February 13, 2011 / Praxis
An interview between TOJ Editor-in-Chief Chris Keller and the author of GENERATION EX-CHRISTIAN, Drew Dyck.
In his book A Peculiar People: the Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society,1 Rodney Clapp argues that the only appropriate way for Christians to live in this world is as a distinctive, “peculiar” people. In other words, the church should, by its “upside-down,”2 love-oriented way of being, stand out in the face of the fallen systems of the world. As the church, we are, after all, the people who believe that only death can lead to life, that only a cross can overcome evil, and that only by emptying yourself will you be filled. Upside-down, indeed.
What, then, is the Christian’s proper response to a society that denies its impoverished peoples not only food and shelter, but the dignity of being treated as human beings? How does the educated Christian respond to the fact that there are thousands of people in her city who cannot afford to be educated? If a Christian response is always a peculiar response, then perhaps one answer is to provide an education to those who cannot afford it.
But of what value is education to a person who lacks a place to sleep at night? What good is thirty minutes spent reading or writing a poem to a person who is not sure where they will receive their next meal?
A Tradition of Care for the Poor
One of the key characteristics of the Judeo-Christian faith tradition is its commitment to care for the poor, a commitment that is rooted in God’s justice and love. A common thread of compassion for the marginalized of society runs from the Old Testament prophets through Jesus of Nazareth and the early church. In the eighth century BCE, Amos railed against the perpetrators of structural injustice, bemoaning the way “they [Israel] trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed.”3 In the same century, Isaiah cried out against the contradictions of a people who inflicted violence and oppression while simultaneously offering sacrifice and praise to Yahweh; he commanded that people “seek justice, encourage the oppressed [. . .] defend the cause of the fatherless, [and] plead the case of the widow.”4 And as we see in both his culturally upside-down behavior and his metaphorical storytelling, Jesus of Nazareth lived and taught compassion toward those debilitated by structural injustice.5 Furthermore, when the scriptures are read as a narrative of God and the redemption of his good creation, care for the poor and oppressed seems less like an item on a list of good character or a precept for making our way to heaven after death, and more like the very expression of what it means to live as God’s people.
Christians have not fully embraced their calling in this regard, but there is hope. The voices calling for greater care for and relationship with the poor seem to be rising in both frequency and volume. The principalities and powers that perpetrate oppression and war may do their work, but all the while, the people of God continue to “practice resurrection” in their manifold, creative, Spirit-inspired ways.6
One mark of the Spirit in our world is the creativity and imagination with which She equips her followers. In fact, we believe that it is difficult to be a disciple of Jesus without embracing our God-given imaginations and allowing our creativity to work its way through the world like a mustard seed. If this is true, then perhaps using our imaginations can be understood as a sort of discipline, which, like prayer and fasting, brings us into closer communion with God.
Skeptics might suggest that the imagination is merely a vehicle through which we escape into the private and somewhat insignificant fantasy worlds concocted in our minds.
Certainly it is true that we can use our imaginations to escape the realities of life, but it is also true that we can use our imaginations to reimagine reality so as to transform it, through the power of the Spirit, into the world of shalom. In other words, it takes creativity to imagine and then produce a world in which love, justice, and redemption rule. Without imagination and creativity, we are doomed to accept the present reality as the only possible reality.
In this essay, we hope to share a glimpse of the different ways we’ve seen the Spirit at work: through the shared gifts of imagination, creativity, and poetry, as well as through the educationally centered community we’ve experienced with homeless women and men in Nashville, Tennessee.
Homelessness in Nashville
There is only one major shelter offering the basic necessities of shelter and food to the homeless of Nashville, and so more than 2,000 people sleep on the street each night.7 Moreover, homeless individuals report that this shelter lacks warmth and efficiency. As a result, many homeless women and men look to other organizations for service.
From the city-government-run Nashville Homelessness Commission to the grassroots Nashville Homeless Power Project (NHPP),8 there is a great deal of work being done “within the system” on behalf of the needy. This work ranges from passing legislation that treats the homeless with greater fairness and justice to intensive pushes for more low-income housing. The NHPP is on the forefront of much of the homelessness conversation in our city; the organization stages demonstrations and abandoned home takeovers in hopes of drawing attention to the devastating need of safe housing and fair treatment for people living on the streets.
