Why blog? As a storyteller and Ph.D. student in Practical Theology: Interreligious Education, writing is the most natural way for me to respond, resist and research. Writing is part of my daily life, and it is the best way for me to think through things. It is my hope the stories I share here will inspire hope and a sense of wonder.
Why true story? There are actually two reasons I named the blog true story.
First, when I began imagining this blog, I wanted to tell some of the stories of lesser known people in America’s religious history. So many Christian Americans are convinced that the USA is a Christian country and was founded on Christian principles — and that all other religions here are a result of immigration. This narrative is dangerous and quite simply, not true.
Second, a few years ago I took a course on Narrative Pedagogy with Dr. Frank Rogers. It was one of the most meaningful and transformative classes I’ve taken at Claremont School of Theology. As a part of the course, we were divided into small groups and given storytelling assignments to share individually and create collectively. One of these assignments prompted one of us to begin their story with, “True story…” I don’t really remember who said it first, but ultimately, we all began that assignment with “True story…” The memory of that assignment, that small group, and that class brought me joy and conviction that that was the best name for this blog.
Why now? Quite honestly, the current political climate has driven me to try blogging again. Years ago (January 2008), when I started my first blog, I was serving in youth ministry and wanted to share the spiritual practice of journaling during Lent with my church members. I blogged 30 times or so that first year, and 10-15 times the next four years, then zero times in the last 5 years. During those five years, I have moved from the Midwest to Southern California; earned a Master’s degree in Interreligious Studie; traveled overseas; married a Muslim; completed the course work, language exams and qualifying exams required for a Ph.D., and taught several sessions of World Religions to undergrads at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles.Yet, in the midst of all of this, I feel compelled to speak up and speak out against the rhetoric of fear that permeates this country. Madeline Albright once said, “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now…I’m not going to be silent.” Truthfully, I sometimes want to remain silent. I get so weary, and I just want to color or crochet or scrapbook or play games on my phone, but when I give into that, the feeling of escape is momentary. While I definitely believe that we need these kinds of breaks for our mental health, I know that one cannot live there. Too much break time only leads to more stress. So, for me, for interreligious education, and for contributing – even in the smallest way to making a difference, I’m blogging again.