All of these chapters are so different. The perspectives of the authors, the language they use, and their writing style is varied enough to capture the attention of almost anyone. Sarah’s perspective is from an insider’s view as she uses church-culture specific language like “social justice”, being “intentional”, and “loving well”.
She begins her chapter on a walk with her toddler, writing that she only has grace enough for one day. The use of the term “grace” in this way, from what I understand, is a subculture-specific way of saying “strength”. Her struggle takes place in the taxing vulnerability of being a mother of young children and following what she feels God has called her to do.
For those who grow tired from volunteering at church or setting their sights on saving a marginalized group of people in other parts of the world, this chapter will speak to those moments where you don’t feel like you’re enough. Sarah writes that a friend of hers sent her a much needed note of encouragement. The timing was so perfect and the encouragement so effective that she entertained the idea of starting a ministry of note-writing and walk-taking.
“Isn’t that the way of things these days -to approach a leader to first ask for permission to be a minister, be properly trained, create a page on the website, pick a dynamic name for it? Maybe I could write a strategic plan and procure a marketing budget. Maybe I could organize and recruit a team… policy… procedure…” (page 144).
And this is where her pivot takes place. The temptation to turn every good thing into a ministry ends up dehumanizing it and the recipients can feel it. It’s like getting a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” post card from the local home improvement store. It comes off as a sales tactic instead of a heartfelt sentiment.
Sarah’s evening walk was rejuvenating for a few reasons. As exposed as her heart was, she was happy. She ends her chapter by reaffirming the fact that she’s a person, not a ministry. Instead of corporatizing note-writing, she’ll just return a handwritten note to her friend. The message she says she’ll write is a quote from Mother Teresa. This reader thinks the message is more for Sarah than it is for her pen pal because it neatly sums up her message.
“If you can’t feed thousands, feed one. Do small acts with great love.” -Mother Teresa (quoted on page 144)
Sheila Seiler Lagrand wrote the 22nd chapter of Soul Bare. She titled it “Striptease”. I’ll write my thoughts about that chapter next.