January 28, 2010

Thoughts on being a Non-Initiate

Posted in Christianity, faith and doubt, God, interfaith experiences, Mormonism, Relationships, religion, school and academics, Spirituality tagged , , , , , at 6:09 am by Eostre

I am taking a class this semester on the Literature of Mormon Women. It is a great topic, and I am really excited about it. There is one thing that has me a little apprehensive, though. I am the only non-Mormon in the class. I know, this shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is really a strange situation, for multiple reasons.

First, the obvious, it is weird being the only one in the class who isn’t an initiate. I don’t know the lingo, I don’t recognize most of the names, and I didn’t know before last week that the Temple and the Tabernacle were two different buildings. I am on the outside looking in. I have studied Mormonism, but that is very different from actually being a Mormon. Sure, I can name the four canonical texts, but I don’t use them for my devotions. All the knowledge in the world isn’t enough to bridge that gap.

The second, and less obvious reason, is that I have not been in a really religious environment for almost two years. My faith since coming to Claremont has been largely a private thing, I haven’t participated in any faith-based communion for a while, mostly on purpose. Going to this class I have been struck by how far I have gone from when I was comfortable in an insular religious environment. It doesn’t matter that this doesn’t happen to be my religion, the attitudes are strikingly similar even though the trappings aren’t. There is a certain way that religious people speak, think, and act, that I have been away from for a long time. If you are (or have been) religious in America I am sure you know what I mean. There is an insularity, an us and them mentality, that I had forgotten about.

This is challenging me in completely unexpected ways. I expected the discomfort of being the only non-Mormon in a class, but I did not expect the vertigo that I experience when I walk through that door and into a world that I don’t think I belong in any more. That religious life and mindset just doesn’t fit comfortably anymore. It’s like trying to jam my feet into shoes I outgrew a year ago.

The semester has only just started, but I can tell that this is going to be a huge personal challenge. Can I re-enter that world? Do I want to?

January 14, 2010

Pat Robertson Strikes Again

Posted in Anti-Christian Message, Christianity, God, Jesus, religion, Suffering, Theodicy, Victim Blaming tagged , , , at 11:11 pm by Gina Messina

Like the rest of the world, I have been stunned and deeply saddened by this incredible tragedy that has struck Haiti.  In the wake of such devastation, I have wondered why such awful tragedies occur, why so many had to lose their lives in such a tragic manner.  That being said, I refuse to think that God had any role in creating such suffering.  Why is it that when such terrible things occur some feel it necessary to justify the devastation by blaming the victim?  This is exactly what Pat Robertson has done.  In wake of such tragedy, he felt it necessary to go on national television and claim that the people of Haiti are “cursed,” made a “pact to the devil,” and that they must “make a great turning towards God.”   What he succeeded in doing with such hateful statements is further perpetuate intolerance and the myth of superiority while slandering the Christian message.

Pat Robertson calls himself a Christian.  He preaches to millions and many hang on his every word with the belief that Robertson will lead them directly to a life of eternity with their Lord.  However, Robertson’s message of hate clearly demonstrates that what he preaches is not a Christian message.  In fact, Pat Robertson has completely missed the boat and is teaching a message that utterly conflicts with that of Jesus. 

Robertson is not calling for his parishioners to love their neighbors.  Instead he focuses on labeling those he finds fault with and claims them responsible for tragedy in the world.  He warned his 700 Club viewers that “Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists. Many of them were homosexuals. The two seem to go together.”[1]  Robertson also called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, stated that 9/11 occurred as a punishment from God because of legalized abortion in America, and that Hurricane Katrina was a direct result of New Orleans being a sinful city.  Now with his message about the earthquake in Haiti, Robertson has linked every Haitian to devil worship and deserving of their suffering.  How is this a Christian message?

Although Robertson represents himself as a Christian he apparently is unfamiliar with Jesus’ message of love your neighbor.  Evidently he has not read Jesus’ call to not judge others.  It seems that the Beatitudes are unknown to him, yet Pat Robertson has made himself the face of Christianity in America.  What I wonder is why is anyone standing for this? Why do so many listen to his non-Christian message?  Why do we continue to allow him to preach, air his television show, and act as commentator? At what point will Pat Robertson be held accountable for spreading such hate?

See video of Robertson on Haiti as well as the Haitian ambassador’s response at the following link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/13/pat-robertson-haiti-curse_n_422099.html


[1] Bob Moser. Anti-gay religious crusaders claim homosexuals helped mastermind the Holocaust.”

