Saturday, May 4, 2019

Our Voices Must Continue On

Today is a sad day. In fact, I was surprised by how sad.

I'm just a typical woman in Indiana. I am not famous or well known. I've never published a book. I don't have huge followings on social media.

But somehow, years ago, I found Rachel Held Evans. I don't recall exactly how I came to follow her on Twitter. I believe it was through Michael Gungor and The Liturgists. But she was a voice that spoke of the God I loved in a way that I hadn't heard before. She spoke the words of my heart - saying things that were often contradicting traditional Christian teaching and preaching.

She died today.

And the online world has imploded in grief. And I imagine that the real life world of her husband, children, family, friends, and communities are awash in grief. Her death was very unexpected and leaves a profound hole in their world.

And in the online world, too.

I have been reading tweets and articles and posts all day since the news broke. This woman touched so many lives. This woman changed so many lives. This woman loved fiercely, advocated with courage, and spoke of a God of love and a Jesus of justice. She spoke words of true love and grace and inclusion. She bridged divides. She admitted when she made mistakes and then sought to do better. 

People are afraid of what might change without her voice.

I think it's up to us.

I haven't been using this writing space much lately. I have a long list of reasons. Writer's block. Lack of time. Not feeling the same holy connection I used to feel to writing.

I need to use my voice. My message could matter to someone else. I could change a life. If Rachel Held Evans can't be here to continue using her voice, I guess I just feel like I don't really have a good excuse.

I fight for equity and equality and inclusion. I believe in the beauty and wonder of all humans. I also see the darkness of humanity that creates racism, homophobia, transphobia, islamophobia, xenophobia and more.

I believe in love and grace and mercy and forgiveness. I believe in nature and science and mystery. I believe in God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I believe that God is LOVE. Indescribable, undefinable, beyond recognition LOVE. I believe Jesus showed up to disrupt the systems that were getting in the way of love. And I believe that the Spirit moves through us and nature and mystery.

I believe in the value and worth of all people. I believe that being gay isn't a sin. I believe that being transgender isn't a mental illness. I believe that black lives matter. I believe in caring for the poor. I believe in opening arms to immigrants. I believe that religions are supposed to be as diverse as the people who believe in them. I believe in disrupting the systems that perpetuate racism and poverty and injustice. I believe in doing what I can to take better care of the earth. I believe in the equality of women, the abilities of the differently abled, the need to dismantle white privilege.

And all of those beliefs are based on my faith in God. It all goes hand in hand.

Rachel's voice will live on in her written words. Rachel's impact on the world will continue to be felt through the lives she changed.

And the rest of us must continue the work. We must amplify our voices. Even if we only have a whisper in the universe - it's a whisper that is needed and necessary. It will take all of us. And if we all come together and we all share our whispers, we will become a shout that cannot be ignored.

Until next time,

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