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Royals Got Married and God Was There

Hello, good readers! As I am writing this, it is the feast of Pentecost- the day that the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles. It is also known as the “birthday” of the Church! It is the day that the apostles were finally given the Advocate that they needed to come out of their hiding place and spread the Gospel with the world. What better day to come out of our own “hiding” and launch this blog?!

In case you were wondering where we have been, the nine of us have been getting to know each other and forming community- much like the apostles did after Jesus initially called them together. We’ve been chatting and sending videos and praying for and with one another. I won’t speak for the rest of the ladies, but by the end of 2017- a year that seemed to take us back in time rather than progress in many ways- I was really questioning my Christian roots and state of the world. I needed a solid, strong, female Christian community. It has been a gift to get to know these ladies and I look forward to what we will be able to share with all of you!

Now let’s get down to business. Today is the day. By the time that this is published, it will not be Pentecost any longer, but it doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit isn’t any less present. We do need reminders like the Feast of Pentecost to remind us of the Spirit’s power, though. I love the feast of Pentecost because it has been a time when the Holy Spirit has moved in a very real way for me in the past. When I was in college, I celebrated this feast day by doing mission work in Guatemala and for the first time, I put together what this feast is about: the Holy Spirit moving the apostles to action. The Holy Spirit takes over them and they finally have the courage to go out and do Christ’s work (it should be noted that the female disciples came out of hiding much sooner, however. Women were the first ones at Christ’s tomb and Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Lord!)

A few years later, I would make the decision to enter a convent (I’m Catholic, y’all. Don’t let that scare you! I’m chill, I promise!). And after a year of giving it my best, praying hard, living in community, and surrendering much, I decided that it wasn’t for me. It was on Pentecost that God sent me out into the “world” again. It was scary, but I knew that it was right.

But this first blog post isn’t about me. It is about Pentecost and how the Holy Spirit can move in any way that we let it.

This post is also a little about another important event that happened this weekend: The Royal Wedding.

Okay, so you may be thinking. They’ve let a Catholic onto a Christian Feminist blog and now she is going to start by writing about something as archaic as a royal marriage?! I know that we don’t really know each other yet, readers. But you will find, that my forte may not be in interpreting historical feminist texts, but that I am your girl for interpreting Scripture, rituals, and pop culture. Please bear with me.

If it means anything, I had no intention of watching the thing, to begin with. What you will also learn about me is that I am an early riser (I’m a teacher and I can’t turn off my internal clock, even on the weekends. I’m super fun at parties with my ten o’clock bedtime). I haphazardly ended up watching Will and Kate’s wedding a few years back for the same reason: it was on and I was up.

I was excited to see Meghan’s dress, I will own that. I was also excited to see all of the hats. (Oh, the hats!) I think a lot of us tuned in to see those things and then got something we weren’t expecting: even though the event took place in a church, we were all “taken to CHURCH.”

I was anticipating the ceremony to be a little different than what we have seen in the past. Harry has made waves and headlines in his day as a young royal, and it was, of course, historical that he was marrying a bi-racial American.

He was also marrying a grown ass woman. She is 36. She has been married before. There was a bunch of nonsense in the media if her father was going to attend the wedding or not, let alone walk her down the aisle. When I saw her step out of the car, I thought she did look happy and beautiful. But when I saw her walk down that aisle mostly by herself (until Prince Charles came to meet her halfway), I saw an independent woman.

And then there was the sermon. This is where I believe the Holy Spirit really began to move. Bishop Michael Curry and his “The Power of Love” sermon got as much media attention as the happy couple. It was really his sermon that prompted me to write this post. If you haven’t seen it or heard it, I encourage you to google it and watch a video or read the text of it. He quotes Martin Luther King and the Gospels and African American spirituals to name a few. But the reason I believe that it captured so much media attention is twofold: 1.) his convicting delivery and 2.) it was about love. Real love.

Love and joy are what we need right now. I saw so many tweets with pictures of the couple saying things like: “we needed this.” And it’s as simple as it is true. We need to celebrate love. And we shouldn’t need an archaic royal wedding to do it, but our world, as we have found, is suuuuuper slow moving as far as the reality of progress is concerned. The Holy Spirit can move through anything, any moment, any person if we let it, even something like the Royal Wedding that may seem more like a cultural moment than necessarily a spiritual one.

In Bishop Curry’s sermon, he talks about the power of fire, which I found appropriate with Pentecost on my brain this weekend. He mentioned that fire is a life source for us. We would die from cold or starvation without it. Our industry and economy exist because of it. And to tie this all back to the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit made itself present in tongues of fire to the apostles so that they would have the courage to live out their mission.

So many people were captivated by the Royal Wedding, but I don’t think it was just for the usual reasons. I think that we allowed the Holy Spirit to break through a little bit. The Spirit was present through Bishop Curry, through the awesome gospel choir, through the breaking of some traditional boundaries. The Holy Spirit cannot be contained. We try to box so many parts of ourselves and our world in, and for a couple of hours, we got to witness that it is okay to marry the old with the new- literally and figuratively.