Because Nashville is centrally located at the intersection of two major highways, many people come to the city looking to make a break, or at the very least, to find people who can help. These women and men often find themselves on the margins of society as a result of injury, mental health issues, abuse, break-ups, addiction, or just plain bad luck; regardless of the cause, they are people with stories, families, children, and dignity. And too often their humanity is overlooked while stereotypes which assume some bad choice landed them in their particular state become the norm. Thus, some of the most important work any homeless ministry can do is to restore this sense of dignity.
Still there is a question of what homeless individuals need most. Certainly, for women and men with debilitated financial states, physical nourishment is a must. But food alone is insufficient. People must also be able to clothe themselves, find adequate shelter, and receive affordable medical care. All of these things are of immediate importance to those who spend their every night sleeping beneath a bridge, behind a building, or beside a ventilation grate.
But these physical necessities do not make up the whole of what the impoverished of any given city require to live a full human existence. There is more to caring for the marginalized of a society than food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. There are also relational needs—the need to be a member of a community—and one way to work toward a sense of relational and communal connection with our brothers and sisters in need is through the medium of education.
Free Education for the Homeless
One organization that works to establish a sense of relationship and community through the medium of education is Nashville’s Campus for Human Development (CHD).9 The CHD is a religious nonprofit that is committed to scriptural love, nonviolence, hospitality, fellowship with the poor, and social justice. The organization offers emergency and long-term services to Nashville’s homeless population, including classes that range from alcohol and drug education to art instruction, and from GED preparation to theological reflection. Each class is free of charge to homeless individuals, who are then awarded forty points for each hour-long class they attend. The points can be spent at the CHD Store to purchase bus passes, toiletries, clothing, and storage space.
This model of education is unique, but it is one that is worth imitating. Not only is it peculiar in regard to the world of homeless ministry, it is also peculiar in regard to common systems of education. For starters, there are very few organizations serving the homeless who see education and the cultivation of creativity as equally important to food and shelter. But for homeless individuals at the CHD, the educational classes are valuable because they are allowed the dignity of using their minds for enrichment and enjoyment rather than exclusively for trying to secure their next meal or place to stay. Indeed, time spent exploring the depths of a poem, or painting a picture, is still time well spent. Furthermore, there is a distinctively redemptive element to the CHD classes. The classes are free and they pay a person’s way to storage space or new glasses or batteries or socks or clothing—the indispensible items that are necessary for getting by. And when a homeless person attends a CHD class, they receive much more than basic facts or abstract knowledge; they are offered the hope of restoration through their God-given capacity to learn, be creative, and exercise their imaginations.
Additionally, the CHD classes avoid the cutthroat competitiveness of academia. Instead, teachers sit where students sit, and a sense of genuine relationship and community trumps any notion of a teacher’s superiority over her students.
In all of these ways, the CHD helps holistically. Just as food nourishes the body and a home protects the family, education and creativity nourish the mind, which in turn, empowers the body and physical existence and makes for a life more deeply lived.
This model of education is important because it rejects the claim that impoverished peoples are lacking intellectually—that they cannot afford to educate themselves—and supports the idea that all people have the right to engage life fully. Education has the potential of being redemptive in that it cultivates in us the ability to reimagine our selves and our world. This is especially true for people who have been denied the gift of learning because they have found themselves on the untouchable periphery of society.
“Poetry in Motion”
Every Tuesday morning at the CHD, a voice comes over the intercom: “At nine o’clock we have ‘Poetry in Motion’ for forty points in the art room and ‘A & D’ (Alcohol and Drug education) in the chapel, also for forty points.”
Within minutes, a long line gathers at the bottom of the steps leading up to the classrooms. Most of the women and men go in to the chapel for A & D, but a small number—faithful and curious alike—make their way to our classroom. Some of the students climb the stairs for the forty points or as morning filler between breakfast and lunch, but some of the students are genuinely interested in learning about reading, writing, and poetry.
The value of teaching poetry to people who are homeless, however, is certainly debatable. Because most homeless ministries focus on physical needs, many people would argue that class time should be spent teaching job skills or at the very least, memory verses. Some of these critics would even claim that poetry and creative writing are altogether extraneous, that thoughts are more effectively communicated when delivered simply and directly. In other words, the assumption is that art and creativity are, at best, of secondary importance for people living on the streets.
