The Mad and Crip Theology Podcast

Season 2, Episode 1: Amy Panton & Miriam Spies

April 22, 2022 Amy Panton and Miriam Spies Season 2 Episode 1
The Mad and Crip Theology Podcast
Season 2, Episode 1: Amy Panton & Miriam Spies
Show Notes Transcript

We're flipping the tables today. Laura MacGregor interviews Amy and Miriam about their work!

Amy talks about her research on self-injury, and Miriam talks about her research on faith leaders with disabilities in the church. 

Watch on Youtube with captions here: 

Welcome to the Mad and Crip Theology Podcast,
hosted by Miriam Spies and Amy Panton, which

comes out of the Canadian Journal of Theology,
Mental Health and Disability. We both live

and work lands that have been homes and remain
homes to the Mississaugas of the Credit, the

Haudenosaunee, the Huron Wendat, the Neutral;
and the Ojibway/Chippewa peoples and other

peoples who have cared for the land. We are
grateful for the opportunity to live and work

on this land and are mindful of the need to
repair broken covenants. This podcast is an

opportunity to model how faith communities 
can engage in theological and spiritual conversations

around madness and cripness. If you need a
full transcript you can find videos on our

Youtube channel. We want to say before we
begin that topics and conversations we are

raising throughout our time together are often
hard! They are hard for mad and crip people

ourselves and hard for our families and loved
ones. So, do what you need to do to take care

of yourselves, your bodies, minds, and hearts.
And now, here is our episode.

Welcome to the Mad and Crip Theology Podcast we're so happy to be with you today and Miriam and I are joined by our dear friend Laura MacGregor and today we thought we would do something a little different we decided we're going to flip the flip the script or turn the tables today and Miriam and I are going to talk about the research we're doing for our PhDs and Laura is going to be asking us some questions so we're really excited for this opportunity we've had a few people ask us to you know we want to hear from you and Miriam what are you guys working on so today's of the day so so welcome Laura. Thank you I’m excited to be here I’m looking forward to hearing more about your work. Thanks well Laura has uh devised some very excellent questions that she's going to be asking us leading us through the next hour so we're very excited so so please Laura take it away. All right well thanks so much um I’m thrilled that yeah I’m thrilled that I’m the one who gets to ask the questions today and I don't need to be nervous about whether I have any meaningful answers so I I like the fact that you guys are in the hot seat yes. We get to be nervous today.

Yay, all right um so I was wondering if we could start with the classic elevator pitch about your work so um if each of you could maybe take a few minutes and provide a quick summary uh that captures the the themes of your work um ideally in everyday language that would be great so who wants to go first who's what's your elevator pitch summarizing your work?

I can go if if uh I’ll take the plunge so okay so so my work my research is on self-injury so self-injury is when you burn or cut or bruise your skin and the sort of clinical definition is that it's with the absence of suicidal intent so basically people self-injure in order to feel better usually when things are going a little bit crazy in their lives and their emotions are all over the place they're experiencing intense emotions people might self-injure in order to make to have a calm or peace come over them and the flip side of that is they may self-injure in order to feel something instead of nothing so my research is investigating the lived experience of people who self-injure so that the church can provide care for people who do this and it is a big thing uh recent some recent studies have come out about one in four people within the United States it's about the same for here in Canada self-injure and it's not only sort of in the Global North it also impacts a lot of people around the world so more research is coming out from different countries China, Indonesia, um the Middle East, um not it's not just a and Europe um and a lot of people are doing this so my my research is just asking why is this going on and how can the church respond in a caring and loving way because there hasn't been a lot of response from the church up until this point from the social sciences we've seen a lot from psychiatry and psychology over the past hundred years but not from theology theology has been a little bit silent I might say on this topic so I want to dig in my my research is looking at memoirs written by people who self-injure and I want to figure out what's happening you know why is it happening and how can the church respond in a healing way so that was my elevator pitch I hope that was good. That was very helpful, thank you, I just have a one quick follow-up question so are there memoirs specifically theological in in uh in nature are they geared to be spiritual journeys or are they memoirs of self-injury? There's a few that are written from sort of like a quote-unquote Christian perspective so the memoirists themselves might have a Christian faith um but no well actually there's one written like by a Christian kind of like for a Christian audience and all the rest of them are just like regular folks who are writing about their life experience but I was surprised as I and I’ve been surprised as I’ve been going through and doing my research that most if not all of the memoirs mention God somewhere um whether it's through you know regular spiritual practices like going to church and praying and that kind of stuff or it might be the faith of someone's grandparents or parents so it's all kind of like intertwined and that's what I’m trying to tease out you know where's God in this phenomenon of self-injury and how can the church um respond in a way that is not damaging to people self-injure and we'll probably get into some of that a little bit more later today.

