What is the Point of Into Resurrection?
Recently, someone asked me what the point of my blog is, a question that made me pause for a bit and take stock. I started writing here after I left academia as a way to both pursue an interest and explore possible paths forward beyond the academic world. I didn’t have a clear goal or mission, and I’m not huge on building a personal brand, so if you look back at my first year of posts they’re pretty scattered: I write about feminism, faith, the middle ages, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, individualism … you get the picture.
As I’ve begun discerning a call to ordination over the last two years, and also began to really deal with my depression and anxiety, I’ve written less — and part of that has to do with time and emotional energy, but part of it also connects to the questions: what is the point of this blog? Is it just a creative outlet? A 5-years-too-late attempt to build a platform? A spot for my musings on theology?
I also just finished Kate Bowler’s wonderful, if infuriating, book The Preacher’s Wife. One of her points is that women in evangelical and charismatic churches tend to gain influence through their market-savvy: they know how to build a brand. Currently, that tends to mean emphasizing how ordinary they are, how relatable, then building influence and authority on the foundation of (curated) self-disclosure and (apparent) vulnerability.
Bowler also points out that women with more academic credentials tend to be wary of this marketplace approach, preferring to root their authority in their degrees. But this is neither appealing in the marketplace (with a few exceptions) nor a certain path to institutional authority, as it often is for men.
(I find it interesting to note that Kate Bowler herself combines these approaches: she’s a professor at Duke, giving her impressive academic credentials … but also a cancer survivor whose memoir, Everything Happens, leads us through her faith journey when she was unexpectedly diagnosed very young with stage 4 cancer.)
The Preacher’s Wife has helped me realize part of my uneasy relationship with blogging: for me as a Christian woman, the medium itself seems to demand an openness and vulnerability, the construction of a persona, a personal brand, that attracts readers. No one has told me this explicitly — but I have definitely internalized this path.
And yet, as someone with an academic background, I would prefer my authority to be rooted in my expertise, not my constructed persona. The problem? This seems less likely, to me, to attract readers. Also, my academic authority is in literature, not theology — but I mainly want to write about theology. So where is my authority? In my credentials? In my experiences?
(I am reminded of Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, who asserts the validity of her female experience against the primacy of male authority. As is typical of Chaucer, this debate has no resolution.)
Reeling all of these ideas back in, I choose the name “Into Resurrection” for my blog because I wanted to explore here what it looks like to live into our life as resurrection people, as people living in the already-but-not-yet Kingdom of God. But I don’t want this to be simply my own self-reflective musings; I’m a teacher at heart, so I want to write things that engage and provoke and that push people to think and learn.
So, what is that purpose of this blog? I raise questions and offer thoughts that are meant to help Christians — myself included — think and live as the people of God, shaped by the Holy Spirit into the image of Jesus Christ.
But this is incredibly broad. I’m particularly interested in thinking about how we, as Christians, relate to power. How do we understand the power structures of racism and sexism? How do we live faithfully within a capitalist society implicated in suffering and oppression? How do we understand our own personal power — in our homes, workplaces, communities — and steward it wisely?
I can’t promise answers to any of these questions. But I can invite you to walk alongside me as we learn to live out the truth of our faith. None of us take this journey alone, so I hope that my voice can be one of the many that call us as Christians to embody the love, hope, peace, joy, justice, and mercy of our God.