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  • Writer's pictureKevin Shorner-Johnson

Conversation on World Church Girl

I had the recent privilege of being interviewed by Lillian Harshaw of Worldly Church Girl. For me jumping to other side of the podcast microphone was risk and vulnerability - I love being scripted and crafting thoughtful text. What would I say if I had to talk out loud?

Lillian Harshaw and Worldly Church Girl
Lillian Harshaw and Worldly Church Girl

The experience was a wonderful one, as Lillian Harshaw drew upon her gifts of bringing joy into the conversation as we moved into deep discussions of meaning and faith. I speak of my love of the Anabaptist tradition and particularly my love of doing peace through the gifts of presence, lived theology, and intentional community. For me, an Anabaptist heritage adds a deep sense of richness to the work of peacebuilding.

Lillian Harshaw and I also had a meaningful conversation about the people who changed us and the impact that our recent Puerto Rican outreach project has made upon me. I am increasingly leaning into a Quaker notion or even a Fred Rogers notion of inner light that is within each and every one of us. My pen-pal relationship with Aswad Pops, an inmate on San Quentin's death row and taught me so much about the inner light that is within each of us. His beliefs about energy and the persistence of deep and rigorous love and loyalty has forever changed me. Aswad, as I grieve your loss and your spirit moves into the beyond, I celebrate the ways in which you brought this love into the world. In the risk of our relationships, we opened ourselves to the grace, presence, and life-giving spirit of love.

In so many of our public conversations about faith and religion, I worry that there is a sense of certainty, or I've got it right and you don't. Lillian and I moved into a dialogue about the centrality of humility and curiosity in Faith dialogue. I am fascinated by how each person brings meaning to the cultivation of moral and ethical action. I find so much beauty in humanist, agnostic, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Sikh, animist, Confucian, and many other traditions that deepen my thinking and experience of the moral and ethical. I hope we may find the humility to approach one another as sacred, building fascinating encounters of love and curiosity.

Kevin Shorner-Johnson
Kevin Shorner-Johnson with Worldly Church Girl

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