December 11, 2009

Things I am not good at

Posted in Relationships, religion, school and academics, waiting tagged , , , , at 8:14 am by Eostre

There are a lot of things that I am not good at. I am not a very good cook, I am constitutionally incapable of getting up in the morning without hitting the snooze button at least 4 times, I procrastinate and I never “live up to my potential”, but near the top of this list (if not at the top) is waiting. I am really really bad at waiting.

I hate waiting for even the small things, like long lines at Target, so even more so the big things, the things that matter in life. I know, it’s funny, because procrastination is a kind of waiting, but it is self-imposed. I can end that waiting any time I want to. It’s the things that I have no control over that get me upset.

Right now I am procrastinating from writing two papers. I’ve started, kind of, but I have a long way to go before I am finished. And while that is stressing me out, it doesn’t bother me nearly as much as the things I am waiting for that I have no control over.

I am waiting to know, for sure, what I am going to do with my life. I am waiting for a time when I wont have to precariously live from paycheck to paycheck. I am waiting to finish my degree, and see what happens next. I am waiting to see if there is or isn’t a relationship in my future. I am waiting on a lot of things, and I don’t like it.

Being made to wait takes away my control, and that is something that I can’t stand. I want to control when things happen, and, even though I don’t necessarily have the best track record with making awesome life choices, I still want to control what happens. I don’t want to wait. But I don’t have a choice, I have to wait. I can’t rush any of the things I am waiting on, and it is frustrating as hell. So, while I wait, I will hit the snooze button at least 4 times, not start papers until less than a week before they are due, over-season my food and under-achieve. But, all too often lately, I just end up waiting.

November 8, 2009

Immortality: Surprising Confluences Between Feminist Theology and Mormonism

Posted in interfaith experiences, religion at 3:57 am by Gaia

On the whole, I like the Mormon concept of immortality. I like the idea of being with my family forever. I like the idea of being able to love and live with a child or spouse or parent that might have died too young. I like the idea of being eternally engaged in learning and working with others. Ok, I am put off by the idea that I as woman might be an eternal baby maker, and the status of Heavenly Mother – my immortal role model – is angst inducing if I sit down and think about it for very long. But in my positive moments, I have some hope that my husband and I would actually be equals in the next life – that the patriarchy of our church and of our world is just a natural consequence of the fall and of human fallibility.

So I initially found it a bit jarring yesterday as I read about one Christian feminist theologian’s take on immortality. Ruether, author of Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology, is a founding mother in the field. She questions whether or not the idea of immortality is an outgrowth of a Western (and she would also say male) concern with self-perpetuation as well as an abstraction from the real life processes of growing, birthing and dying. She has reason for this latter concern: in traditional Christian theology, immortality is static, and according to some church fathers, the resurrected female body (not the male) will have its sexual organs neutered in some way so as to not be able to inspire lust.

Ruether proposes that we explore a feminist theology that moves away from thinking so much about the ego’s everlastingness and instead accepts our own finiteness and embraces death as part of a natural matrix of humans and non-humans, who spring from the earth and eventually return from it in a nutritive regenerative cycle. Rather than hoping for the ideal in the next life, she urges us to use this present moment to create a just and good community for our children.

I have mixed feelings about Ruether’s rather negative take on immortality. On the one hand, I very much appreciate her ideas about valuing the body, accepting change, and restoring balance between human and non human. On the other, I really like the idea of existing eternally, that there is something so important about my soul that it is co-eternal with the divine (even if that idea is a bit egotistical).

So it might appear that Mormonism and Ruether’s feminist theology might not have a lot of common ground to work with regarding the concept of immortality. But I actually see some surprising confluences. Mormonism’s concept of immortality is very different than the one Ruether is rejecting. Our immortality not only accepts change, it expects and embraces it. Rather than a heaven that is never-changing perfection, Mormonism’s concept of eternal life is all about working to make progress and evolve. There is an embracing of the body, sexuality, and natural life processes in our ideas of eternal reproduction. In a nutshell, I see Mormonism’s concept of eternal life as a merging of both traditional Christian ideas about immortality and of Ruether’s feminist emphasis on the body and change.

