Katherine Willis Pershey’s “Open Letter to My Evangelical Friends”

I am still pondering article proposals and book ideas and the wealth of wisdom and advice I gained from a mere 30 minutes with Stanley Hauerwas last week. (Short summary: We are both passionate about the different stories people and our culture tell about life with genetic conditions and disabilities. We both spend lots of time in the difficult, tense space between the stories of disability as illness to be fixed and the stories of disability as identity to be embraced. He gave me lots of names of people to whom I need to send my book. And he’s not convinced I need to further my theological education, although I’m still thinking of doing so….more on that another time.)

So I’m not sure when I’ll be back with original blog material. But given how I’ve written here about the tension in my Christian journey and how I have, at different times and sometimes all at once, identified with both evangelical and mainline Christianity/Episcopalianism, I found a recent post by my friend (and #ItIsEnough cofounder) Katherine Willis Pershey to be especially poignant. Like Katherine, I spent time in an evangelical community but was uncomfortable both with my community’s stance on issues such as homosexuality and women in the church, and with the idea that those who are not “saved” or don’t “know the Lord” in a very specific way are going to hell. And like Katherine, I am nurtured by and grateful for relationships with evangelical friends who are my companions on the journey of faith.

Go check out Katherine’s “Open Letter to My Evangelical Friends.”



A Christian Response to Brittany Maynard’s Decision to Die
How Robin Williams’s Suicide is Changing How I Love My Kids
On Episcopalian Rules (or, Why Episcopalians Rule)
I Have Three Things to Say About “The Dress”
About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • http://prinsenhouse.blogspot.ca/ Jeannie

    Hi – I just wanted to mention (on the slight chance you’re not familiar with it) the book “The Power of the Powerless” by Christopher deVinck as a possible useful source for the kind of exploration you refer to above re disability. The author’s brother was born profoundly handicapped as a result of his mother inhaling gas from a furnace leak when she was pregnant; he lived for 32 years unable to see, talk, hear, or move. DeVinck writes about the impact this event — this person — had on him and his family. The book also includes letters from people who read deVinck’s story (originally in Reader’s Digest, I believe) and wanted to share their own stories of family members with disabilities. I bought this book 15+ years ago — long before I had 2 special needs children of my own — and I actually read aloud a section from it this past weekend at a worship gathering focusing on gifts and giftedness. So I thought I would mention it since it relates directly to what you’re talking about in the above post, and since it is such a meaningful and beautiful book.

    • http://www.ellenpainterdollar.com Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks Jeannie. Have you read/heard of “The Boy In the Moon”? It came out a couple of years ago and is a memoir written by a father of a boy with profound disabilities, unable to communicate, etc. I imagine it must raise some similar questions and point to similar gifts as the book you mention here.

      • http://prinsenhouse.blogspot.ca/ Jeannie

        Yes, I have. It was painful reading for me — maybe just where I was at the time, maybe because his son’s condition was so devastating. But a really great, important book.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Pershey’s article is very timely, Ellen, as I just read Laura Martin’s post today on her journey from independent evangelical congregations to the mainline. (http://lightenough.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/fish-out-of-water-the-mainline-and-me/) It’s illuminating stuff.


    • http://www.ellenpainterdollar.com Ellen Painter Dollar

      Thanks. Going to read it now!