Introducing a New Advice Column, “Ask the Dust”

You have questions, big questions.

Ask the Dust has answers.

RD’s new advice columnist—an authority wise enough to prefer anonymity—invites your questions about religion in real life.

From the serious to the sacrilegious, no question is too high or too low for Ask the Dust.

For example:

I’m the only non-Catholic teacher at St. Ignatius. Should I just convert and get it over with?

Ask the Dust.

My spouse is an atheist. May I baptize him while he’s asleep?

Ask the Dust.

My daughter’s Bat Mitzvah is in December and she wants to do a Christmas theme. Is that OK?

Ask the Dust.

Send questions now to (pick a handle if you prefer not to share your name) and stay tuned to read the answers in a few short weeks.

Yours, in anticipation,

–The Eds.


John Fante was a writer whose explorations of “God, booze, women, and the cruel majesty that is L.A.” made him a noir legend. His 1939 novel, Ask the Dust, inspired the title of this column. A pertinent excerpt: “This was the life for a man, to wander and stop and then go on, ever following the white line along the rambling coast, a time to relax at the wheel, light another cigaret, and grope stupidly for the meanings in that perplexing desert sky.”



  •' Jim Reed says:

    We can’t wait that long. You need to answer daily, at least. Since it is on the internet, hopefully more like instant.

    Check if some of your keys are jammed.

  •' Jeffrey Samuels says:

    My spouse is an atheist. May I baptize him while he’s asleep?

    No, that’s called waterboarding

  •' apotropoxy says:

    Q: My spouse is an atheist. May I baptize him while he’s asleep?
    A: Sure. If it makes you feel better. But you better hope that the god you’ve chosen is the right one. If it’s not and the real god takes offense to the insult, you and he may be in for a long afterlife.

  •' Jim Reed says:

    Good answers except on the second one, I am not sure it makes any difference which one you choose.

  •' Ellen Ska says:

    The email address has bounced my emails twice. Is this a joke, then? Or is the email address not live yet?

  • Lisa says:

    try again! it should be ready to go…

  •' Ellen Ska says:

    Thanks, Lisa — third time’s the charm!

  •' Jim 'Prup' Benton says:

    In fact, if you tell her — quite accurately — that most of Jesus’ teaching came from his study of Hillel, and get her reading him, it may make the ceremony even more valuable to her

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