November 5, 2009

Generation G: Living in a Glocal Town

Posted in Faith Transformations, Generation G(lobal), interfaith experiences, pluralism, religion, technology tagged , , , at 6:53 am by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

interfaithI’m just a small town girl, livin’ in a global world. Well, glocal, really. Because I still live in a bubble. The little area I live in is so immaculate, it looks like a movie set sometimes. And I fail to watch the news like I should. Confessions, confessions. Still, my little bubble is more diverse than the one I remember as a young teenager, when I thought the only history I knew was the US and Ancient Greece and Egyptian and British. Lots of British.

So what happened? I think I owe a lot to my continued education and perhaps (I admit with much guilt) leaving the sweet fields of waving wheat and WASPs. Not that Oklahoma isn’t super diverse, but. . . there is a fabulous Hispanic population as well as Asian. I had best friends of many ethnicities. But I never really learned too much about other religions and other cultures. Everything was in an American, Western context. And I’m not sure why.

Why didn’t we read Asian literature? What about the philosophies of the Dalai Lama or Ghandi or the story of the Gita? Why didn’t we discuss global issues, how capitalism looked from the perspectives of developing countries; why didn’t we do more than just reduce everything to stock characters and settings? Why wasn’t our education more comparative?

It is almost impossible for my generation to not be globally aware, although I still feel I have so much left to learn. I always felt that traveling was a bit more for the privileged than me, but school has helped me travel at least around the country, and helped me to participate in the conversations that have turned my focus outward.

There have been so many benefits to being in a religious studies program specifically, but graduate school in a place different than I grew up in general. I’ve learned not to be afraid of others or my own curiosity, although there is still some residual fear concerning what still doesn’t seem familiar or known. I’ve been blessed to catch a glimpse into the richness that is other cultures and religions and lifestyles. My experiences have helped me live life more fully and helped me understand that, as good and innocent of a person I have always thought myself to be, I need to work harder to understand my interdependence, and contribute to the good of the world.

October 15, 2009

Jesus was not white, and other reflections

Posted in God, Goddess, Jesus, religion, Soul, Spirituality at 4:29 am by Eostre

Growing up in the Evangelical Church, we knew who Jesus was, we had pictures of him! Jesus was white, quasi-attractive, and full of good ol’ Amerijesus playing keep awaycan pride (our Church had an American flag right next to cross, behind the pulpit).  And since, as we all know (and out Sunday School teachers showed us on felt boards every week) Jesus was more than just a man, he was GOD, the implications were clear. Jesus was just like us! And more than that, he might have lived in Ancient Israel, but apart from that small point, he was American!

Unfortunately, this Jesus was created out of whole cloth by the American Church and fed to little minds every week by well meaning (but maliciously misinformed) adults. I don’t know which would be worse, a concerted effort to do away with the Jesus of the Bible and replace him with this permissive, smiling, white man, or blinding ignorance. Either way, irreparable damage has been done to generations of Christian children, who grew up to be Christian adults who then went on to perpetuate the lie.

As I became aware of the glaring inconsistencies in what the Bible actually said and what was presented in Christian media, I was appalled. The lie is so widespread and so ingrained in Christian (and Western) culture, that there seems to be no way to counter it.  Suddenly, White Jesus was everywhere I looked. I couldn’t escape his bland, permissive gaze. Christian bookstore’s send me spiraling into depression.

So what do I do with this? How do I deal with this tangled, snarled knot of misconceptions and angst? I tried declaiming to anyone who would listen that Jesus probably looked more like Osama Bin Laden than Brad Pitt, but I soon discovered that it was a fruitless exercise. The lie was too prevalent, too ingrained in our collective consciousness.

So I gave up. Not completely, of course, I’ll still pull out the soap-box given the opportunity, but I can’t let it consume me anymore. I can’t fight the White Jesus, but he has ruined God personifications for me. I can’t try to imagine a human God without spiraling back down into the angst, so I have had to find a different way of imagining God. It wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t well defined, but now, when I care to, I imagine God as a sort of amorphous cloud that can envelope me in warmth, like laying on the grass in the sunshine when it’s not too hot, but just right, and you can see the patterns of the shadows of the leaves on your eyelids when you close your eyes. And all I want to do is curl up and rest. God, for me, now, is a feeling. God is safety and comfort and warmth, all encompassing and incorporeal, no gender, no race, God is both the sunlight that warms my face, the grass that cushions me, and the clean scent of rain that lulls me to rest. Simple? Yes. Uncomplicated? No.

