Just the title of the conference/gathering/happening I attended last weekend still gives me chills. Why Christian? It cuts to the chase, and is a question that I’ve struggled with MUCH more than I’ve admitted over the years.
But what happened there was much more than an answer to a question.
The presenters all…for the first time…all looked like me. Well, me and my tattooed or dreaded or trans sisters, and not all white women, thanks be to God, Nadia, and Rachel. They were all women in their 20s, 30s, and a few wise 40s. Mostly reverends, some professors and writers. One Catholic, some Lutherans, even a few Vineyard pastors, along with Baptists and Episcopalians.
To see women who were my people speaking SO eloquently and brilliantly about their struggles with pastoral ministry, with believing in God in the midst of a chaotic world, with an incarnational God who seems powerless while at the same time lifting up…I think it, as someone said, re-converted me.
A few quotes from the weekend with links to their excellent writing:
Christianity is the story I want to wrestle with.
There’s no self-improvement plan; just death and resurrection every single day.
—Rachel Held Evans
The texts of terror can become the most comforting texts if we are the ones who have lived them. —The Rev. Winnie Varghese, Trinity Wall Street
“I was a high-functioning leper, numb inside, losing pieces of myself. If you live like that, when healing comes, healing HURTS.”
“We DIE to ourselves every day, not remodel them.”
“Because having a body was not always good news for me,
but then I met good news IN a body.”
“The sacraments are how we get our faith under our fingernails.”
–The Rev. Kerlin Richter
“What’s the answer to everything? HUMAN DIGNITY.”
—Dr. Nichole Flores
“Our faith is MEANT to be a question.”
—The Rev. Mihee Kim-Kort
“It is not my black femaleness that needs redemption–it is my humanity, just like yours.”
“God says ‘I am a mystery. Get over it.'”
—Allyson Dylan Robinson
I feel like my brain has been rearranged by these women’s words. I feel like I can keep going. I feel like there is hope for us yet. Their words made me fall in love with Jesus and my church again, because I was encouraged by their struggles and doubts.
My answer, at least today, to the question, “Why Christian?” is because this event exists.