To be sure, the majority of homeless individuals do need job training and physical care. Most need food, shelter, and clothing, and all are in desperate need of the sort of help that would empower them to maneuver the landscapes of structural injustices which characterize our society and world. But we are learning that caring for the poor and marginalized of society does not stop at food, shelter, and clothing.
Considering the craft we engage, our classroom environment is fitting. Out one window we see a rickety railway bridge with a tree growing from the bricks that hold it up. Out the other window we see the silvery blue skyline of Nashville stretching out over the rooftops of dilapidated buildings. Trees growing out of brick walls, new office buildings set against abandoned ones: what better scene complements the reading and writing of poetry with homeless women and men?
After we are seated, settled, and caught up on the past week’s happenings, we give our participants a few questions to consider while we read and write for the hour to follow. They are questions that any writer or reader must, at some point, ask herself if she hopes to find meaning in her craft: “Why is it valuable to read and write poetry when the events described can be presented more simply?” and “What tangible value is there in using our imaginations, in using creative language, imagery, and metaphors to talk about everyday things? Why not just put it more simply? Why talk about these things at all?”10 In the process of asking these questions—to ourselves and to our participants—we have discovered that we are exploring that which all good literature explores: what it means to be a human being.11 The intention of our class, then, is not to convert people to a love for poetry or literature but to help them better engage their own humanity, which in turn, will help them engage the humanity of others.
Although the poems we read range from the simple to the complex, they each give us colorful and diverse illustrations of what it feels like to be human in a particular time and place. From the grace of Mary Oliver to the grit of Sylvia Plath, from the minimalism of William Carlos Williams to the intricacy of Jorie Graham, from Nashville’s Mark Jarman to Ireland’s Seamus Heaney, we have read, discussed, and explored the art of a good poem.12
We teach with the belief that we are often propelled to write by the things we read and that it is impossible to learn to write well if we have not first learned to read well. Thus, we spend the first half of each class reading and discussing a poem.
First, we read the poem aloud twice, allowing the words to come alive through the medium of the human voice. As we read, we assume the voice of the poem’s speaker so that we are better able to stand inside the poem and look around rather than stand outside the poem from a distance and point at the things inside it. If we can better understand why the poem’s speaker has chosen certain words, intonation, metaphors, and line breaks, then our capacity to identify with the speaker—another human being in a particular time and place—increases.
Next, we discuss the poem: “What piece of life does the poem come from? What could have happened to the speaker to cause her to utter these words? How does the structure of the poem enact or reflect its content? How does this express some piece of the human experience? What is cool about the poem?”13 Because so many of us are used to asking questions like, “What is the poet trying to say?” or “What does the poem mean?” these alternative questions allow us to enter more deeply into what is on the page: an exercise demanding a great deal of imagination.
After our discussion of the poem, we offer a writing prompt that is rooted in the poem we have read. The prompt asks our participants to dig into their own stories: their past and present, their experiences and encounters and memories. For example, after reading Mary Oliver’s “Alligator Poem,” a poem in which the speaker narrowly escapes an alligator’s unexpected, deathly charge and then rises to her feet to see the world as it is for the first time, our writing prompt asked our participants to think of a near-death experience or some traumatic episode that caused them to see, with new eyes, the world around them. The responses were breathtaking: a shooting and the death of a friend, a drunk-driving accident, the birth of a child. Through the act of engaging someone else’s life experience, our participants were, in turn, able to creatively engage their own life experience through poetry.
In another session, after reading Adrienne Rich’s poem “Upper Broadway,” a poem whose speaker contemplates the nature of growth and her desire and ability to see herself in the people who pass by her window from day to day, we asked our participants to write from the perspective of their stereotypical polar opposite. One of our faithful attendants wrote from the point of view of a mayoral candidate participating in a homeless “sleepout”14 in which he agreed to panhandle in order to better understand the life of the homeless. In this way, our friend put himself in the shoes of someone who is, by most definitions, “other.” In doing so, he cultivated a greater sense of compassion for someone whose experiences were different from his own.