October 9, 2009

Coming to Know Goddess Mother

Posted in Catholic, feminism, feminist theology, God, Goddess, Relationships, religion, Spirituality, Thealogy, Theology at 6:07 am by Gina Messina

Goddess Mother

Goddess Mother

Growing up in the Catholic Church I always believed God was a man.  God was always spoken of as male, and although Catholic teaching states that God is genderless, as a child growing up in the Church I never knew this.  No one ever told me that God was genderless; I only heard over and over again God referred to as Father, him, he, himself, etc.  There was never gender neutral language, there certainly was never female language.  Why would I have thought any different? 

I was also very confused by God’s attributes.  Although I heard that God was benevolent, I also heard that God punished.  I found it very distressing that God had stricken Moses dead one step outside of the Promised Land.  I was also troubled by God allowing Satan to torment Job.  However, what garnered my attention most was the crucifixion of Jesus.  Why was such a violent and horrific death of the Son of God the only acceptable sacrifice, the only way to redeem humanity? These actions seemed cruel and led me to question God’s benevolence; I feared God.

I was in college the first time I was told that God could be imaged as a woman; it was a shocking revelation.  I had always pictured God as a man, looking perhaps a lot like what I had been told Jesus looked like (what I term the “Hollywood Jesus;” blond hair, blue eyes, nothing what the historical Jesus looked like).  What would a female God look like?  If God could be imaged female, would God’s attributes be different?  Since that time I have spent a great deal of time wondering who God is.  How should God be imaged?  What is an appropriate name for God?  What are God’s characteristics? Would a female God have demanded a blood sacrifice?

While it has taken quite a bit of time and while I am certain my thoughts will continue to evolve, I have come to know God in a very different way.  For me, God is no longer male and no longer vengeful.   Instead I have re-imaged God as Goddess Mother and Goddess Mother possesses attributes that allow me to have a loving relationship with her, a relationship I had not been able to develop in the past.   

I no longer feel disconnected and fearful of God.  Rather, I encounter Mother Goddess daily through my interactions with others and my experiences with nature.  I encounter her through the support and friendship I share with the women of this blog and through my husband’s loving embrace.  I experience the Goddess in the sun that warms me and in the water that quenches my thirst.  She is loving, nurturing, sustaining and continually present.  Although there were times that I felt lost and did not know who Goddess Mother was, I know now that I was never a stranger to her.

October 7, 2009

Jesus is a Sexy Beast

Posted in Jesus, religion, sexuality, Spirituality tagged , , , at 5:42 am by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

sexy jesusI spent a whole heap of years accepting that God/Jesus was my Daddy, BetterThanABoyfriend, Romantic Prince Charming, Protector, Bryan Adams Doing Everything for Me (My Jesus was HOTT!), and I wasn’t the only one. As much as Jesus and the male God have been pronounced as celibate, asexual beings, the sexiness of Jesus is well promoted for mainstream Christians. I remember my youth pastor saying that, “As much as that cute boy at school makes you smile, Jesus should make you smile more. Jesus always thinks you are beautiful.” When the Da Vinci Code movie came out in 2006, it caused a bit of  stir among Christian churches, the main complaint being that Jesus could have never have children. Not only would that (having sex?) compromise his divinity (although no one really ever explains why), it’s practically impossible (do NOT think of Jesus’ penis. Do NOT. It is not there. He does not use it. End. Of. Story.) Yet his sexuality was just that which was coveted by some people, including my friend. When I asked her what she thought of the movie, she said that she was fine with it, except that she would be sad to think of Jesus as having a wife. . . because she doesn’t want to share his love like that.

So as girls, we (being myself and this friend and others) were sort of allowed to see Jesus as romantic. We were the brides of Christ. A major motivation to stay virgins until we married was because if we didn’t, it would be like we were cheating on Jesus (yes, this was another youth service sermon). Yet, to think of the historical Jesus as feeling lust, but more to the point, engaging in sex, would be wrong. Right? Because sex is . . . not divine? What happens if he has sex???? Is sex sin? What IS it? But hey, if he DID think about sex, it was certainly heterosexual sex. That is just a given. Come on.

God is sort of given the same rap, although He isn’t as sexy since he’s sort of amorphous and spirit-y. Yet He’s definitely male (Zeus, anyone?) and yet definitely asexual (although. . . he kind of did it with Mary to make Jesus. . . omgz I’m so confused).

