“I’ve accepted that the whole of my life will be a pilgrimage toward the sound of the genuine in me. This may sound troubling to those who’ve been conditioned to believe that our journey is to God and God alone, but I say the two paths are one. My journey to the truth of God cannot be parsed from my journey to the truth of who I am. A fidelity to the true self is a fidelity to truth. I won’t apologize for this.” “To be human in an aching world is to know our dignity and become people who safeguard the dignity of everything around us.” -Cole Arthur Riley-
This Week on the Podcast: Torri Williams, our guest this week, is an activist and brilliant soul. Growing up in a small town which was prominently white and highly evangelical as a a black charismatic fundamentalist, she found herself constantly curious about her faith and how it played out, not only for herself as a black woman, but for others who were marginalized by the church and by society.
Torri deeply believes in the power of dignity, something she views as given to every human being, regardless of race, belief system, sexual orientation, age, social status, gender and so much more. She is a fellow deconstructing mama, married to a "white rapper," and has a blended family that includes one adult child, three teenagers, and twin six-year olds. This makes for beautiful mayhem and allows her to speak into all of us as she navigates all the complexities of motherhood, including the intersection of her evolving faith, her passion for the marginalized (especially women of color) and parenting in a multi-racial family. In this episode, we explore why "curiosity didn't kill the cat" and how offering dignity can change our lives and the lives of our children. Dignity is the match that ignites our flames so that our lights can shine brightly for ourselves and others to be guided by and enjoy. It's one of the more powerful conversations we've had as Torri challenges our notions of who is allowed to sit "at the table" and perhaps why some are not. Lizz and Esther were much more quiet this time around because they were much more interested in listening than talking, and that tells you enough right there. Torri's favorite author as of late is Cole Arthur Riley, the author of the above quotes, a young black woman and liturgist who has challenged and changed her. Listen to the episode to find out why... You can find Torri at the following: Instagram: @torri1999
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Lizz is the weekly featured author in
Deconstructing Hell, which is set to release late this year and takes dead aim at one of the most destructive doctrines of Church history: the doctrine of eternal suffering for the non-believer.
Lizz's chapter is titled, "A Gospel of Hope: A Gentle Parenting Approach to Deconstructing Hell."
Here is what John Sanders, an award-winning author American theology had to say in his endorsement of the book:
This book is on our next "must-read" list. After chatting with Torri about it on the podcast, it feels like a breath of fresh air in the world of deconstructing and reconstructing our faith.
“From the womb, we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive. I believe that is what my father wanted for me and knew I would so desperately need: a tool for survival, the truth of my dignity named like a mercy new each morning.”
So writes Cole Arthur Riley in her unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. In these deeply transporting pages, Arthur Riley reflects on the stories of her grandmother and father, and how they revealed to her an embodied, dignity-affirming spirituality, not only in what they believed but in the act of living itself.
Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, Arthur Riley boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.
At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative, This Here Flesh speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us. (book description on Amazon)
We also want to remind you that we are so glad you are here. We wouldn't be the same without you. You will always find GRACE for where you've been and who you are now, and SPACE for who you are becoming and will be.
Carry on, our new-found friends. Welcome to the twisty-windy, full -of-adventure faith path that's laid out before us all. Love,
Lizz & Esther P.S. SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER HERE!