Why? Contemporary culture dehumanizes us and exploits the natural world in the service of material power and profit. This is the narrative of empire. Rather than seeing our differences as a source of strength and interdependence, it divides us – often violently – across them. It attempts to commodify the whole of existence.
We are made by God in God’s image and charged with the care of all creation. The Incarnational Christ calls us to honor and experience God by honoring one another and the Earth. To that end, I seek to both contest the narrative of empire and recognize the sacred in the everyday and in every person. I aspire to enact and embody this theology by seeing through a lens that acknowledges all time as holy.
Who are you exactly? I am Rev. Jennifer Sanders. I am the Coordinating Pastor of Beloved Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama in the United States. That role draws on the components of efforts established here – ministry in the community, independent scholarship, community organizing, preaching and writing, and spiritual/pastoral care to diverse people. This site, however, contains my own independent thought and work and does not speak for the church.
My background is varied, but centers on a common thread of working with diverse people with the goal of making the world a better place. In the past I worked in refugee resettlement, Medicaid eligibility and outreach, botanical education, and community and medical settings as an occupational therapist for people with disabilities and acute illnesses.
That’s where I’m coming from, but I find just about everybody – whether you share any of these traits with me or not – interesting in their own right. I am a Christian, but also committed to pluralism in our world and to meaningful inter-religious engagement.
Who are some of your major influences? Dorothy Soelle, Dorothy Day, Monica Coleman, Ella Baker, John Wesley, Jane Addams, Ida B Wells-Barnett, Howard Thurman, and Brad Warner come to mind at the moment. Poetry also nourishes my mind and spirit and my favorite poets include Martin Espada, Marge Piercy, June Jordan, Adrienne Rich, Naomi Shabib Nye, Mary Oliver, and William Wordsworth.
If you’d like to support this work, please make a contribution to my church. You can do so here. If you’d like to talk to me about strategic thinking or have other questions or comments, send me a message using the following form.