But what consequences do such messages have on our theologies, on our lives? Jesus/God is a sexy beast we can’t really have. Is there a place for the erotic, for sexuality, in our theology? Can it be seen as divine and good and therefore not to be avoided in our deities and in our own religious/spiritual lives? Do we have to separate it? Here is me being holy and sacred (not having sex). Here is me being human (not divine, having sex). I’m not sure really what I want in theology, but it might be nice to discover the sensual and the sexual and not have it be a disconnect with the sacred. At the same time, the sexualizing of God/Jesus as husband/boyfriend/great body as it happens now seems problematic. But I’m not sure how to articulate why.

As we think on these things, may this music video from the film Hamlet 2 be of aid:

September 23, 2009

Cute Pink Bunny Vibrator: My Worst Enemy

Posted in religion, sexuality tagged , , , , , at 3:08 am by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

rabbit-pearl-vibrator-big. . . well, not really. But it does scare the hell out of me. It’s hidden away in a cozy beige bag in the hallway cupboard, right next to the clear baggie of brightly colored vegan condoms flavored blueberry, strawberry, wildberry, and vanilla, which is next to a goddess-lovely tube of vegan lube. The first time I have sex with the person I love most (me), I want it to be a truly organic experience. (You can get all of these things, well sans the vibrator, here.)

Um, okay, I don’t even know if that last joke made sense. But whatever.

To put it bluntly, nothing has ever gone inside me “down there:” not a tampon, finger, penis, or even the seemingly innocent little vibrator with a rabbit and pearls that someone paid $79 for.

I’m a pretty, blonde, Ph.d, all-around-fabulous person who has done plenty of other things and gone on many dates, but I’m a little over a year away from being 30 and I sort of have a complex about this. My feelings range from OMG-I’m-a-Horrible-Weird-Ogre-Freak to Ha!-Queen-Of-Purity! But mostly, I don’t really think too much about it at all.

Growing up, I was the speaker on “abstinence” at a Youth Leadership Conference because I religiously believed that God had a soulmate for each person and so you should save yourself for him/her until your magical wedding night which would be stars and Bryan Adams playing in the background and a bed that overlooked the Mediterranean Sea while it rained. I’m sure my evangelical tradition had something to do with this idea as did growing up in the Bible Belt. I was even taught that masturbation was a dirty little sin that could send you to hell. I really had little sexual outlet.

All my boyfriends at my Christian college were equally as repressed and so I was never really confronted with the idea that anyone would even want to have sex with me. . . not until graduate school. But we didn’t. Actually, we never really even had the conversation and my boyfriend, another virgin but not a Christian, did not suggest it. We increasingly became more and more intimate though. And with each step I felt increasingly more guilt and shame, and the disapproving floating head of God in my mind looked a lot like my mom’s. I was beginning to be less shackled my traditional Christianity after I moved away from home, but the new world of sexual intimacy, drinking, late night intellectual discussions, clubs, and basically experiencing life was intimidating.

By the time I finished my MA, I went back home and began dating someone else that I eventually moved in with, but he was even more adamant (being a Christian) that sex was for marriage. So no-go there. And finally when I was feeling okay and adventurous! I even remember staying up late one night with my older woman friend discussing how to seduce a man. But Mr. D could not be seduced. My last boyfriend was also a virgin, but he wouldn’t have minded having sex, yet. . . I just can’t. I don’t want to. First it was religious, and mostly now it’s that having a baby would in my opinion absolutely ruin my life (I hate the idea of having children, call me a monster if you will). And partly. . . because pink vibrators won’t get you pregnant. . right?. . . I just don’t want to take the plunge. I’m scared? I don’t know. If you’ve never had chocolate before, maybe you stop caring about trying to eat it. If my religion would have celebrated sexuality and bodies and my mom would have been less BoysOnlyWantSex/ToRapeYouOneThing, maybe just maybe, I wouldn’t now be coveting/idolizing my body-as-temple or, to rephrase someone brilliant, putting the penis on a pedestal. I do understand that I have the ability to change my mind about sex now that I am agent of my life. But I’m honestly just not sure how to do that.