I could say so much more, but hopefully, I’ve just started a little spark here and my counterparts can take over and continue to fan the flame. Oh, and if you were like me and still aren’t quite sold on the feminism in any of this, do yourself a favor and google Meghan Markle’s Nickelodeon News interview from when she was like 12. Her little feminist insight gives me a glimmer of what kind of Duchess she may be!

Thank you for starting this journey with us

Peace,

Julia

*Photo credit: Alexi Lubomirski/Duke and Duchess of Sussex/Getty Images

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Blog Updates

We’ll Be Back

Hello to all of you readers out there, we know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from us, and we’re sorry that we disappeared quietly.

It wasn’t intentional, we promise. It’s just as most of you know, life sometimes has a way of sneaking up on you, and not always in the kindest of ways.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes a break creeps up on you when you actually needed it? But sometimes that break also comes at a time where you really should have been pushing into your community even more? We had one of those times happen, except looking back on it, we probably needed our community and sisterhood more than ever. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of pushing away when you really need to be pressing in.

That’s why, when we decided that G&F was important to us, and doing important work, but we also realized that a few of us as contributors really need our community and sisterhood right now, before we’re able to pour out into all of you.

So, we’re doing two things: one, we’re looking for more contributors and an editor, and if that seems like something you’d be interested in, keep reading. Two, we’ve decided that since we’re introducing new sisters into the fold, we want to take the time to grow together as contributors and be accountable to each other. Real life is hard and messy, and in order for us to feel okay about sharing that with all of you in a very real way, we need to be more cohesive as a unit. We work on something called “consensus-based decision making”, so once we find who we believe God is calling us to work with on this collective, we want to grow as a unit and decide together when the Lord has called us to start writing again.

We’ll be back, we can promise you that. We haven’t abandoned you, and we’re excited for what 2018 brings. We can’t wait to walk through this life with all of you together again. In the meantime, we’re going to seek the Lord, and you’ll see us again when He has spoken to all of us (those of us you know, and those of us that are joining us).


For those of you interested in joining us as a contributor or an editor, here’s the information you need:

We’re a Christian Feminist Millennial blog, and we’ve decided going into the new year that we really want to build a sisterhood among the writers first before continuing to write.

Does this sisterhood appeal to you? Would you be willing to be your honest, whole self in blog posts in the year to come? We want to hear from you. We’re not pressed for time. Let’s all get comfortable with each other and decide as a consensus when to start again.

To be a contributor we ask that you identify as a millennial Christian feminist, but to edit we just ask you identify as a Christian feminist.

If you’re interested, please email graceandfeminism@gmail.com for more information. We operate on a consensus-based model, and we would love to hear from you.

 

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Let’s Talk About Compassion

It’s been quite a horrific few weeks, hasn’t it? Charlottesville, the Barcelona terrorist attacks, landslides in Sierra Leone (the death toll is nearing 500)…and that’s just a few events headlining the news. If we consider the last month, three months, year? The tragedies seem to come in all shapes and sizes and those of us who are untouched by them are left wondering how on earth we can help. So we think, we share blogs and status updates, we pray, and we go on about our day.

Our compassion, our desire to help, is…lacking in something. It feels…incomplete. We have compassion for these communities that are hurting…so what do we do with it?

I’m not suggesting that we all get on a plane, fly to Sierra Leone, and starting searching for the individuals still missing (though there are those who do that, and that is amazing). We need to reevaluate what it really means ‘to have compassion’.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Compassion”

Lamenting

Eight Months

I should have been gone for eight months now.

By gone, I don’t mean dead, I mean on the trip of a lifetime. I was going to be on the World Race, with this tiny little squad that had become family. We were going to be working as missionaries through 12 countries in 11 months, seeking God and letting him guide our steps.Training Camp had been a real doozy, but we were stronger, and I was committed to working on myself more so that I would be my best self when I went. The only thing was, I still had to raise $5,000 more to reach my pre-launch goal.

And then I did it. With 3 days before my money being due, I hit that $10,000 mark, and I’ve never felt my faith so strongly in the Lord. He delivered! Just like He said He would. I hit every deadline before it was due, this is what faith in Him looks like.

Until the very next day, when it was all taken from me. I got a phone call from one of my coaches that the leadership team had decided I would not be launching in January. They would not allow me to launch with another squad even, I was essentially, cut. I could, however, attempt to go at another time, but there was no guarantee that this wouldn’t happen again. Three weeks from when I was supposed to be leaving. I had nowhere to live, and my job at a startup was unable to afford employees any longer. I was homeless, and jobless, with everything all set for me to leave the country for a year.

The person who told me made me promise them that I would call them back the next day when I’d “calmed down”.

I didn’t keep that promise.

Continue reading “Eight Months”

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A Response to Charlottesville

I’m generally a nonviolent person. I’m a non-confrontational person. Avoiding conflict is my superpower. I’m really good at talking around issues that are scary or that make me uncomfortable. I’m also a desperate people-pleaser, so I almost never seek out conflict. I like to listen a lot and generally keep my opinions to myself. I know that I can’t ever fully understand all of the complexities of an issue and in an effort to be informed, to not say the wrong thing, I muse things out on my own.