Thank you thank you that was very helpful. Miriam um can you share a quick elevator pitch summarizing your work in everyday language?

Yeah um so my work comes from my own personal experience of being ordained in the United Church and then struggling to find a position when I was ordained. Before I was ordained I used the logic to say my disability is not all of me it's part of me and so I like, I preach the same way, I do pastoral care the same way, I lead worship the same way as the norm,

and looking back on that I think I was very naïve, that's a naive way of looking at my body through the normative gaze and so I went into PhD work and Tom Reynolds introduced me to disability and crip studies where they write about bodies being disruptive and creating something different than the norm, not better or worse, just different, so my work now is pairing crip studies with theology which doesn't happen that often to imagine what crip ministers offer to the church that's different from the norm and that can be life-giving as life giving as other ministers and so I’m hoping to

use incarnational theology, theology of preaching, pastoral care and sacraments and think about them through the crip lens to imagine how how it could be, how my ministry might function in the church.

Is that in every day language day I hope? It is though I am going to ask a follow-up question as well um for those people who may be listening and aren't familiar with the terms would you mind giving a very quick description of what crip studies are and what incarnational theology is? Oh my okay crip studies is like

um disability studies but on a slant, so they they interrogate the normalcy of

bodies but they do so in a way that imagines something else so like crip time doesn't just imagine more time for disabled bodies, it imagines a bending of time so that

you may not necessarily need more time all the time but you need some more time here and here and so, I'm not being very articulate,

but it's kind of like queer studies in in looking at it on this slant and this disrupting societal norms. And incarnational theology is theology of the body of being created in God's image of Jesus Christ coming in human flesh and so what does that mean for us in relationship to God to our bodies and to other bodies, who do we count as holy and beloved and how does that transform our relationships and our theology? 

Thank you, that's really helpful. I I do find the description of of crip studies and the bending this idea of bending on a slant where uh needs move away and come closer creating distinct and unusual or unique spaces I find that a really helpful description so thank you that that that does help. Alright um Amy so you explore self-injury um and you acknowledge in some of your work that this is an interesting and perhaps complicated tension when we consider the Christian tradition that looks to an injured and suffering Savior, I know this is something that I’ve always spent time thinking about and struggling with at times um I find it particularly problematic when looking at boundary setting around women and responsibilities. How to how do you how do you deal with that um when sacrifice is really held up as a desirable um nor may not be the right word but but sort of when the Savior we look to is is really uh embedded in a narrative of sacrifice, so I’m I’m really interested in how you sort of live into this tension or address this tension between injury and suffering and the Christian narrative that in some way celebrates suffering and injury um and in particular how how do you address this for vulnerable people who may be trying to establish some protective boundaries?

