I grew up as the average church girl and nerdy kid who read books during summer vacation

I was always at church with my parents or my grandparents. Sunbeam choir, Sunday school, youth choir, Vacation Bible School, drama ministry, all of it. My family believed in helping others when you can, and I loved how my church helped the wider community.

And I had questions

I was taught to question and explore what interested me. That was often literature or history in school, but that was also religion. Where in the Bible does it say that? Is that the only way to believe? What if there’s another way?

I was 19 years old when I was called into ordained ministry

I became a minister, finished my studies at Harvard, and I went to graduate school to learn more. I learned that there were many ways to think about God, justice and what we do with our religious lives.

Then I saw some of the hardest parts of life

I became a survivor of sexual violence. I worked as an advocate for women who experienced domestic violence. I helped people living in trailer parks to fight for themselves. Every day I interacted with poverty and extreme personal suffering. I saw how hard it is when faith makes people feel afraid or less than. Why? Where is God?

And even though I was a minister, I stopped talking with God

I went back to school with more questions

I got a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Religion and Theology. I learned a lot of good ideas about how culture influences beliefs, and I found a faith that wouldn’t ask me to check my brain at the door, or deny what I experienced and saw. I discovered ways to talk about how change happens, where God is in that and how we can all make the world a better place.

For nearly 15 years I taught graduate students about faith and social justice

I taught religious leaders, community justice leaders and religious scholars about different ways to think about what we believe. I’ve written books and articles about faith and liberation, and about mental health and faith. I speak around the world about a more liberating faith.

And now I want to share this liberating faith I’ve found

I spent years of education, teaching, speaking and serving as Co-Director at The Center for Process Studies, the world’s premier research center in my field. Now, I’m taking these ideas beyond the walls of higher education. We all have ideas about God, and we can all learn more about a faith that makes us and our communities more free.