January 24, 2024
Email to my Reformed Theology Professor
I very much believe in God. Very much. Unfortunately, I no longer claim the title "Christian" because it's been coopted by white nationalists, which sickens me. So, I'm trying to come up with an alternative. I'm thinking "theist", but the average person isn't going to know what I mean by that... Suggestions appreciated!
Last semester, I took the class Monks, Martyrs, and Mystics and it was my favorite class. So fascinated by what you said about mystics in conjunction with reformed theology. I do not see the connection, frankly! Also, what you talked about, how we experience God, sounded in line with Richard Rohr's The Universal Christ. I'm gradually shifting to that notion that God is in us and all around us. Panentheism. But often still, when I'm talking to the Big Guy in the White Robes, I look up to the sky. I'm sure the Divine isn't offended.
I'm also experimenting with new names for God. I often go to the other extreme and use feminine pronouns, because I feel it's akin to overcorrecting the thousands and thousands of years She's been called He. (Kind of like Affirmative Action! HA!) Also, I loved what Julian of Norwich said about Mother Christ. This new way of experiencing God is incredibly fulfilling, and it is most certainly how She has come to me those handful of profoundly life-altering times I've experienced embodied spiritual communion with the Divine.
I would be happy to share some of my writing, but it's intense, covers topics related to unhealthy behaviors I've struggled with which manifested as a result of sexual and spiritual abuse. I write about topics that are very intimate and can be troubling for some readers. My life's goal is that my writing will help others who have suffered as I have, and who struggle with mental health issues as I do, to understand you can do things that go against your Truth and not self-condemn. I'm certain none of what I say is anything you haven't heard before, and being in the profession you're in, it's not likely you are easily shocked. Furthermore, my work is public. I've nothing to hide, but I wanted to give you a heads up because I want to be respectful. I'm probably not any more shocking than Nadia Bolz Weber, except I probably swear more - or at least just as much 🙂
Also, it's not as much the content of the course that will be triggering, although no doubt it will be. It may be my cohorts who trigger the most anxiety. There were some pretty conservative viewpoints expressed in class. However, I cannot draw conclusions about people from a single class. It takes time; we have to get to know one another in order to truly recognize our common humanity. At least that's been my experience.
My primary goal is to get to a place where I no longer couple the abuse I suffered at the hands of Calvinists with the theology itself. I hope to develop a more detached academic perspective. I think that will be very healthy for me. And I do believe this is the perfect opportunity for that.
Very much looking forward to the tremendous learning that lies ahead!