My faith demands my action on a daily basis. It may look like I have fallen off the face of the planet based on my spotty Instagram activity, weeks go by without me posting. I have been struggling to post my outfits. Not to mention, I haven’t bought anything ethically made to share with you. It doesn’t help that I am still grieving Asher, and he often showed up in those photos or videos or was there following me around while I took photos and videos. Instead, recently, I have been trying to better understand how my passions are an active expression of my faith.
For a year or so now I have been pondering upon how to share the intersection of my passions and my faith. This often means days and weeks of not posting anything on my blog or social media, writing and rewriting whatever this is. Not knowing how it will look in the next iteration. My passions are what inherently makes me, me. They are the things I love and in turn, talk a lot about. Now, I am passionate about a lot of things. If you ever want to talk about the interconnectedness of Marvel movies, I am your gal!
If you’ve been here or known me for some time, these won’t come as a surprise to you. But if you are new, welcome, I hope these connect with you and I hope you’ll share too!
Fashion gets a bad rap. Often we are told we are vain for caring what we look like and yet in the next breath told we should care about how we present ourselves. And for girls, there are a lot more cultural and societal standards for how girls dress or even appear in public places. When religion, society, or cultural determines how one clothes, there is a loss of the individual. When others determine what clothes mean, or who should wear what we create an unholy system that places certain people (usually men) as more powerful, devout, and deserving.
Last year, I started branding myself as a Slow Fashion Blogger instead of an Ethical Fashion Blogger. I felt that title of Slow Fashion Blogger had run its course and to be honest, I wasn’t eager to continue adding clothes to my closet at the same rate I had been. Part of choosing a slower fashion pace gave me the permission to say no to things I loved but honestly didn’t need. So, I rebranded to a Slow Fashion.
As a person, I have always tended to be a bit of a minimalist when it comes to physical things, except coffee mugs and notebooks. But I looked at my closet and saw it was enough. Over the last few months, I have been adding more to my wardrobe. Often pieces from our local secondhand shop. I know I don’t have to justify my purchases to anyone, but just so you know. As your life ebbs and flows, so do your needs. And beginning in January, I recognized a need for pieces simply not in my closet. Nothing beautiful or exciting by far, instead I needed more casual pieces ideal for camping and exploring. Thankfully we have a spectacular secondhand shop with a wonderful variety and I was able to get some cozy fleece pullovers and long sleeves ideal for summer camping later this year. I am still on the lookout for a few more pieces but I’m very comfortable with the items I have found. What does fashion actually have to do with my faith?
While, we may clothe ourselves out of the shame experienced by Adam & Eve but our apparel says so much about us. When we choose to re-wear an outfit, we are able to keep clothing out of landfills, therefore protecting Creation. When we buy from a secondhand store, we are able to give old clothes new life! When we buy from an ethical and sustainable brand, we are able to support artisan makers with safe stable jobs.
My clothing is an outward expression of who I am on the inside, the inmost part of me. I view fashion as much as a functional necessity and as a form of art. And consequently, because we all require clothing, how we buy our clothes deeply matters. To me it matters so much that when I buy new, I attempt to always buy from a brand that pays their makers a living wage. It matters so much to me that I buy secondhand, so I can help give clothes new lives in my closet and avoid the landfill where it will never break down, instead poisoning our precious planet that God so loves.
Love of Creation
Often, I wonder if I was born in the wrong era. At heart, I am a flower child. A tree hugger hippie who wants world peace; no war, loving our neighbors, and caring for creation. And I don’t think these are a far stretch from the commission given to us by God and by Jesus and , at the same time, antithetical to our current systems of patriarchy, capitalism, and justice system.
God created the birds, the mountains, the sea, the stars, and so on and so forth. Frequently, scripture talks about creation calling out to God. Perhaps our indigenous neighbors were onto something. My favorite psalm (Psalm 147) is about the whole of creation praising God. And yet our capitalist system has consistently murdered species and destroyed entire habitats for the gain of an earthy profit. Our obsession with more is killing the planet God created and loves.
I have too often heard that the world is ‘horrible’ and God plans to come to destroy it to bring in a new ‘better’ world. But then I read about the love and tender care God took to create our Earth, the gentleness to recognize that Adam needed community and thus created Eve. The loving act that God saw people needed to be shown by His son Jesus how to love one another to bring about the Kin-dom. In John 3:16, God so loved the world, that He sent His son to live here on Earth with us.
If God promised to never destroy the earth again, after Noah. Why do some so heartily believe that God will destroy this planet to reveal a new one? We, humans, have exploited almost every natural resource available to us for the sake of earthy profit. Why would God trust us with a new home if we can’t care for the one already given to us?
My love of creation comes from my deeply held belief that God calls us to live on earth, within their creation, but to also tend to and care for this planet & all its inhabitants. The creepy crawlies, the majestic pachyderms, the fuzzy friend-shaped ones, and all people too. Not just those of a certain economic status, not just those who “try hard enough” (that has nothing to do with Jesus), and not just those within certain nationstate borders.
My love of creation calls for me to love all of creation. All means all. The forests, the banana slugs, the neighbors next door, the folks who protest love, the children who scream and run in church, the person hungry on the street corner, and the billionaire. It’s through my love of creation and this understanding of God’s love for all of creation that I have worked to make service an important aspect of my daily life.
Acts of Service
To my family
To my faith community
To my geographical community
To my global community; through advocating for more justice systems
As a child, I was afraid of service. I often felt pressured to do things because others were doing them and framed as “good Christians” do this so you should do this or it will be a good experience that you’ll be grateful for later. Those are not reasons to serve.
Service has to and must come from the heart not from individual, community, or societal pressure. Once I found the spaces I wanted to serve in, I can truly tell you I have come to love acts of service. In high school, I was part of a mentor program where once a month I’d go hang out with a 5th grader after school. In my young adult life, serving often meant me at the animal shelter and sharing with others about pet populations, the horrors of puppy mills, and how adoption literally saves animals (God’s creations) lives. In my 30’s service has been about the church, connecting my passion for others with my faith. Including right now, as a serve as a co-leader with my husband for the Mennonite Mission Network Service Adventure Unit. Mentoring and living with young adults as they volunteer for a year in the Colorado Springs community and in our church.
There is no pressure when service is done right, it comes from the heart for the benefit of others without shame, guilt, pride, or ego present. Serving comes two-fold, when done from the heart you receive far more than you give.
Service is almost always connected to a deeply held belief. Reflecting on who I was as an 18-20 year old and what I needed from the adults around me. Lead me (and my husband) to becoming a Service Adventure Leaders. I remembered faking it in everything I did hoping to get the right response from the adults around me and my peers. Today, I yearn to be who my participants need me to be. A safe adult who doesn’t have all the answers but will walk alongside them as we go searching. In doing this act of service, I pray for abundance in faith, leadership, and healthy community building for them and those surrounding them in the years to come.
As I draw nearer to my 40s, I want to continue to live out my faith in tangible ways. Jesus talked a lot about the kin-dom of heaven, He also gave us very tangible ways to bring that kin-dom into being, now. And I know, God has given me these passions to serve the kin-dom and God’s creation.
I can talk like God all day long, but am I loving the people and the places that He loved? Am I using my head as well as my hands to love God with all my might and to love my neighbor as myself? Am I providing my neighbor with what they need so that they can be receptive to the love of God? What have I done to further the loving, justice, equitable kin-dom of God today?