Mothering as Discipleship

58373625_10109215327077547_3301167968863387648_nRe-shared from Bartimeaus Cooperative’s newsletter.

At Farm Church on Mother’s Day, Charletta Erb talked with Erin Hakim, mother of Gabriel (5 years) and Lucia (4 months),about mothering as discipleship, as part of our occasional “biography as theology” reflections.

Is motherhood a spiritual act for you?

Since Lucia’s birth my space has been physically grounded, happily reclusive, narrow, and defined by the predictable cycle of a baby’s needs. At times I find myself fighting it, or wanting my own space, but then I release (often with the help of nursing) and can relax into it as I remember this is such a short season. Then I just stare in wonder at my children. Mothering is a discipline, like training for a century or iron man, or like sitting in meditation for hours: painful and repetitive, yet so rewarding, with fleeting moments of nirvana or bliss. Continue reading

It Was Out of My Heart That I Spoke

MonicaA few summers ago in Detroit, a circle of high school students from a local church gathered with community organizer Monica Lewis-Patrick, executive director of the grassroots We The People of Detroit. The conversation flowed into what it looks like for faith to infuse political action when the odds are stacked against justice, freedom and equity. This is an excerpt.

All we have to do is start connecting the dots and telling the truth. When I started working in social justice, I was working in education, with children that were mentally impaired and extremely violent. What I found out really quickly was that the people at the table didn’t give a damn about the children. It was about the dollars. Because I cared about the children, I had to educate myself in terms of how I influence the policy—or the people who drive the policies—to help my people get the change they need. To help the children I served. That meant going to meetings where sometimes I would be the only one there speaking on behalf of the population that I thought was most vulnerable and most in need. Was I scared? Yes I was. Did I always get the language right? No I didn’t. Did I always have the data on hand that they had? No I didn’t. But it was out of my heart that I spoke. And then from there what would happen is that somebody would give me a card or somebody would say, “You know, I didn’t know that part” or “Can we talk?” And then I had to dig up from my spiritual history or family history and muster up enough energy to go meet with somebody that has a title—that seems to have power—and say to that person “We don’t like this.”

You Will Continue to Inspire

Ben, RachelBy Ben Wideman, community pastor of the 3rd Way Collective in State College, Pennsylvania

*This piece was originally posted on the 3rd Way Collective blog on May 6, 2019.

Dear Rachel Held Evans,

I’m writing with a long-overdue note of appreciation. Last week’s news of your passing shook me at a deeper level than I anticipated, and I wondered if putting words on paper would help me process some of what I felt.

I think my first memory of you was hearing about your second book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood. I’m guessing that my reaction to hearing about an effort to live according to a legalistic reading of scripture was typical of many short-sighted folks at the time… hadn’t AJ Jacobs already tried that and written a book about the experience a few years prior? Was yours just going to be the female version of that? Continue reading

Everyday Radical

IMG_1388By Rev. Joanna Harader (right)

*This is part of a series of pieces from contributors all over North America each answering the question, “How would you define radical discipleship?” We will be posting responses regularly on Mondays during 2019.

I was struck by Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie’s statement that, in thinking of “radical discipleship,” “there is only discipleship.” The adjective is unnecessary, because to follow Jesus is radical. Period.

I get the temptation to add “radical,” though. Because we want to differentiate actually following Jesus from what too often passes as being Christian in our society. We add “radical” to remind ourselves that discipleship is not about just believing the right theology or showing up in the right place every Sunday or voting for the right political party or hanging the right calligraphied Bible verse poster above our couch. Continue reading