Welcome to the Religion and Spirituality column for #CiteASista.
I am Joan Collier, #CiteASista co-founder and contributor for this series. My goal for this religion and spirituality space is to engage readers through sharing my own experiences with religion and spirituality, connect women to each other through shared experiences, and create dialogue that encourages and builds up the most sacred parts of who we are collectively and individually. It is my goal to make this a space for women of any religious belief, religious, spiritual tradition, or ideology.
A Little About Me
I am a doctoral candidate in the final stretch of writing my dissertation. My daily prayer is literally, “Grace, and more grace. Ase, Amen.” Spirituality and faith have been a part of my life since birth. I identify as a Christian who is unlearning oppressive aspects of the theology that has shaped my life and replacing it with womanist theological understandings. I’ve adopted a more critical approach to faith, and although I don’t have all the answers I’m looking for, my faith continues to be a source of strength, comfort, and courage and serves as a catalyst for justice related action in my life. I come from a long line of Black Christian women whose faith got them through and embolden them to be courageous in the face of systemic oppression and personal challenges. I’m aware of the ways that Christianity has been (and continues to be) weaponized against people with varying faith and thought traditions, races, genders, and sexualities. Because of those histories and contexts, I share my faith within the context of it being mine alone and not the way others, even within Christian traditions, experience faith, spirituality, and meaning making. May this space be one that offers connection, not marginalization to those who read it.
What I am Learning Through Observing Lent
I am currently observing Lent, the season within the Christian tradition in which practicing observers prepare for Resurrection Sunday through intentional acts of service and sacrifice. In this season, I’ve added in readings that will further my faith development and intentional faith practices. I’ve adopted grace as praxis, meaning that I am practicing being gracious more intentionally during this season. Grace as praxis for me means being more uplifting with my words, exercising generosity with my time when people need or could use support or my presence, and increasing patience with situations that have reconciliatory possibility. While still early on in this season, I have been affirmed in my commitment to building community with friends of shared faith for the purposes of increasing fellowship beyond structured worship.
Kishana Taylor, Healthcare and STEM contributor, and I are fasting together this Lenten season and I am refreshed and encouraged by that sense of community and solidarity I have found in our shared journey. As someone who does not participate in corporate worship on a consistent basis, but whose faith is still central to who I am, fellowship through shared devotion has taken shape as a defining aspect of this season. With diligence, this devotion to community will extend beyond this season and translate into other areas of my life. This season ends on the Thursday before Good Friday, but many observers end the season on that Sunday. Wishing all observers and those who are connected to those who observe an intentional, transformative, healing, and clarifying Lenten season.
I hope to connect with readers and to connect readers to one another. We all have our journeys to make and this road is not easy to go alone. Our beliefs can enrich one another’s lives and better equip us for our journeys. With that, I’d like to know what you all might find useful from this column (topics, concepts, etc.). Send us an email at email@example.com and I’ll do my best to incorporate your feedback into the monthly posts or monthly #CiteASista chats.
Until next month…