Tag Archives: Episcopal Church

Ableism Killed My Christianity

I rarely write posts here about my spiritual journey, but in this case I have chosen to share a deeply personal experience that addresses why I have left The Episcopal Church. Whether or not that’s a temporary decision, I can’t say.

Below, I am sharing an edited version of a Facebook post I wrote on March 29, 2019:


I have been quiet.

I have been quiet this week, but I have also been quiet over the last year and a half about a life calling I was responding to after years of holding off and saying, “No. Not yet.”

This is long. You might want to get tea before reading. I’m serious. Also, this post mentions topics and words related to Christianity, disability, and trauma.

When I was about fifteen, a dear mentor and mother figure was dying. Marny was a saint whose gifts were more powerful than a single person could hold. I was so intimidated by her holiness that I was afraid to ask her about it. Something about her goodness opened me up to my own light, giving me permission to grow into whoever it was that I should be. I wanted to be like her, but with a collar. At the age of fifteen or sixteen I realized a calling to the priesthood in The Episcopal Church. I couldn’t express what my call looked like, but I could feel it.

My community was supportive of me pursuing it and provided all the necessary details, should I move forward.

In the end, though, I decided to wait. To grow up a bit. To learn more about life. To see if, down the road, being a priest was really my calling. I pushed it to the back of my mind. Every few years I’d get a reminder to think about it again, but I’d keep it to myself. I’d push it back again to the back of my mind. And I would say, “No. Not yet.” Continue reading Ableism Killed My Christianity

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Disabled Deputy On a Roll

I became a self-titled Episcopal Church Geek as soon as I learned the proper order in which to extinguish altar candles, when I was 7-ish. My early days as an acolyte are blamed on my desire to be just like my closest older brother, who is five years my senior. But, once in, I was so enamored with being part of how church functioned that I never thought of leaving.

I was hungry for more. 

It could seem cult-ish to say I’ve never questioned my faith, but in all honesty that’s the truth. Because the norm in my religious upbringing was that I was encouraged to ask tough questions of God, the Bible, the preacher, our beliefs, rituals, and more. The thing that allowed me to never question my personal faith was the fact that I had permission to question everything about it. The very freedom that I could so easily walk away meant that I had a reason to find out why it was important to stay. 

I was 16 or so when I thought I wanted to be a priest, but it would take another 15 years before I would find my true calling as an Episcopalian. I’m still figuring out the whole priest thing.

This post explores some of the ways I am beginning to bridge my “in real life” disability and chronic disease advocacy work with my passion for helping The Episcopal Church truly welcome everyone. Continue reading Disabled Deputy On a Roll

What Mom Thinks About Me Being Sick

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Mother, Caroline, and Daughter, Charis, at Meredith College circa 1989. Charis is wearing the first dress she ever picked out.

I have ankylosing spondylitis and several mental health issues. I asked my mother some questions about them impacting my life. Here’s what she had to say:

What was I like as a child?

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Charis building muscles at a young age

You were always physically active – as a baby, stretching and leaning toward what you liked/wanted.  You enjoyed crawling, walking, later bicycling.  I enjoyed watching you do backbends and cartwheels at about ages 6-10.  You wanted to be scored – 1-10 – as though in the Olympics.  You loved kittens and puppies.  You enjoyed holding them and carrying them around.  You were inquisitive.  You were very shy as a toddler, often hiding behind my skirts or my legs so you would not have to talk to people who addressed you.  You enjoyed spending time with people of all ages as you became an older child.  You became friends with adults and enjoyed learning new things such as tennis and fishing from your grandparents.  I had come to believe that “it takes a village to raise a child”, so I encouraged your independence in going alone by bicycle into our village and forming many relationships with nurturing adults there.  I allowed and encouraged you to be outspoken to the point of some thinking you were “too sassy”, but I believed that as a female in this society, you would need to be able to speak up and take care of yourself as you grew up.  There could easily be a book about how you were as a child, so this will have to be an incomplete capsule.

Do we have any similar quirks that you have noticed/ Do you think these quirks are the result of nature or nurture? Continue reading What Mom Thinks About Me Being Sick

My Queer Story

Elementary school:

+I’m on the school bus sitting behind an older girl. She is playing with her hair and I stare at her, intrigued. She turns around and says, “What are you staring at, white girl?” I blush deep red and look away, unsure what I did wrong.

Middle school:

+I still wear my brother’s hand-me-downs. I’m comfortable wearing shorts that reach my knees, jeans with holes in the knees, and shirts multiple sizes too large for me. But I begin to feel self-conscious because the other girls and some of the boys bully me. I am pressured to start dressing more like a girl and I begin to wear tighter jeans and shorter shorts.

+A new boy moves to town and he becomes my boyfriend. We kiss behind a building during a school field trip. We ride bicycles and play soccer together.

High school:
Continue reading My Queer Story