August 16, 2009

The Christianities I’ve Lived

Posted in Faith Transformations, feminist theology, Relationships, religion, Soul tagged , , , , , at 9:54 pm by Lakshmi (LaChelle)

Since 6th grade, I have grown up in the protestant evangelical charismatic movement. For all of you who don’t know, or need to be reminded of what that means, well, for me at least it included the following: mission trips, FIRE (which was a 6 month period of no television, no music or reading not Christian-focused, and weekly meetings), Bible Quiz, youth church on Wednesday nights, Sunday morning and night services (where the night service was more Holy Spirit filled and might go on until who knew when), raising hands and falling slain in the spirit, speaking in tongues, dancing and waving flags around or whatever you wanted to do during praise time in the church, sorrowful deep weeping confessions, loving Jesus more than anything, revivals, big televangelists coming as visiting preachers, MY preacher on television, prosperity preaching (preachers with big beautiful white houses and large Washington D.C sized gated lawns), the Left Behind books, Christian romance, praying and telling other people about Jesus, speaking about abstinence at Youth Leadership Conference, listening to on the radio and singing at school talent shows CCM (Christian Contemporary Music), buying clothing at Mardel Christian bookstore, knowing that it was creation and not evolution that caused the world that breathed God, understanding the devil was a real entity that wanted to bring you down and especially would be after you the more you belonged to Jesus, being awed and terrified of my literal reading of Revelation, and reading the Bible everyday and everywhere, and praying/talking to God as much as I could.

Christianity, in some ways, is a culture with language and dress and behavior, definitely a worldview, of its own. Like a person from any country will have adopted and understand the codes of her country’s culture/society, the Christian culture has been inside of me, and I have not and will not probably reject it. That said, where I am at now in my late 20s is a very different place than I was ages 12-18. How?

UNDERGRAD: I went to a private Christian church that allowed my evangelism to pause since everyone around me was already a Christian (scotch-taping the “footprints” poem to the inside of bathroom stalls would be “sweet” and not subversive). And the conservatism of the school (women were not really allowed a leadership role, Christian music was actually of the devil) allowed me to see myself not as self-righteously more conservative/pure/godly (I just couldn’t be!) than those around me, but rather as more liberal. Which in a way, pushed me to a certain freedom to explore that liberality. Also, (thank godde), my professors were progressive Christians. They challenged me to question the assumed male gender of “god” and asked me to respond to the parallels between the stories from the Bible I had known to be sacred and absolute and the stories from classical Greek and Roman and even earlier mythologies; they allowed me to see evolution and sexuality as something other than a threat to my faith. And just being in college in general helped me realize that there were so many ideas out there and so much knowledge I didn’t know, uncertainties that were real.

GRAD SCHOOL: I moved from the midwest to the east coast and came into contact with people very different than me. My Christian undergrad was a safe place to start wandering around in possibilities because I knew that my professors and the people around me were exploring and they were so strong in their faith. In graduate school, I did not have any Christians around me. I was forced to look at people of different religions and views or no religion at all and see them as okay people, even good (whatever that meant), even more moral than I. Which was a new idea, because I had been taught growing up that it was religion, the Christian religion specifically, which made people moral. I took an interest, via my feminist classes, in feminist theology (I hadn’t even known there was such a field), and started to let myself be critical of my faith tradition, understanding that the sacred text was also a historical text in the sense that it was created in a specific time and has been used for specific reasons not necessarily inclusive or liberating for everyone. Graduate school was a rich time of awakenings and explorations, and so it was also a gorgeous time of fear and depression too. But it was something I needed to go through.

MY RETURN TO UNDERGRAD: But this time as a professor. And as a professor, I was to integrate faith and learning, which I enjoyed doing, especially since Christianity had started to become so nuanced for me. I tried out serious theological issues with my students and encouraged them to consider alternatives to what they had thoughtlessly assumed previously. During my time there (about two years), I realized that I wanted to completely focus on religion, but this time, from a feminist standpoint.

NOW, NEW GRAD SCHOOL: So here I am, in a Women’s Studies and Religion program, with girls and professors who are all together considering the endless possibilities of what godde, spirituality, Jesus, and our relationship to other faiths and people mean. I love this exploration, and it feels good and safe and right. And I want to continue to see where it leads. My theology now is more defined by social justice and Jesus not as one who wants to be worshiped, but as one who gave up being God for a moment to show us that idolatrous worship was not what he wanted. He demonstrated the message of liberation for the impoverished, for women, for all who are oppressed. And my theology is also pluralistic, because I feel, even though Christianity is the right path for me, other faiths carry a similar message. Evangelism is no longer a part of my Christian faith. That is just how it is, and I’m sorry if you don’t agree with it or feel that it is wayward or something. But evangelism does not feel ethical for me personally.