A Seat at the Table: When Standing Will Do

Our faith calls for us to proclaim the gospel when it is inconvenient and costly. Our history bears witness to those who came before us and spoke truth to power so that we could be here. That the faith of a man who has shown none could be celebrated and that he could be thanked for displaying Christian witness and integrity is shameful. And every leader who was there should rightly be called out by us for it.

Leaving Princeton

So I’m leaving without a degree and, to many, that makes me a failure. And, if I allowed myself to do so, I could see it as failure, too. The truth is this season completely broke me and, somehow, God was able to put me back together in ways that make the cracks beautiful because they don’t testify to the experience itself but that we can be repurposed after it. And that is what is happening. I am being repurposed and made new.

“Come Sunday”, We Need to Repent: On the Apology We Owe Bishop Pearson and Each Other

In what world should rapists, child abusers, racist bigots, homophobic and transphobic assailants inherit the kingdom of God? As my friend asked this week, how are we to understand being in Heaven with a man who killed 9 people in bible study and caused a child to lay in a pool of blood and play dead? It doesn’t make sense. But what if that is the foolishness of the Cross?

for colored girls, like Audrey Stevenson, who deserve better

Entirely too many church leaders, in their professional and personal lives, are treating people as if they do not bear the image of God. They treat us as if we have no worth or value beyond our service to them. I have experienced it on a myriad of levels and many of my friends have, as well. What happened to Audrey triggered memories for all of us. And my rage is for all of us.

Aunties and Nieces: A Complicated Relationship with Iyanla Vanzant

The relationship between an aunt and niece is an interesting one. There are things a niece may share with an aunt that she doesn’t with a mother. The aunt’s relationship with the world always mystifies the niece because it’s not the one she sees daily in her house. But as the niece grows up and becomes a woman, she often begins to see her aunt differently. She sees her as a woman who has been broken, tried to heal and may still need space to do the work herself. But, a loving niece doesn’t allow this to affect her relationship with her aunt or cause it to lose any of its wonder. Instead, in many ways, she now has to manage her expectations and may be able to find a voice to say some things to her aunt that she never thought she could say. I am a member of the generation that sees Iyanla as Aunt.

A Grace-full Course Correction

When it all boils down to it, I just want to live a grace filled life. I can’t close this painful chapter of my life and not recognize the ways I have to be different…healthier…better. I want to face this world with the same grace God gave me to survive it. That doesn’t mean that I will become passive but it does mean that I will hold space for all the ways people are reacting to life as it is happening to them. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t make mistakes and old habits won’t die hard but it does mean that I will have a greater intentionality with my words and actions. 

Church Girls Get Depressed, Too

Knowing God is able to heal my brokenness carried me to the pharmacy when my prescriptions needed to be refilled, allowed keep sessions with my therapist and attend my survivors group meetings. It is my faith that allows me to rest in the truth that God will not allow me to remain in this dark space forever. Living with a depressive condition has deepened my relationship with God. On my worst day, when I filled with doubt, I am not alone and I am still loved. Only a God who loves us can sit with us in our darkness and remind us that light is present.

Praying for Tina Campbell

The personal has always been political and theological for Black women. Sisters have always had to read ourselves into God’s love because there were always forces reading us out of it. So, when you vote against your very own humanity, one must question if you have ever had a deep, transformative encounter with the God you have been singing so beautifully about all these years. 

4:43

I wonder if you realize the cost we pay for loving men like you. My anxiety. Bey’s miscarriages. My cousin’s hair loss. Your homegirl’s weight gain. Depression. Suicidal ideation. Substance abuse. Retail therapy and maxed credit cards. Entertaining niggas we don’t even like just to feel wanted. So many forms of self-harm. We pay with our bodies. Sometimes our lives.

And the Leaves of the Tree are for Healing: Growing Lemons

We’ve all heard it before: when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But what happens when the lemons are rotten? When the mold has disfigured it just like the traumas have disfigured you? As much as I love Lemonade and as much as I knew my girl was trying to cheer me up in that moment using the Queen, I had to be honest and say that I didn’t want to make anything from or out of the trauma of the last two years. I’d grown tired of the assertion that my pains had to be productive. I had little to no agency in preventing these things from happening to me and I was of the mind that I wasn’t going to try to make something good out of things I never. If I was going to make lemonade, they would be from lemons I gave myself. And so, I decided to grow my own lemon tree.

For Sisters with Nothing Left to Give Up for Lent

If we are honest, many of us lack the capacity to "give up" anything during this season but we will still want to be reverent and honor this holy time. At the end of the day, we’re churched and it’s difficult to completely walk away from what we have been taught for any period of time. Perhaps this Lenten season will not be about fasting but giving ourselves permission to be refueled in the pursuit of joy. Could it be possible that, instead of “dying to ourselves”, we find ways to live into the abundant life Jesus came to give? 

Notes from Esther on Valentine's Day 2017

I intentionally write about singleness and the longing many of us feel because it’s real. Too often, we’re dismissed or told to be quiet. But we deserve to be seen and heard with all of our complexities. And, at the same time, our histories are not the fullness of our narratives. We are so much more than what has happened to us. We are more than bearers of painful legacies. We are more than rejected concubines and consolation handmaidens. We are much, much more. 

Oh How I Love White Jesus: On Travis Greene, Tina Campbell, Vicki Yohe and Paula White

For whatever reason, many Black Christian/Black Church celebrities are pushing to normalize this presidency and negating the tradition of resistance upon which Christianity stands. Maybe they don’t know it. Maybe they don’t know that early Christians chose certain death at the king’s hand over possible access to him. Maybe they don’t understand that this is the same kind of tyrannical leadership that forced Mary and Joseph to have a baby in the same place animals eat and poop. Maybe they don’t realize that this is the same kind of religious leadership that sentenced Jesus to death. But even If they didn’t know that, they know us. And we deserve better.

The Curious Case of Kim Burrell

I don’t know what the way forward is from this moment. All I know is I’m tired. I’m tired of my loved ones being treated inhumanely because we refuse to reconcile what we’ve been taught with the heart of God. And I’m tired of feeling like if I say the wrong thing, I will be characterized as homophobic or unloving. There has got to be a better way.

Black Women Deserve More Than Petty Pregnancy Preaching Metaphors

Female sexuality gets so routinely exploited in church that the objectification of Black women in the preaching moment has become normalized. Much of Black preaching happens on the backs and in between the legs of Black women and we really should be ashamed. But we are not because that would require we care about how our preaching impacts our largest and most dedicated constituency. And we don’t. We don't care at all.

Brandy, Monica and Black Girl Friendship Foolishness

I want to be clear: I do not think it's impossible for Black women to be friends and support each other without shade or malice. It happens every single day. Black women are each other's best friends. My girls hold me down- and I, them- and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way about her squad. So I'm not talking about those relationships. Still, I think there’s something, both, sad and disappointing about all this back and forth between these two that speaks to tensions that many Black women have with each other that never get named. We want so much to show that Black women support each other and are friends (this is necessary, believe me!) that we never provide space to deal with the fact that sometimes “I just don’t like that heffa” and my reasons for not liking her may be completely ridiculous.

What Shall We Say to These Things? The Implications of Black Women's Singleness

Companionship and intimacy matter for the fullness of life. And Jesus was clear that he came so that we all would be able to experience life in abundance. What if we saw Black women's singleness as an affront to the Cross? How might our ethical approach to this dilemma change then? What would happen if we saw taking seriously Black women's singleness as a form of worship- our reasonable service?