Sunday, April 7, 2019

Why Christian 2019 - Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, CA April 5-6, 2019


Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber
I had not heard of it, but this was the 4th "Why Christian" conference in 5 years. This is something created by Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber. They and others they invite come together to talk about why they are a Christian.

I took a lot of notes in my journal. Below I will list a few quotes and memories.


  • The difference between a labyrinth and a maze is there is no dead-end in a labyrinth. No step is wasted in the walk of faith.
  • Why Christian? Honest answer: I don't know. I'm honestly too overwhelmed by the beauty and the mess to do anything else. Like Peter: Where else would we go?
  • I am Christian because a Palestinian young woman said yes.
  • I am Christian because of Mary and many other bad-ass women. Women stuck around when men ran away. They showed up. They were the first to recognize the resurrection because they showed up. Mary Magdalene was the first to say, Jesus is risen.
  • I am Christian because when I was scared at night my mother sang songs like "It is Well" and other hymns until the beautiful theology sank into my heart and the voice of God started to sound like a woman's.
  • There is a wisdom in faith that people want, even non-Christians. Christianity has been confused about the wrapping of that wisdem.
  • In the book, "Unapologetic" by Francis Spufford, he says, Humans have a propensity to fuck things up.
  • I am obsessed with grace. Dabbling in compassion. Speak in compassion.
  • A trauma worker said she imagines the heart of God right behind her heart. What she hears and what she gives doesn't reside in her heart. It goes through her heart and resides and comes from God's heart.
  • Theology is too potent to be left in the hands of people who use it to dominate other people.
Rev. Jude Harmon:
  • II Timothy - see the faith of your mother Lois and your grandmother Eunice.
  • MM: Several speakers talked about their grandmother helping to give them faith. Am I?
  • Faith lives. Faith dwells. Faith is about someone, not something.
Tabatha Jones Jolivet:
  • Calling you in instead of calling you out.
  • My grandmother taught me how to pray. I knew I was a child of God.
  • Often your life's work turns out to be spent giving others what you needed and didn't get.
Jeff Chu:
  • Bodies. No dualism.
  • Incarnation. Meeting God in the Bible.
Laura Turner:
  • Leading into learning through anxiety.
  • In meditation there is a moment of returning to your breath. That is the benefit of meditation. Returning.
  • Returning hope. Meister Eckhart: There is a place in the soul that nothing can touch. There is a place in you that has never been wounded.
  • Sometimes what we want from religion isn't God, but certainty.
  • Integrated hope and sorrow.
  • To love is to pay attention to what needs to change.
  • In some religion, at baptism the person first faces the west -- where night comes, the darkness -- and renounces the old life 3 times. Then they face the east -- where morning comes, the light -- and confess unity with Christ. Darkness to light. Return home.
  • MM: Could we use some of this symbolism in our confession of faith?
  • Helpful to do examen:  Name the things that drain me and the things that give me life.
Lanecia Tinsley
  • Determined to be a good preacher's kid.
  • Got pregnant, sure all would be disappointed.
  • Lost daughter after only a few others. Incompetent cervix. What a messed up term. My body could not hold her in. Am I incompetent?
  • Became an artist. I can create.
  • Like the Japanese bowls. God is mending the pieces of my life with beautiful gold light.
Cameron Partridge
  • Born as a female.
  • Felt like something beyond a girl.
  • Appreciate complexity and paradox of Christianity
  • Story of Jesus and Thomas. Shows his wounds. Death was not denied. His death was in his resurrected boy.
  • Trans: Struggling in a world that does not want us to exist.
  • I John: See what love the Lord has given us that we should be called Children of God. That is what we are, God's children, full stop.
Rev. Sandhya Jha:
  • Acts 2 - shared everything. Acts 6 - arguing over who gets more food.
  • Jesus my best friend. No problem. But the church kept screwing up.
  • Church is often preserving a sense of family that cannot tolerate uncomfortableness. Doesn't work.
  • What a gift it is to allow people to be who they are.
Jeff Chu:
  • We all want to matter.
  • Do you believe you matter to the God who made you?
  • Looking back, I most regret my silence. What was I afraid of?
Micha Boyett - Jesus didn't hustle.
  • Down syndrome child. Lost the child I had imagined. Death allows us to be reunited with what is real - Richard Rohr.
  • Son Ace focuses completely and unhurriedly on what is in front of him.
  • Jean Vanier: What makes us human is our ability to give and receive love.
  • Slowness and spaciousness - the speed of our creator.
  • Dallas Willard: Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life. Hurry is the enemy of spiritual life.
  • Jesus went slowly.
Nadia Bolz-Weber - sermon
  • Notice Lazarus never says a word. Maybe he had Down's syndrome. Maybe he was a special-needs person. Even if not true, its the truest thing I ever heard, knowing Jesus.
  • I'm in it for the freedom - that's why I'm a Christian.
  • The freedom comes only from grace. Everything else comes from worthiness.
  • We don't remember what God has done out of nostalgia. We do it to recognize God in the present.


  1. Love all of your notes and musings! So glad we connected in many ways.

    1. Thank you, Jan! I am glad of our connection, too!

  2. Thank you for sharing your notes. It made me smile to read them because I had jotted down some of the same thoughts. Sorry we did not connect while there, but thanks again for publishing this.

  3. Your blog provided us with valuable information to work with. Each & every tips of your post are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing. Keep blogging, Christian Retreat Centers Pennsylvania

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.