the Empathy List #70: Intersectionality & the Lie of Christian Unity
What the Evangelical Church Never Taught Me, Part 8
Hey friend, Liz here.
You didn’t hear from me last week because I was updating the look of this newsletter—new logo, new headshot, etc.—and I only have so many free minutes in a week. (And I’m not a designer, so I’m hella slow!) If you have a minute, would you REPLY and tell me what you think?
In other news… I’m thinking about the lie of Christian unity this week.
By which I mean, the idea that Christ is most honored when we share a hive mind, all of us worker bees on the same mission: to defend Christ to the ends of the earth, cutting down any dissenters as we go. (Sigh.)
As you can tell, I feel great disillusionment when I consider the way that Christians have habitually flattened culture, personality, and bodies in pursuit of such a vision. This uniformity, in fact, does not remotely resemble what’s described in the Bible when it comes to our utopic ending.
Because “Christian unity” can often be evangelicalism’s code for white, male, cis, and middle class. (Surprise!)
Are you female? Indigenous? Transgendered? Homeless? Then your job is to conform to the median believer, who always happens to look and act one way.
What is truer to the Scriptures is actually more in line with the idea of intersectionality, the blend of culture and bodies that celebrates diverse peoples and perspectives, all of us arguing and rubbing against each other in our pursuit of Jesus.
Frankly, that’s a contagious vision, one that attracted not only Jewish men of a certain standing, but sex workers, lepers, gentile widows and Roman soldiers, slaves and slave owners alike. It’s a vision that continues to fill churches in the most unexpected places, across our spinning globe, a vision that can shift based on cultures and epochs, that can encompass much more than we’re used to being as the American church.
The reason I follow Christ isn’t because I belong, but because I don’t belong.
I am not that image of Christendom, though I once tried to be. And instead of that disqualifying me, that makes me a voice worth listening to.
The same is true of you. What makes you distinct and surprising to your friends and neighbors? That is where Christ dwells, my friend. You do not only deserve a
”seat at the table”; you are called to make up a new table with empty seats, ready to be filled by others unlike you.
This is where the gospel is enacted—in our differences, not in our sameness. May you live into your distinctions this week.
Thanks for reading. Warmly, Liz Charlotte Grant
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Greetings, fellow billionaires, this is your captain speaking, and this tax break’s on me. (You’re welcome, poor people.)