In these classroom experiences a number of things have become evident. First, in seeking to locate the human experience that is buried in any given poem, we have come to realize the humanity in one another. This comes about primarily when we take the time at the close of each class session to read our poems aloud to one another. The experience is somewhat sacramental in its similarity to the gathering of faithful around a table. Our table is rectangular so that we all, teachers and students, face one another when we read what we’ve written, which helps cultivate a greater sense of community.
Second, we have come to find that exercising our imaginations through the medium of poetry has very little to do with escaping from reality; it has everything to do with engaging it: our participants see themselves in the poems we read. Thus, we have discovered a value in imagination that bears itself upon our physical lives. It has become evident that art and creativity—brought to life through the imagination—are indispensible means of living life more fully. So in an educational forum that seeks to restore dignity to marginalized women and men, we have found that the art of poetry—rooted, as it is, in the human experience—is of an even greater value than we had initially realized.
Outpourings of the Imagination
When we use our imaginations, as all poetry and art necessitates, we are using one of the many gifts God has given us to better experience his presence with us. Through the course of our class, we have learned that this gift makes itself manifest in many different ways.
When we engage a poem, our imaginative muscles are strengthened—a workout which, rather than bearing little to no significance in reality as is often assumed, has outpourings in our actual, tangible lives. For instance, in order to read poems by poets who have completely different life experiences than our own it is helpful to read the poem aloud in order to take on the voice of its speaker; in doing so, we are able to more fully see where it is they are coming from. By pretending as though the words of the poem are our own, the degree to which we can identify with its sentiments increases substantially. Through this use of imagination, then, the discipline of compassion is nurtured in each of us. If we can better understand where someone is coming from when they write a poem about a certain experience, then our capacity to understand others increases.
In “Feeling From Inside,” an anecdote from Czeslaw Milosz’s 1998 collection of poems and essays entitled Road-Side Dog, Milosz describes this miracle of how writing, reading, and even speaking aloud poetry helps us to live inside others:
In the act of writing, a transformation occurs: the direct data of consciousness, our feeling of ourselves from inside, is changed into an image of other individuals, similarly feeling themselves from inside, and thanks to that, we can write about them, not only about ourselves.15
Gregory Wolfe, author of the essay “The Wound of Beauty,”16 adds that “beauty tutors our compassion, making us more prone to love and to see the attraction of goodness.” He points out that “art takes us out of our self-referentiality and invites us to see through the eyes of the other.”
Similarly, poet and memoirist Mary Karr discusses the sacramental values of poetry in her essay “Facing Altars: Poetry and Prayer.”17 She explains that poetry achieves community through the common breaths and rhythms that are spoken in exactly the same way by people all around the world. This shared experience, she suggests, is part of what gives poetry its spiritual value.
The gift of the imagination, then, used through the medium of poetry, has the power to cultivate seeds of compassion.
Discovering the Presence of God in the Things of This World
As poet and biographer Paul Mariani explains in his essay “Toward a Sacramental Language,”18 the language of literature, and in our case, poetry, holds the wonderful potential of marrying the “splendid grittiness of the physical” with “the splendor and consolation of the spiritual.” In selecting poems to discuss with our class, we have discovered in each of them an essentially human character. In many of them, too, there is a sense of the pervasive presence of God in the messiness of our earthly lives. One poem in particular, Richard Wilbur’s “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World,” illuminates these concepts with particular grace and skill. In this poem, bed sheets and blouses filled with angels hang on a line, thus artfully showing how the spirit world inhabits the things all around us.
For the Christian, this use of the imagination is indispensible. But even poets and artists who would not consider themselves Christians have a knack for this sort of attentiveness, this acuity which brings to mind the sense of a divine presence in the world. Therefore, regardless of whether a poet or our class participants are Christians, our capacity for using our imaginations to discover the sacred in the routines of daily life, in the things of this world, remains the same. “That is the magic of art,” says Wolfe, “[. . .] its essence is to remind us of the everyday and to transmute it into a sacrament.”19 And to quote Paul Mariani, “what similes, what metaphors, what words, after all, does one use to find the Kingdom of Heaven if not the things of this world?”20
Truth Revealed Through Art and Beauty
Finally, we have discovered that truth—the truth of the goodness of compassion and the reality of God’s presence among us—is revealed most effectively through the joint medium of art and beauty. It is fascinating to note that Jesus of Nazareth, the one we call the Son of God, the one who came to this earth so that we might know life in its fullness, taught primarily through the medium of parable. In other words, Jesus did not set forth lists of divinely inspired propositions; instead, knowing full well that the art of storytelling penetrates more deeply than anything else, he expelled wisdom through parables. Even the Savior believed in the potential of a good story to transform lives.
