Sanj, would you rather live the life of a feral cat or a stray dog?
I’m allergic to cats. I never really liked cats because they always didn’t like me, and also caused me allergies, but dogs always showed me affection. Stray dogs are still cute. Feral cats are terrifying. Stray dogs are either rabid or they’re not.
How did you find your way into Agape?
I just kind of dove in and committed. I think when I came to Loyola, I immediately started attending Agape and never really thought I should do anything different. I was transformed through Christ’s work, and I was a part of it from then on. Also, the worship at the first Ecclesia made an impact on me.
Do you remember the first person you met?
Yes. It was Jackson Tenclay. We had Arabic 101 together and then I came to Ecclesia and he was leading worship, and he led “Jesus Paid it All” which was my favorite hymn at the time and it was really beautiful, and then he made Nutella pound cake and the rest is history.
What draws you in to the community?
As someone who’s been raised in a lot of different denominations and cultures, worship in an interdenominational setting like Ecclesia has been something that’s comforting for me. I feel really at home because no one has the same church background. So I feel like Ecclesia is the space to seek God whole-heartedly where you are based on where you’ve grown up, what your past is. We call each other deeper by showing each other different ways to worship. I’m practically Catholic, charismatic, Pentecostal, who knows.
Why are you a Christian?
I think in the beginning, I was a Christian because I was raised Christian, and then as I started deconstructing the world around me, my thoughts and practices, I’ve realized that the Spirit of the living God has been what’s given me life every time I’ve felt alive.
What draws you to Jesus?
I think that my own emptiness and brokenness and my reality of knowing that I need living water, I need a savior to do anything, to be anything, keeps me coming back.
What breaks your heart?
I spent two hours at a bar this weekend talking about everything we hate about millennial culture. It breaks my heart when humans deny care or acknowledgement to other humans, whether it’s based on your own self-absorbed living in this self-serving, capitalist world, or if its because of race or religion or sexual orientation. When humans deny the humanity around them, I could be angry forever.
What gives you hope?
I have a lot of hope. I think people give me hope. I am somehow able, even in people who break my heart, I still see how good God made people and how much love they are capable of. Christ in the people around me and their ability to be living, loving, laughing flesh to the people around them- it gives me a lot of hope.
What did Jesus do on the cross that we couldn’t do for ourselves?
Jesus made us new every single moment and every single morning on the cross. He didn’t just make us new once; He is making us new. We couldn’t do that for ourselves.
How is He making you new?
He is healing me from things that should hurt me through my whole life and teaching me really exciting things. He’s giving forgiveness and mercy and grace where I naturally wouldn’t have it.
Is there a poet, prophet, preacher, teacher that everyone should listen to?
I love all of Andrew Murray’s writings. He wrote Abide in Christ, which was incredible; he wrote a piece called Humility, which changed my life.
Any final words of wisdom?
There is this saying that all of my great aunts and uncles say- please note that they are all from South India so they have an accent, but it goes like this: “kissing a man without a moustache is like eating an egg without pepper.”