Holding On Too Tightly by Sara Frykenberg

Raised in an evangelical, Protestant Christian tradition, I was repeatedly told that “God is love.” God is love. While much of my Christian experience was difficult and even abusive, I have always interpreted this teaching—while sometimes confusing to me, and other times, fueling my spiritual inquiry—as a positive thing. When learning to shed the abusive contexts in my life, I did so encouraged by those who knew that love and god/dess shouldn’t be abusive. When challenging and responding to abusive paradigms within Christianity through my dissertation writing process, I reflected on how leaving an abusive cycle can feel like a hiccup from love, a frozen breathlessness and confusion on how to access love in new ways; but I also had to conclude that love hadn’t really been absent, even if hard to find.

God/dess is love—even when the dominating power celebrated within a particular religion, family or society distorts access to god/dess-loving. Yet, this issue with access, the trained approach to receiving love that is taught in an abusive context, is a habit that I have had to continually and consciously shed. I catch myself falling into patterns of get-love-through-control or get-love-through-performance behaviors. I try to be someone or something to ensure my access to what I perceive as love, sometimes finding it hard to accept that I am loveable without performance, role-playing or being someone that somebody else wants me to be. The more I experience mutual loving—or as Carter Heyward puts it, “godding” –the less I fall into this trap of performance; and the more I realize that my “performing” who I think others want me to be actually hinders my most loving relationships. However, while living outside of the abusive context has become easier in my life, sometimes I panic. Sometimes I hold on too tightly, afraid of the reality of loving without (the illusion of) control. Continue reading “Holding On Too Tightly by Sara Frykenberg”

Violent and Non-Violent Protest by Sara Frykenberg

Sara FrykenbergFor those of you who have read my blogs before, you may have gathered that my approach to justice-making is not entirely non-violent. Researching and writing about the movement away from abusive community paradigms in my dissertation, I argue that we need to care for the kind of refractory violence or counter-violence that arises in our movements away from abuse.

The idea here is not that violence should be a goal, or even that violence is “good”—but rather, that we are in (close) relationship to violence of all kinds. All violence, as I define the term, is destructive in some way; but as many religions of the world remind us, destruction, like creation, is an important part of life. Not all violence is “bad.”

Continue reading “Violent and Non-Violent Protest by Sara Frykenberg”

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