the Empathy List #54: Need Machines

Needing God more than ever.

Hey friend, Liz here.

I’ve been on a spiritual journey for some time now.

I was brought up conservative, nondenominational, and firmly evangelical in a (practically) all white suburban East Coast city. My parents brought us to our big box church every Sunday where they volunteered. I attended youth group lock-ins and the sort of teen bible studies that asked you to fill in the blanks every few sentences. I also spent several summers in Mexico building concrete block houses as part of a “short term mission” team.

(No, obviously, I had no experience either building houses or working with concrete. What an irrelevant question to ask!! We had something more important than experience: a white savior complex……….!)

Before eighth grade, I had spent the majority of my allowance money on NOW mix CDs from Sam Goodie or glittery make-up from Claire’s, in order to catch the eye of a popular boy at my private Christian school, in case he might want to date me. (It didn’t matter that I wasn’t allowed to date anyone, probably ever. A girl could dream.)

After a stint at a Christian summer camp where I really, truly, felt the presence of God (that’s a story for another time), I came home eager to do the dishes and ready to snip my secular CDs in half—Contemporary Christian Music all the way!!! i was suddenly disinterested in dating anyone but Jesus. I was all in.

But, as it does, the shit hit the fan. Actually, piles of it hit a row of fans.

It was depression, anxiety, and the clarity that came from a kind therapist, pressing her questions to me as tenderly as she could while I wept across from her in a wingback armchair.

I experienced emotional abuse growing up. I experienced spiritual abuse after that. And then every scandal of every male leader I trusted. And then a disabling illness which lost me half my vision.

Which is to say, God opened a window. Over many years, through much suffering, and through the patience of many therapists, I have realized faith does not look ONE WAY. Christians are not primarily white, American, rich, or Evangelical. Jesus makes room for such a huge variety of believers that the church actually does not have enough chairs to seat us all.

That gives me great hope for the future, friend. I am still a full-throated believer. But, I hope, my heart has broadened. I, like you, continue to seek a new way to meet with God—I imagine it will continue to look different tomorrow than it does today. Regardless, I’m here for the ride.

During Lent, I find it helpful to rehash this story of God’s work in my life. It gives me perspective on what he’s doing today and tomorrow to examine what God’s done in the past.

REPLY TO THIS EMAIL: Where has your spiritual journey led you? How are you a different believer today than you were last year, or five years before that?

Thanks for reading, my friend. Warmly, Liz Charlotte Grant

P.S. You can follow me elsewhere on my website, on Facebook and on InstagramAnd, if you don’t mind, would you forward this email to a friend? It would mean a lot!



#1

The religion of Millennial “nones” looks a lot like confessing to influencers who may or may not comment back.

“[Millennials’] new belief system is a blend of left-wing political orthodoxy, intersectional feminism, self-optimization, therapy, wellness, astrology and Dolly Parton.

And we’ve found a different kind of clergy: personal growth influencers. Women like [Glennon] Doyle, who offer nones like us permission, validation and community on demand at a time when it’s nearly impossible to share communion in person. We don’t even have to put down our phones.”

The New York Times | Read more…


#2

As the jurors are chosen this week for the trial of the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, it might be helpful to go back to the beginning. What’s this movement all about? And who’s leading it?

One journalist follows three organizers of a chapter of the Black Lives Matter protest movement and watches the direction of their lives shift in tandem.

(Warning: there are many f-words! But I couldn’t stop listening to it!)

This American Life | Listen…


#3

High BMI = Vaccine Eligibility

Is this weird? Those who qualify as obese don’t know what to make of their newfound vaccine status.

The Washington Post | Read more…


#4

Out of date ideas and sick of rerunning “the Office”? Bring home the theater and stream a play with your BFF or your beau on your living room couch for FREE.

What’s on Stage | Watch now…


#5

The former royals, Harry and Meghan, went on record with Oprah this past Monday, admitting to crippling mental illness and feeling trapped in the royal role.

And dang, Meghan Markle dropped some bomb shells!

CBS | Watch it here…


Just for fun…

YIKES. This burger king tweet, supposedly celebrating International Women’s Day...

“Have a nice forever vacation,” said BK corporate to their former social media manager!

BuzzFeed Read more…


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