One of the highlights of Wild Goose for us was when Cherie got to meet Jim Wallis.
She got all choked up trying to talk to him, which was very moving to see. When I told him that he and Sojourners magazine had helped save Cherie’s faith, she got teary-eyed and he gave her a hug. How cool is that?
When we first moved back to my hometown, the culture shock was very hard on Cherie. She had fit comfortably into our world in Tampa, and was active in our Methodist church. She had never been subjected to fundamentalism.
But, sadly, in our part of Southern Virginia she was. Most of the parents in the homeschool group she joined taught science and history out of the book of Genesis, and anyone who didn’t wasn’t regarded as a Christian. Being a “Christian” in that world also dictated how you vote, what music you listen to, what causes you support, etc. To be passionate about the issues of social justice that mattered to Cherie might suggest Christianity in many parts of the country, but here it suggested just the opposite. Because she was an anti-war environmentalist, she was perceived as in need of evangelizing. It seemed that “Christians,” as weird as this sounds, just couldn’t be anti-war environmentalists here and it seemed that anti-war environmentalists just couldn’t be Christians. Instead, “Christians” were pro-war, opposed the estate tax (supposedly on religious principle), didn’t believe in dinosaurs and didn’t let their kids read Harry Potter books. One’s faith was reflected not by one’s social activism, but by one’s politics–which of course had to be mainstream Republican. I could go on and on, but y’all get the picture.
So Cherie was ready to reject Christianity, if that is what it meant. Then she discovered Sojourners and God’s Politics. Hallelujah! There were plenty of Christians, she learned, who shared her beliefs. And now she is a dedicated believer again.
She says it better than me over on her blog. Check it out HERE.
I have some issues with Jim Wallis’ politics and the way he mixes it with religion. But I am very happy for what he was part of in Cherie’s life, and very glad we got to meet him.