Yeah this is an excellent question. I um I think there's a lot of different ways I could answer it for you Laura I think I’m gonna start and then we'll see where we go, so um I think one of the things that I want to try to do in my work is encourage pastoral caregivers and psycho-spiritual therapists and and other folks who might be providing care in a sort of formal or perhaps informal setting to people whose self-injuries to perhaps consider more of a nuanced view of self-injury nuanced and informed, because what I’ve found in my research is that there seems to be a very black and white thing that happens with regards to self-injury um and that is that it is wrong it is wrong it is bad if you should not do it you need to go to therapy immediately and you need to stop, and I’m not I’m not advocating for self-injury and saying that I would never say that I would want somebody to start self-injuring because it's not a healthy coping mechanism, there are other ways that we can learn to cope with our emotions, on the other hand what I’ve read is that a lot of people have been really hurt by ministers and other people in the church who react either with disgust outright disgust that a person is doing this and the person becomes disgusting or fear that's sort of the other emotion that comes up which is this person should no longer allow to vol to volunteer at our church, they should be stripped of their leadership and they should um take a time out I guess while they go and have therapy and and do some inner work. Um and so I think that's kind of like one part of it the other part of it is that with regards to the suffering Savior so um in my dissertation I’m presenting like a literature review on self-injury and how it's like popped up um in theological history um throughout time and you know like we could go like way back uh way way back to the self-injury exists in the bible it's talked about um the prophets of Baal uh hurt themselves slash themselves and also Mark chapter five is another chapter that's often talked about uh when people are writing about self-injury and theology and that's when Jesus encounters the Geresane demoniac and he cuts himself with stones and he lives among the tombs and Jesus comes and has an encounter with him and liberates him um, and so you know that we can go forward a little bit more Origen one of the fathers of the church castrated himself uh because he didn't want to become uh have an attraction to his students, uh we can go forward a little bit more you know um a lot of the um there's some research that has come out on people who are preparing for a battle during the crusades who would carve crosses on their foreheads and shoulders and backs because this is a part of their pre-battle ritual, going forward a little bit more you know women who would slice off their noses blind themselves cut their face so that they wouldn't have to be married to a man they could stay married to Christ these are people who wanted to become a part of the um serve their lives as working as like a nun or you know we can go forward a little more there's so many of these instances in the history of Christianity you know acetic uh people um saints who would you know self-flatuate cut themselves wear hair shirts and I could go on and on and on so this sort of thread is woven throughout Christianity um and so what I what I’m hoping is that people will this is what I was talking about when I was talking about the nuance, I hope that when people encounter people who self-injure whether it's in their faith communities or like just like regular people you might meet here or there um they'll have a little bit more compassion for people who are self-injuring because they're not the first ones who've done this it's been around for a long time and I think there needs to be um a little bit more kind of a nuanced or like I said informed conversation that can go on with people I hope that made sense.

Yeah thank you so much that's that's actually very helpful and my guess is we may go a little bit further down this conversation as we begin to examine some of the pastoral care implications so I’m looking forward to that conversation thank you. So Miriam I’m gonna bring us back to questions about the word crip so in your work you use the word crip often you and you work within crip studies and I found as I was reading your work it's an adjective at times it's describing something it might even be a verb in in an example being to crip a space um and I I became very interested in this word as I read your work and so I’m curious to hear you maybe expand a little bit more on on the word crip and why why you use the word crip the way you do um what does it mean to you and how does this particularly I think maybe with respect to your work on your conversation around crypt studies and how it asks us to bend and rethink of time and space um how does that stretch our theological imagination when we think about bodies.

Another easy one there for me thanks Laura um so crip

first comes from cripple and it's a way of reclaiming that word by crips so and I and I like really make Nancy Mairs' description of crip, it makes people

stop and think about it and it draws people because no no we're not about to use that word anymore for so such and such 

and so I like the disruptive nature of that word because it points to the disruptive nature of our bodies and minds and they, I've followed in the path of crip studies and disability studies like Alison Kafer and Robert McClure and others who use it as a verb to crip time to crip space to make spaces not only accessible to people but where people feel at home in their bodies and minds in that space so one writes about crip space being something like crip church even though she's never been to church, this elusive and holy ground where crip bodies are desired and made to feel like they're at home, it goes beyond welcome and inclusion

so I think in theology it can push people beyond um theologies of belonging which I find to be

I find to focus on assimilation versus diversity

whether or not that's the intention, that's how it experienced belonging and so I wrote a paper that's um coming out soon, fairly soon, on the Supercrip Body of Christ,

where the church has made these super crips and called us 

prophets but demand more and more from our bodies without making space for them

so I think it's a way to widen our theological

conversations and deepen them beyond messages of belonging and beyond um stories are important but I don't think stories change society I think getting below the stories and pulling up the the ugliness of ableism and normalcy will help the church be the church with God's people.

