A passion for helping people find peace within themselves and make peace throughout the world guides me in my vocation as Editor in Chief of the Raven ReView.
My quest for internal and external peace has been a lifelong journey of questions and struggles. As a child, I attended church regularly and loved it like a second home, but also questioned the nature and existence of God early on. At the heart of my questions were confusion regarding the Trinity and revulsion at the violence in scripture, especially the crucifixion. Growing up, I was torn between my love for my church and a desire to believe wholeheartedly in an infinitely merciful God and fear of the violent, wrathful god depicted in scripture and culture who might punish me and my loved ones for our doubt.
My search for answers, as well as the friends I made along the way, carved the long and winding road that eventually led me to Raven. That road led me to explore Islam in my teens and young adulthood, as a dear Muslim friend showed me the beauty and wisdom of the Islamic faith. I found within Islam stories and values that aligned with the teachings of my church, without the violence of the crucifixion or confusion of the Trinity. But even after I converted at 16, my doubts continued.
My college years played a pivotal role in my faith journey. I was blessed to befriend my college chaplain, who had a unique perspective as a Christian who had grown up with Muslim friends in the Middle East. I attended my college church attempting to fit Christian sermons into my new Islamic frame. With some distance from Christianity, I could explore the questions that I carried with me from my past with less fear. Unexpectedly, I began to better understand the crucifixion as human, rather than divine, violence. I even found meaning in the Trinity, coming to understand God as Loving Relationship rather than Isolated Being. Eventually, I reaffirmed her Christian faith. But my love for Islam and the Muslim friends I made continue to shape me.
“… coming to understand God as Loving Relationship rather than Isolated Being.”
Longing to foster dialogue and understanding between Christianity and Islam and build bridges of peace in a post 9/11 world, I went to Hartford Seminary and earned an MA in Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations. It was in seminary that I first learned about René Girard and, through mimetic theory, found answers to questions about why people are so prone to violence and violent understandings of God. Some years later, while serving as a lay leader in my local church, I found my way to the 6th annual Theology and Peace conference. There I met a community of people dedicated to applying their Christian faith – shaped by a Girardian hermeneutic – to the task of peacemaking across divisions of religion, race, and ideology. It was through this conference that I first became aware of the Raven Foundation and made friends with theologians, pastors, and community leaders whose understanding of mimetic theory guides their lives and vocations. I knew then that spreading understanding of mimetic theory was an integral part of my calling as an aspiring peacemaker.
Upon moving to the suburbs surrounding Chicago in 2014, I immediately contacted the Raven Foundation. I admired Raven’s mission to spread understanding of mimetic theory beyond academia by applying it to the issues that shape our lives and world and hoped to garner an audience of my own through an occasional guest column. Little did I know that the Raven Foundation had been looking to expand. I was soon offered the job of Editor in Chief, and I gratefully accepted.
Take A Breath with Us
Our weekly newsletter creates a space to take a breath. Once we slow down, we can see the way desire, imitation, and conflict operate in our lives and in the world, and begin to create peace.
Over the years, my faith in the nonviolent, universal love of God has continued to grow. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and two amazing daughters, and my understanding of Mimetic Theory has grown as I’ve seen it reflected in my marital and maternal relationships. I am privileged to write about the questions and issues that stir my soul, including faith, social justice, and peacemaking at all stages from interpersonal to international. I also enjoy finding mimetic insights in all kinds of literature, am a huge fan of Disney and Harry Potter, and hope one day to write an epic children’s fantasy that inspires a new generation of peacemakers. Ever a seeker, I’ve found that answers always lead to new and deeper questions. Slowly, I am learning to discern when to pursue them and when to rest secure in the eternal embrace of God’s Love.