But over the past year, I’ve started to see more and more how that’s not an option for me anymore. And when I see what’s happening in Charlottesville my heart breaks and my blood boils. I want to march and I want to weep for justice. I mourn the hate that seems to have consumed our nation and thirst for healing. I read the news and I see swastikas and I am forced out of complacency.

Continue reading “A Response to Charlottesville”

Lamenting

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Every Friday, Grace and Feminism publishes a series of posts under a monthly theme. The theme for August is ‘Lamenting.’

When was the last time you told God you hated him?

Anyone?

Mine was last week.

Thankfully, God is large enough and loves me unconditionally to withstand that awful sort of treatment.

Why the harsh words? I’m still wrestling through grief with Him. In one of my angrier moments, those words came out. In fact, it was one of several times over the last two years I’ve hashed it out with Him. It’s a process, and I’m still taking it one day at a time.

Continue reading “Why Have You Forsaken Me?”

Lamenting

Lamenting My Sexual Harassment

Every Friday, Grace and Feminism publishes a series of posts under a monthly theme. The theme for August is ‘Lamenting.’

The summer before my sophomore year of college a boy I liked started talking to me. He started talking to me a lot. I was obviously a fan. He started talking about wanting to kiss me, which in my 18-year-old mind, meant that he wanted to date me. Until one day, the day I got my wisdom teeth out, he called me and told me that he wasn’t really looking to date me, but he wanted to keep talking. My mouth was still sore and I couldn’t talk back, so he hung up.

But he kept saying that he wanted to kiss me. I was confused. I started thinking that maybe I could change his mind. I told him that I didn’t want to kiss him if we weren’t dating. He didn’t back down. Neither did I.

Continue reading “Lamenting My Sexual Harassment”

Blog Updates

Further Up and Further In!

We’re deviating from your regularly scheduled programming today to introduce some really exciting new things happening here at Grace and Feminism. When we all got together in mid-June to start planning, eagerly texting each other and building our community, we had no idea where this blog would end up.

We’ve been up and running for just over three weeks and we are astounded at the work God has done. The comments we have received on our blog posts and on social media are both heartbreaking and encouraging. While we hate knowing that our sisters have suffered from discrimination and oppression in many forms, we are encouraged to keep this project alive. We see that this work, the writings and explorations of imperfect Jesus feminists, is needed. As we start to think ahead to the long-term future of this blog, we know that this ministry is needed more than we ever could have thought.

Continue reading “Further Up and Further In!”

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Thoughts on Suffering

Life is hard.

That’s not news to any of us, is it?

Yesterday, I was speaking on the phone with my mom. I had been having a difficult day and she had been praying for me while she was driving to a friend’s home. She told me that God had made one thing clear in those moments:
“You’re going to have to fight through this. You’ll have to fight for the life you want to live.”
My eyes filled with tears, and I choked out, “I’m tired of fighting.”

I have Major Depression. It’s the cross I carry on my back every day. I’ve spent years praying, hoping that God would lift the depression from my being. I’m at war with my body and mind every day. Get up, I urge my limbs. Breathe, I remind my lungs. You’re going to be okay, I whisper to the mirror.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Suffering”

Freedom

Say His Name

Every Friday, Grace and Feminism publishes a series of posts under a monthly theme. The theme for July is ‘Freedom.’

Sybrina Fulton starts her book with a Bible verse:

For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” Luke 8:17 (ESV)

And all I can think about is how so many of us failed her.

The name Sybrina Fulton might not sound familiar to you, but I bet the name Trayvon Martin does. For those of you who are unfamiliar with his story, Trayvon was a seventeen-year-old boy who, while wearing a hoodie, walked to the local convenience store to grab some Arizona Iced Tea and Skittles. On his way back to his father’s townhouse, a man by the name of George Zimmerman decided he was a threat, pursued him, and eventually shot him, despite being told by 911 phone operators not to. Right before shooting him, he said, “These assholes always get away.” Last week was the anniversary of George Zimmerman’s acquittal, and he was able to walk free after murdering a child.

Sybrina Fulton? That’s Trayvon’s mother. And the one thing she clung to throughout this entire travesty was the Lord and her faith. You’d think because of this the Christian community would have rallied around her. Supported her pursuit of justice. Listened to our black brothers and sisters as they shouted “I am Trayvon!” in the streets. But so much of the mainstream Christian community did not. What did they do instead?

We used the freedom that the Lord gave us, the freedom from shame and fear that Jesus himself gives us every day, to bury our heads in the sand. To combat the phrase “Black Lives Matter” with “All Lives Matter” while actively supporting refugee bans from other countries. Put simply, white Christians abused the freedom they’ve been given to refuse to rock the status quo. Do you know who was all about rocking the status quo? Jesus. That savior, king of kings who gave us all this freedom.

Continue reading “Say His Name”