That said, perhaps we do not give literature enough attention.
In Wolfe’s essay, he claims that “Truth without beauty is fleshless abstraction, a set of propositions. Only beauty can incarnate truth in concrete, believable, human flesh.”21 One of our poet friends experienced this strange relationship between truth and beauty when she struggled to find the words to convey the difficulties of her friends’ divorce: “I’ve written a great deal about it,” she said “—with poetry, of course. It’s so hard to really talk about those sorts of things with prose.”
Somehow, we know she’s right. There is something about poetry, and all art for that matter, that digs deeper and strikes the chord of our humanity better than a newspaper article or formal language ever could.22
Perhaps the most provocative idea that we have encountered about the power of the written word in the lives of human beings comes from an essay by poet Franz Wright. In this essay, entitled “Language as Sacrament in the New Testament,” Wright compares the human/divine communality of the Eucharist with the human/divine communality of the written word, and Christ’s words in particular. Referring to the words of Jesus, Wright says:
I believe that when we take these words in with full attention, ingest them with our eyes and ears, we are taking in not the body but the mind of Christ and the creative will of God, as Christ is called the Word through which the universe was uttered into being; we are taking in the very thinking of Christ, its meaning and presence which never goes away though we may choose to turn away from it; and we are taking in the ultimate mystery—that Christ came not to abolish suffering (clearly!) but to take part in it.23
If the words of Christ contain this sacramental value—that we participate in his likeness when we utter them ourselves—then certainly there is the potential for a great deal of literature to be enjoyed in much the same way. If I speak aloud the words of a poet, especially if that poet has written some shred of truth, then, as Milosz claims, I am entering into that person. Thus, compassion is manifested as we notice, together, the way God makes himself known in the world around us through the beauty of good literature and art.
Conclusion: How Then Shall We Live?
If as people of faith we are to live lives that work hand in hand with God’s spirit of redemption in the world, one of the ways we can do this is by offering the gift of education to those to whom it has been denied. In doing so, two things happen: dignity is restored to those in whom it is so often unacknowledged, and the institution of education is transformed and equipped with new power. Indeed, an education permeated with the importance of creativity and imagination is a crucial part of the cultivation of the abundant life to which all of God’s children are called to enjoy.
1. Rodney Clapp, A Peculiar People: the Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1996). This book is indispensable for communities who are seeking to better understand how to conceive of their identity as a “peculiar people” in the midst of the cultures of the world. According to Clapp, the church fulfills its mission most fully when it understands itself as its own culture living among other cultures. In this way, Christianity neither retrenches itself in nor relinquishes itself from the larger society, but engages the world in a manner similar to Christ and his early followers.
2. See Donald Kraybill, The Upside-Down Kingdom (Scottsdale, PA: Herald Press, 2003) for a thorough, book-length explanation of how the new way of living—the kingdom—that Jesus of Nazareth initiated is culturally, politically, and economically “upside-down” in relation to the systems of the world.
3. From Amos 2:7a, NIV.
4. From Isaiah 1:17, NIV.
5. For examples, see Matthew 5, Luke 16:19-31, Luke 17:12-19; see also Walter Wink’s explanation of Jesus’s cultural and political “third way” in his book Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress, 2003).
6. This phrase comes from Wendell Berry’s poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” which appears in his book The Country of Marriage. The phrase assumes that the resurrection of Christ is more than an isolated event in history. Instead, what is suggested is that the power which raised Jesus from the dead is the same reconciliatory power that is at work in the world today.
7. Charlie Strobel, “The Poor Beggar,” The Contributor (June 2008). The Contributor is a street paper that offers diverse perspectives on homelessness. Many of the contributors are homeless or formerly homeless individuals. Additionally, as a way of providing income for homeless individuals, the newspaper staff sells the paper to trained homeless vendors for $0.25, and then they sell it for $1.00. Check out The Contributor online at http://www.nashvillecontributor.org/.