Thank you I actually that was very helpful. I know I’ve struggled at times with some of the the work around inclusion and I like really appreciate how you frame it if I’m hearing you correctly as going beyond belonging and welcome and inclusion to a deep sense of holy ground and at-homeness am I hearing that correctly yeah I find that distinction very helpful thank you for making it um I I was writing some notes down as I was listening to you because I I really like that that's it's it's it's an area I’ve felt a bit hiccupped as well as I’m trying to sort of think through so you've that's been an enormously helpful distinction thank you.

Amy you in your work um you align if I’m reading your work correctly you are aligning much of your work with um with narratives ground in the lived experience and emerging from very much a survivor's lens um can you maybe elaborate a little bit more about that piece and what that means to you and why that distinction is important and as we think about theological and pastoral implications of your work? Yeah sure so um Miriam was talking about how her work is uh using crip studies as a dialogue partner and my work uses mad studies as a dialogue partner so I see mad studies as being kind of like the rebellious cousin of critical disability studies, um it's a little bit newer um and it's also a little bit more um I don't know like in your face I don't know if that's the best way to say it but um it's very when I first started reading about the cfsx movement and csxm movement the consumer survivor x patient mad movement I thought oh boy this is what I’ve been looking for this is the way this is what's really going to help me kind of like frame out what I want to talk about and I want to like become a part of this conversation um because like I don't know I know Miriam and I have talked about this before like um I find like in theology we can kind of I feel anyway we we're behind a lot of the time like we're like kind of like tr I feel like we're always trying to catch up um and I hope that with some of the work that Miriam and I are doing we're like kind of like propelling ourselves forward a bit um in what theology can do and the kind of conversations that like theology like honestly should be a part of because there are people of faith and there there are people who have obviously have like like spirituality is like a really big part of their lives who are crip and mad people and it's like how are we um what kind of dialogue can these two can crip and crin crip studies have with theology and can mad studies have with theology and all of us together probably that that's kind of what we're trying to do with the journal with the podcast. So um okay so the the mad studies um is really important to me because it kind of like it's like a it's like a check and balance like it basically um moves the seat of power from the sort of quote-unquote professional to the like just regular person who has lived experience of mental, emotional or spiritual distress and one of the things that's really important is that it sees mad people as being reliable incredible sources of knowledge so a lot of the time what happens is when a person receives a diagnosis it's like this automatic thing happens where and I’ll just speak from my own experience where you're not reliable anymore, you're seen as like that person with that diagnosis and you need to like have a doctor like explain everything to you about what's going on and why it's going on and this sort of like like I said kind of like flips the switch a little bit and um makes space for and like um honours the voices of people with lived experience. So um when it comes to the pastoral care part my opinion is that when it comes to self-injury a lot of the stuff that's been written and that's kind of like floating around on the internet from a sort of like a Christian perspective is a lot of these people who are in the normal seat of power talking about what should be done instead of sitting and listen and being quiet and listening to what the people who have this experience are saying about what they need, it's a lot of like this is what we've done in the past and this is what will work and you know I’m sick of it to be honest and I really want to see um I really want to listen to what these people have to say because they know, um they're the experts in their own life and they're the ones who can tell us where we should be going and what we should be doing. I was reading something the other day um from like a liberation theology perspective and there's this idea of people being the protagonists in the story like people with live just lived experience of self-injury having like this experience of being elevated to to being the protagonist as opposed to being like a side character so I want to see that happen. I think the other thing with the mad studies is that I want I really want with some of my teaching as well people to know how badly mad people have been treated throughout history because I think there's at least for myself I knew how a lot of people with physical and intellectual disabilities have been treated but I didn't know as much about the mad people um you know even like I just read a paper the other day about the history of lobotomies in Ontario and how people will people who are with quote-unquote mental illness lobotomized um,

