Mission: to Amplify Compassion by amplifying marginalized voices in our community, including those marginalized by their race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation, or any others searching for equity. We will help challenge our congregation to amplify justice, mercy, and humility to create a more compassionate church.
Reflection – Taylor Pryde Barefoot
I grabbed an easy poolside read from our bookshelf about veganism and running. Cade and I have been “vegan” for the last two years and I have been runner for half of my life, so I felt like it was a pretty representative read for my life. When you read a book in front of all your neighbors, the book you read ends up communicating to a stranger who you are.
As I read this book that seemingly represented me perfectly, I was realizing all the ways it was an incomplete picture of who I am. I found myself criticizing the author for not talking about the way in which veganism is a movement led by Black and Brown voices, yet co-opted by Whiteness. I found myself frustrated that he did not address that some plant-based choices do damage to people instead of animals because of the ways they decimate economies and the soil. When he started talking about running, I was disappointed in his fat-phobic language.
I so desperately wanted a book that represented all of me. I wanted a book that could talk about veganism in a way that was anti-racist and also talked about bodies in a way that felt Godly. I sat in this frustration and was reminded of the importance of intersectionality. Intersectionality is the reality that all suffering is related. We cannot only be feminists, or anti-racists, or pro LGBTQ, or environmental justice warriors. We can and need to be all of those things all at once- which is really hard to do.
My discomfort with my book was a reminder of how hard intersectionality can feel. We so desperately want to belong, that we have arrived. Intersectionality is always pushing us beyond that desire to arrive at or simplify a topic. This push can feel overwhelming, as I sat with the discomfort of the title of the book, I thought about what book would represent me and realized it was impossible. My heart breaks for a lot of issues, and I’m always realizing the complexity of overlap in social justice movements. Intersectionality at times feels overwhelming to me, but I know it’s what God calls us to.
I’ve started reframing my understanding of intersectionality as “where God’s heart breaks.” I know that God’s heart breaks when we hurt creation, but also at the suffering of humankind. We must resist our temptation to arrive at any one label, but instead lean into a life of allowing our hearts to break where God’s breaks. It’s not easy work, but it’s the work God calls us to.
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