of some headlines that really caught my eye this week:

  • Former evangelical activist says he ‘pushed the boundaries’ in Supreme Court dealings (NPR)
  • Experts say to avoid playing the suspected Club Q shooter’s “game” with their non-binary identity (LGBTQ Nation)
  • Activists Are Trying to Ban Abortion Pills in Blue States, Forcing Patients to Face Protesters (Jezebel)
  • Megachurch Pastor Wants to Grow Weed on Church Property (Relevant)

A Reckon note

I’ll be taking a break from the bulletin for Dec. 25, so there will be no bulletin on Christmas Day. I hope you take time to rest and refresh for the rest of the year. I’ll see y’all in 2023.

Anna Beahm

Anna Beahm |

I report on the intersection of religion and sexuality in America. Follow me on Twitter @_AnnaBeahm

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