yeah and the one the one last thing that I might say about the the mad pride movement or the mad studies side is that um there's an explicit rejection of the biomedical approach so seeing people with lived experience of mental and about and emotional distress as quote unquote broken and in need of a quote-unquote cure so most of the time this cure is like a lot of people say tell me your story I’ll give you a diagnosis and I’ll give you some meds, this is like the cycle that we get stuck in um or there's like these quote-unquote treatments like you know electroshock therapy, restraints, like I said before lobotomies force confinement so the mad studies side the mad pride side really interrogates this what what we're doing as a in Canada around the world to people who are mad and and uh they want we want better we want better treatment we want to be seen as people who are credible, reliable people.

Thank you so much it's one of the things that I love about both of your work is how deeply it's embedded in the lived experience and and it explores um this interrelationship between lived experience expertise, power, knowledge, who gets to hold it, I really value your contributions to that conversation so thank you for that. Miriam so returning to pastoral care um as you know I’m very interested in care and the dance of care in some ways in terms of the dance between people who receive care and provide care and you speak of that in your work and you particularly explore how people with leadership positions in the church who live with disabilities both receive and provide care and how this can be very disruptive and it really challenges many of our understandings of care and you then explore this idea of intimacy and crip theology with regard to care which intrigued me and I'd like to hear a little bit more about that so if you could maybe explain that a little bit further and then um expand on this discussion in terms of how it maybe allows us to develop a more holistic understanding of care um broadly speaking, theologically speaking, I’ll stop now thanks.

And I would just say that I'm at the very beginning of trying to figure out this puzzle so I will maybe give some edge pieces today but they don't have the whole picture sorted out.

So I’m tying pastoral care with access intimacy which is a term that Mia Mingus uses, she coined the term. She's a Korean, disabled, queer

American Korean American disabled queer woman who talks about access intimacy 

versus forced intimacy and she said, "It's this elusive feeling when someone else gets your access needs,

sometimes by complete strangers, disabled or not and sometimes it's built over the years." She said, "It could also be the way your body relaxes and opens up once with someone when all your access needs are being met." And so that relaxation of the body reminded me of a good pastoral care relationship when needs are being met, emotional needs but also like

physical need also also spiritual needs.

The summer I did some pastoral care with my families and there was one family who had a bad car accident and this woman had a bad concussion and I’ve had many too many concussions over the years and so that those moments of sitting with her and being  able to understand not fully but understand what she was going through, I think was a comfortable space for her to be in and it allowed her to share more deeply and more profoundly with me. Now you may have to ask her if that was the case but that's my impression of that.  And so this this access intimacy makes me think of Jesus when he met people and listened to their stories and knew knew what they needed in that time and space and because he was Jesus he was able to offer exactly what was needed and I think you know clergy can't live up to that ideal, we're not the Messiah, but we we can be more in tuned with people's needs and so that's that's what I imagine an access intimacy in those relationships and it is also I think provides a way of talking about communal care so that it's not only one person's offerings and one person receiving, it's multiple people offering and receiving because that's who who we are as Christians we're we're multiple people caring for one another and sharing intimate holy moments at our best moments.