8. Learn more about the NHPP online at http://www.homelesspower.org/.
9. Learn more about the CHD at http://www.chd-nashville.org/.
10. In the introduction to his New and Collected Poems (1931-2001), Czeslaw Milosz says that “[. . .] to remain aware of the weight of fact without yielding to the temptation to become only a reporter is one of the most difficult puzzles confronting a practitioner of poetry.” This quote is helpful for teaching that poetry is of a language and a nature which both engages and transcends the reality of our human experience without simply resorting to listing the facts of life. Poetry, then, is important because it can articulate the same event that a news reporter conveys, but with a greater ability to penetrate to the core of what is being experienced. See the quote by Paul Valery via Franz Wright later in the essay for more on this subject. Czeslaw Milosz, “Introduction,” New and Collected Poems (1931-2001) (New York: HarperCollins, 2003).
11. We are indebted to professor and friend Dr. Matt Hearn for this particular definition of literature.
12. A complete list of the poems we have read and discussed:
Carl Sandburg, “Grass”
Mary Oliver, “Alligator Poem”
Jimmy Santiago Bacca, “Six”
Sylvia Plath, “Mushrooms”
Jorie Graham, “The Geese”
Mark Jarman, “Ground Swell”
Yusef Komunyakaa, “Facing It”
William Carlos Williams, “This is Just to Say”
Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool”
Seamus Heaney, “Digging”
R.T. Smith, “Brightwood”
Mary Oliver, “Bone”
Eavan Boland, “That the Science of Cartography is Limited”
Elizabeth Bishop, “The Fish”
Richard Wilbur, “Love Calls Us to the Things of This World”
Franz Wright, “The Only Animal”
Scott Cairns, “Ruminant”
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “Pied Beauty”
Adrienne Rich, “Upper Broadway”
Mary Karr, “Revelations in the Key of K”
Czeslaw Milosz, “In Music”
Stephen Dunn, “The Past”
Rod Jellema, “Words Take Water’s Way”
Andrew Hudgins, “Compost: An Ode”
W. H. Auden, “Musée des Beaux Arts”
William Carlos Williams, “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”
Czeslaw Milosz, “Eyes”
Luci Shaw, “The Simple Dark”
13. Most of these questions are derived from Helen Vendler, Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology, 2nd Edition (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002). This text is a good start for those seeking to better learn how to read poetry as it was meant to be read. Instead of asking “what a poem means,” Vendler explains that it is better to ask “how it works,” because within a poem’s combined structure, language, and intricacies lies the heart of the matter.
14. For the full story on the actual event that inspired the poem, visit http://www.homelesspower.org/mayoralurbanplunge.html.
15. Czeslaw Milosz, “Feeling From Inside,” In Road-Side Dog (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998), 16.
16. Gregory Wolfe, “The Wound of Beauty,” Image 56 (2007): 6.
17. Mary Karr, “Facing Altars: Poetry and Prayer,” Afterword to Sinners Welcome (New York: HarperCollins, 2006).
18. Paul Mariani, “Toward a Sacramental Language,” In God and the Imagination: On Poets, Poetry, and the Ineffable (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2002), 234.
19. Wolfe, 6.
20. Mariani, 244.
21. Wolfe, 5.
22. In an essay for Image, Franz Wright cites what he says are “a few lines that have helped me understand the meaning and power of poetry [. . .]” Since it deserves to be repeated, here is French poet, essayist, and philosopher Paul Valery’s quote, from Wright’s essay, in full:
The poet consecrates himself to and consumes himself in the task of defining and constructing a language within the language; and this operation, which is long, difficult, and delicate, which demands a diversity of mental qualities and is never finished, tends to constitute the speech of a being purer, more powerful and profound in his thoughts, more intense in his life, more elegant and felicitous in his speech, than any real person….
From Franz Wright, “Language as Sacrament in the New Testament,” Image 57 (2008): 91.
23. Wright, 89-90 [our emphasis].
Andrew Krinks is a doctoral student in theological studies at Vanderbilt University. His research engages theological frameworks operative in systems of incarceration and constructions of criminality. He also studies the theological dynamics of personhood, agency, and encounter in situations of suffering and oppression.
Lindsey lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, Andrew.