Church bulletin: All the God, sex and drugs coming in 2023

Happy new year! 2022 was a quite a year for me—a year full of sickness, joy, family, major house and vehicle repairs. As chaotic as it was, I feel grateful for everything I’ve learned this year. I’m always very reflective during winter, so bear with me as we go head first into 2023.

As much as I find distaste in new year resolutions or traditions, I wanted to dedicate this bulletin to some things Reckon loved in 2022 and things I’m personally excited to read and learn more about related to God, sex and drugs in 2023 (three topics that are often more likely to be together than not).

If you’re in the sentimental vibe during winter like I am, send me an email or a Twitter DM about what you learned about the world or yourself in 2023. Until then, let’s jump in to the last week of news for 2022.

Reckon’s best of 2022


If you’re looking for book recommendations for your new year’s resolution reading list, look no further than these 17 books we reckoned with this year. There’s some great reads on there, y’all.

Black Joy

Black Joy has an epic roundup of the best black excellence 2022 bestowed upon us. Check out the overall best of Black Joy (music, podcasts, shows, books and more), 5 books that brought us joy and some suggestions for music that brings joy.

If books aren’t your thing (no judgment)

Cold winter days are great for movies, and we’ve got 9 movies we reckoned with in 2022. These movie topics range from getting your first period, to a Spielberg film, so there’s something on there you’ll enjoy (if you haven’t already).

How politics poisoned the evangelical church (The Atlantic)

When I was young, my parents never talked about politics. My grandparents neither. But slowly and surely, it became a topic of open and often passionate discussion, even at church. I’ll never forget hearing a pastor endorse Donald Trump from the pulpit in 2016.

This article from The Atlantic examines how evangelical churches in America became so political and grew even more political as the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Read the full story on The Atlantic.

Pope Benedict XVI dead at 95

Last week, Pope Francis asked people to pray for retired Pope Benedict XVI “who is very sick, asking God to console and sustain him in his witness of love for the church until the end.” The ailing pope died Saturday in a Vatican monastery. He was 95.

In a letter published following his death, he asked for forgiveness for those he “wronged.” Benedict in 2019 said the Catholic sex abuse crisis was caused in part by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of the church’s moral teachings, CNN reported. Yikes.

Not to speak ill of the dead, but there’s some scandal around the late pope. Let’s not forget the influence the pope has on world politics and his role as the leader of the largest branch of Christianity.

Pope Benedict was the first pope to retire in 600 years. He retired due to old age, saying it would be best for the church if he stepped down. He retired in February 2013.

His 8-year stint as pontiff was marred by sexual and financial scandals. In the year before he resigned, “Vatileaks” exposed corruption and infighting in the Vatican.

He also suggested Islam was inherently violent, rehabilitated a Holocaust denier, and prompted international dismay by saying the use of condoms in the fight against Aids only worsened the problem, reported.

Pope Benedict is not the first controversial pope. If you’re curious about the history of past popes tangled up in scandal, read this report from The Washington Post.

Some fresh reads I’m taking into the new year

If you can’t tell at this point, I’m a big reader, and there’s been so many books written about religion’s entanglement in American politics. Here’s what I’m currently reading:

God, sex and drugs legislation I’m keeping an eye on next year

Speaking of the new year, state legislative session is just around the corner. There’s already several topics I’m planning to follow in the next legislative session. Some state lawmakers have already started filing bills, so there’s no time like the present to take a sneak peek.

  • Further cannabis decriminalization and more legal recreational cannabis
  • Several states (including my home state of Tennessee) are working on recreational cannabis legislation
  • Other states (including the conservatives states of Virginia, Mississippi and Alabama) will begin medical and recreational cannabis sales in 2023.
  • The criminalization of drag performances
  • Lawmakers in Tennessee, Texas and Florida are already investigating or crafting legislation that would criminalize drag shows.
  • The Texas law will require businesses that host drag events to follow regulations outlined for adult entertainment businesses like strip clubs.

Finally, a Reckon note...

2022 was a lot. I want to hear from you about what you what to read more about in 2023. What topics are you concerned about when it comes to faith, sex and God? These topics intersect in our deepest needs, desires and concerns as people.

People are the core of these “issues,” and affect our lives whether it’s our inner lives or our ability to feel safe and welcome in our communities. I’m keeping this at the front of my mind as we go into 2023, and I hope you are doing the same.

Anna Beahm

Anna Beahm |

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

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