Thank you um that's I I’m particularly interested in the idea of access intimacy in a caregiving relationship so I’ll look forward to reading your work on that as it evolves I think it it's a really interesting idea and uh yeah I’m just interested in learning more thank you for sharing that. Um so I have some questions that um are really directed to both of you so I’m going to just lob them out and then you guys can decide how you'd like to respond whether you'd like to yeah jointly respond, take turns yeah your call so as I was reading your work one of the things that really struck me is that really you are both deeply concerned with the body and embodiment um and so I as I I really tried to get my head around your work and the questions you're struggling with I was curious about how you feel sort of embodiment and bodies and sort of theology of the body um is important to your work um but also maybe your theology um and you know and how that then in sort of sort of intertwines with the lived experience so it's it's sorry it's a complicated muddied question but I I’m interested in this idea of the theology of the body and how you see the body informing your work um yeah what do you think?

Miriam would you want to take a stab at it or do you want me to? I can.

It wasn't a well articulated question I apologize but I’ll let you guys have fun with that. No it's a it's a good question I think it goes back to my incarnational our incarnational theology as Christians and how I was I would I’ve been doing some work on my preaching chapter lately

and reading about how the pulpits were set up for certain kinds of bodies, for male white tall bodies 

to fit into that space, 

and how often women or other people wear albs in an attempt to cover their body or to to get away from those sexiest conversations of oh I love your dress today oh I love those shoes you were wearing,

but how I’ve been thinking of it is I can't hide my body even when when I wear an alb my wheelchair is visible and so my body in that wheelchair is visible and so we need to have a positive view of bodies to do,

to see that we're all created in God's image, in Jesus' image, and we're here to celebrate God's presence in us.

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson who's a disability studies prof and writer, she writes about the significance of staring and staring back so she says staring is the normative gaze, disabled by this, but staring back we're saying no we're supposed to be here, preaching or dancing or performing we're supposed to be here, look at our bodies and see that we exist so it it um

it goes against the crip erasure, the erasing of bodies that can happen

so my my lived experience of being stared and being uncomfortable with the stare to inviting the stare as a preacher has informed me how I think about my body in in church and in society.  I’m not sure if that answered your question at all but I think there's there's something there about about inviting the stare and saying no I am different and I am disabled and that's okay and that I belong here oh I hate the words belongings I am here to preach, I am here to offer care.

Yeah I wonder if this idea of this I you know this is my home you know a home is your space and so I am here I am in my home and therefore I have you know sort of the responsibility and the authority and um you know all of all of the yeah I like how you you weave it into um sort of demanding us to go beyond inclusion and belonging and to think about presence and home and yeah I just I find that very helpful thank you.

I might riff off something that Miriam was saying too just for a moment this idea of hiding the body I think is really something that um is important for my research too because so many people who self-injure hide their wounds from others um this is a this is a a big thing and um a lot of the times let's say when pastoral caregivers are given a list of you know quote-unquote what to look for for kids in their youth group who might be self-injuring at the top of that list will always be wearing long sleeves in hot weather constantly having um you know bulky clothing on to hide what's what's happened and um I think there's a there's something to be said about a theology of um of being able feeling the at-homeness enough to be able to show someone what has happened what is happening uh and show your wounds and you know sort of on the more like uh um the side of like policy when it comes to self-injury is like a good question that youth ministers have to grapple with is if a if a young person comes into our church with fresh self-injury cuts do we ask them to cover them up because social contagion is a real thing and other kids might learn about how to self-injure from this person so there's a there's a debate that's going on about should somebody be asked to cover up because they might unintentionally

um not encourage but they might unintentionally

cause I don't know if that's right word peop other people to do this or should they be should they be asked to to to cover up and these are all questions that I’m thinking about like from a theological perspective um I’m not sure if I really have all the answers but I think Miriam's um I I thank Miriam for bringing up the idea of hiding and today that's that was really interesting to think about so thanks Miriam.

Yeah thank you so much this has been really helpful and interesting so sort of the last question which I’ll launch out to both of you is how do you hope this work you're doing will impact the church church leadership and people in the church what do you what are your hopes for your work?

