Back in December a shortened version of my story “Baptism” was published in a literary journal called RELIEF: A Quarterly Christian Expression. The Christian Right has rubbed me so far the wrong way (I mean, really far) that I had felt real misgivings about submitting the story to this journal. On the other hand, they seemed relatively open-minded (“Christian writing unbound” is their slogan), and I felt my story about a Mormon boy and his adopted Navajo brother had some truth to speak to such an audience, so I sent it anyway.
It felt good to see the story in print (besides in my book), and the editor subsequently invited me to write a guest post for their blog. Again I felt reticent at first (my ego: I don’t want people thinking I’m Christian!), but I enjoyed recapping how my journey toward publication of my book coincided with my entry into nonduality philosophy. And now I see how the blog’s title, A Writer Wrestling with Unity, has another meaning as well: I’m confronting my own resistance to inclusivity, to embracing the “other,” even as I learn the truth of our oneness.
The guest blog appeared in February. I hope you’ll read it:
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Hi, Brent, Thanks for sharing some details of your own background. Yes, your experience with Christianity was different from mine. I was very fortunate to have a mother who chose a Baptist church that, at the time, had a pastor who appreciated the language, story, and metaphor of the Bible. That always stuck with me as a boy. Last year at Omega, I met a woman who grew up in India as a Hindu. The scars she suffered apparently at the behest of her Hindu father had made her hardened not only toward Hinduism but toward Indian culture in general for what she considered its “perpetuation and silent support of men’s violence toward women.” She, ironically, has her own work to do with “inclusion.”
Try Dillard’s “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.” Her first (and winner of the Pulitzer). Sev’l years ago she received a $300,000 award by a Christian organization.