What is the worst tasting thing you’ve ever eaten?
When I was in Thailand for three weeks, I lived in a refugee camp. Thai food is amazing, but this was not Thai food. It was (food from) this people group from Burma, or Myanmar, and they didn’t have a lot of resources. One day, I seriously saw them pull up what I would call grass from outside of our hut, and then boil it with rice, and it was stuff like that every day. Just, anything that has to do with weird meat, too, like when I was in Ethiopia, I had to eat so much random beef and I was just like “I’m going to die here.”
Okay, how did you end up in Agape?
When I was a freshman, I was in the trolley line- that’s like this cool thing they do for the freshmen: you can go on this trolley ride and they tell you all about historical Chicago. So I was in this trolley line, and I was just back from YWAM (Youth with a Mission) so I was all “I’m gonna talk to everyone about Jesus!!” So I’m talking to this Jewish girl in line about Jesus, and about Christianity in general and then she was like “I think Jesus was like a cool guy; I thought what he did was cool.” And I was like “yeah, I mean, he’s the coolest guy I know! And God!” and then this person turns around and she’s like “are you talking about Jesus?!” and I thought she was gonna yell at me. But this girl turned out to be Blythe’s freshman roommate, Rachel, and she was like “are you a Christian?!” and I said “yeah! Are you?” and she said “yeah, me and my roommate,” and then Blythe turns around and that’s how I met Blythe and we ended up talking the whole night, and we were both looking for Christian community and Rachel was dating someone who went to Agape before, and then I went to Agape with them.
What draws you into the community?
I was just talking to Mike about how we are both a number four on the Enneagram, which is the individualist. So, to my core I am an individualist, and I like to do my own thing. But the more I study about Jesus and Christianity, the more I’m convinced that you can’t be an individualist and be a Christian. You can’t do everything on your own, and as much frustration as I’ve had with Christianity through people in my life, I’ve also seen God through the people in this community more than I’ve seen God in any other way in my life. I’ve just consistently experienced something so real and deep and true that is nowhere else in my life, so it makes me come back and unable to deny God’s existence. There is a depth to the friendships that I’ve had in this community that I’ve found nowhere else. I don’t think I’d be a Christian if not for this community.
Why are you a Christian?
Some days, I’m like “I don’t know! Why the hell am I a Christian? This is horrible and I didn’t sign up for this crap!” In the end, though, I think I’m a Christian, because in some senses the story of Jesus makes sense to me. It explains some of the questions that I have; the big questions, they make sense to me in light of Jesus. I also think I’m a Christian because I really value the sacredness of each individual. I really love how different every single person is, and I want to see them thriving in the person that they were created to be, and I believe the gospel offers that to people. It gives people the chance to be exactly who they were created to be.
What draws you to Jesus?
This I know for sure. I’m gonna try to not cry. What I love about Jesus is that he never forgets the people we always forget. He goes after that person that is forgotten, and I see that in the Gospels with him healing blind men and touching lepers and giving women a position that they never had before, but I also see that Jesus cares about the millions of people that we’ve incarcerated, who we don’t think about. But Jesus knows them and cares about them intimately and individually. I think what draws me to Jesus is that he comes to me and comes to every person and I love that about him- which he cares about the people I couldn’t care less about.
What breaks your heart?
My original answer was apathy, but I think that pisses me off more than it breaks my heart. I think what breaks my heart is powerlessness- my own, as well as other people’s to change things that are deeply wrong. It would be easy to say “poverty” or “sexism” and those things do bother me, but I think when I get down to it, what really bothers me is that I can’t do anything to change that. It breaks my heart when people don’t see who God created them to be, and don’t value that person- whether that’s because of their sexual orientation or skin color or general insecurities. It breaks my heart when people aren’t seen by themselves or by others as who God created them to be, and when that person is disrespected. I hate that, because I’m certain that God designed each person perfectly and intimately, and I want to see all of those people thriving.
Recommend a book. What’s one that’s been a watershed book for you?
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou- it’s like her autobiography and it’s beautiful and important and amazing. There Are No Children Here by Alex Kotlowitz- it’s an ethnographic study in the form of a novel about two boys who grew up in housing projects in Chicago. And then The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne- that book annihilated my life my sophomore year and I was just like “I have got to get my crap together.” But I just think Shane Claiborne, he gets it. He’s like Mike Moore, it’s just like “you get it. I don’t know what it is, but you get it.” Those have all been huge to me. Also, Year of Biblical Womanhood and Jesus Feminist- those have all been books that have drastically changed the way I view the world and my role in it.
Any final words?
I think what I’ve been realizing lately is that there is no love in the world like experiencing people who love you when you are the worst version of yourself. I think that it is possible to find that in this community, and holy crap, if we don’t take advantage of that, we are fools.