Uh who wants to go first? I might I might start us off so um I was thinking about this question yesterday and um when Miriam and I were writing our editorial for the the spring issue of the journal that came out we were thinking about the issue that just came out is a lot of writing from people with lived experience of taking psychiatric medications for different things different mental health conditions and so we wanted to see this this issue as um like an offering to God from a group of crip and mad saints we really want to see um we really want to like join with other crip and mad people who are

who either have said something already or who want have something to say um and who want to join us in this work that we're doing and we also wanted to um offer up the issue free from shame um free from shame of because we're disabled because we're not sane that God God gets us and and accepts us and the other thing that that I’m hoping will happen sort of out of my research and also through our journal work is that we're not necessarily um looking for like shiny and polished work from people uh as they're joining into this conversation we're looking for like sort of like raw and hurt and angry voices to come and talk about what's going on because we just want to like wade into the muck of it all and be a part of this conversation that like pre-dates us but also is like moving forward in time so yeah we we hope that we can continue to like wade into the depths with people.

And I would agree with all of Amy, what Amy shared and say for my work I want I would love for the church to take disabled and crip bodies seriously and our leadership and

not hold us up for moments in time

to say how diverse so inclusive we are but to take seriously the different ways of ministry that we offer returning to my opening opening remarks about how people can offer ministries that that are different and that brings bring God's vision of the kindom and trace that other people can't and we don't offer in ways other people can and it goes both ways but I'm hoping it opens up people's imagination to even consider having crip and mad folks in leadership positions now that's a lofty goal um I’m not sure if the thesis can do that but

for the three or four readers that have to read my thesis are  
um proud of that work and can help me help me share it further

well you know I already think that anything you write is golden and is going to change the world so I think there's going to be more than three or four people reading your work Miriam. Me too. Yeah so I’m looking at the time and I’m aware we're sort of coming up at the one hour mark um I’m just wondering do you guys have any final thoughts about your work that you'd like to share or any questions for each other that you'd like to ask before we say goodbye.

I might just say briefly I’ve been um very um appreciative I remember when I first started doing my PhD my supervisor Pam McCarroll said kept saying to me Amy you have like trust the process and um I really I really think that that was very wise and um I think that I wasn't quite sure like what this whole journey would be like when I first started um in 2017 but I feel that um it's been like such a it's been a humbling experience for me because I realize how much I don't know and how much I will never know but this tiny slice that I’ve been have the privilege of being able to research and think about over the past couple of years has just really been life-changing for me and I feel like it's um if anyone who's listening is thinking about doing a doing more theological research or pursuing doctoral work I would definitely encourage you to do it because um I’ve just seen myself grow in so many ways I never in a million years thought would have thought that I would be on a podcast let alone you know having the guts and courage to sort of journal and all these beautiful things that I’ve grown out of um meeting you know my friend Miriam and you Laura and others who have been on this journey with me so I’m very thankful to God for all of these blessings

Yeah it is a real privilege to do this work and to reflecting though it's very tiring I’ve been napping a lot but even though I get I don't know the normal amount of sleep at night so I think that's something to say do this if you do this

you will be tired and that's that's okay, Have a nap, no one will know except the podcast listeners now but it's so important for the church, for the field of theology and for yourself it's really been significant learning about myself as I do this work so thank you Laura for asking the hard questions today.

Thank you so much for inviting me this was so much fun and I guess I just I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity to thank you both for the work you're doing you I think are the work you're doing with the Canadian Journal and with these podcasts and with um really creating this wonderful space for all of us to have these really exciting conversations without the pressure of having all the answers um and that this appreciation that the journey and the exploration is is a whole lot of the fun and where some of the magic happens and I’m just enormously grateful for the work you're doing and the risks you're taking in this work um and then today for sharing your work and for allowing the tables to be turned and and jumping into the hot seats and uh and answering some of the questions and I look forward to reading more of your work I look forward to these conversations that we'll continue to have um and I’m just enormously grateful that I get to share this journey with you so thank you, thank you for everything you're doing and thank you for including me and thank you for your answers and uh the conversation today it's been really wonderful thank you.