I was delighted to be invited to be a guest on the Faith and Feminism Podcast. Meghan and I had a wonderful conversation exploring the reality of Patriarchy and Colonialism in Western missions work. I deeply believe that things can be done better and offered my perspective on how that is possible. You can listen to our conversation here.
As long as I am a deconstructing Christian, my old community can feel sorry for me and pray for me and my doubts and questions. But if I reconstruct rather than return, it is time to abandon me, warn others about me, and pray against me for the spiritual harm that I am capable of inflicting on others
Grief probably saved my life. Years before I would have taken it all on the chin, denied my suffering, and carried on as if none of it mattered. But in the aftermath of that trauma, Grief was my companion. She held me and let me rage and cry and feel sorry for myself. And to my complete shock, Joy was birthed in that season of pain.
All this to say, I think it’s time to share my experience in Bali for those who care enough to read it. For the past year, I’ve sat with this document – read it a few times to try to process and heal, but I’ve been afraid to share it beyond my closest circle of friends. Truthfully, I’ve been afraid that I will be told that what happened wasn’t that big of a deal or that we are still struggling nearly 2 years later means that we are weak and pathetic. I am also afraid that former colleagues will somehow read it, and I will once again be perceived as the community’s monster and the scapegoating will somehow find me again.
I was told that being a woman meant that I was supposed to know my place and allow a man to protect me. I was to go second, a step behind him, into the adventure God was calling him to. My role was to submit, to support, and to follow. That didn’t work out so well.
God becoming human wasn’t simply a thing that happened, it is proof of his nature to bend low, to speak in ways that we can understand, to wrap himself in coverings that make sense to us, and to give us an answer that we can understand to this exact question.
Sometimes I cry for them on my way home for work because there is simply nothing else to do but hold the stories they’ve shared and grieve for what they’ve endured and the injustice of it all. They are worth crying for when their own tears have long since given way to the shrug of acceptance. I also cry for how brave they are – how they continue to get back on their feet setback after setback, under the weight of pressures that would incapacitate me.
Through vivid symbolism, Jesus was making a clear condemnation of the religious rulers who took it on themselves to judge who was in and who was out of God’s favor.
I have my own #MeToo stories and #ChurchToo stories. Yet, I also have #MissionsToo stories and they have yet to be given space in these movements.
In the strangest twist of grace that is so laughably just like God, it is the very person that I am which was so detested my former conservative missions community that allows me to forgive them.