“do the work your soul must have”
– Rev. Dr. Katie Cannon, Womanist Theologian and Ethicist
Dr. Katie Cannon pioneered the field of womanist discourse — creating a much needed space where black women could do God-talk and think through their lives and faith in a space that was not hemmed in by whiteness or patriarchy. In her life and work, Dr. Cannon helped women of color make a way out of no way, encouraging them to pursue vocations that didn’t follow traditional paths.
Her words continue to beckon and urge us. They remind us: You are called. By name. By baptism. Through grace and experience. To vocations that are not narrowly imagined or realized.
There are powerful forces and voices that can distort how we hear and imagine we can respond to the call God has on our life.
It is a constant practice to excavate our lives, as they continue to unfold, to hear again and afresh God’s voice speaking us into being, inviting us into the love-work of healing and liberation and ministry that we are all invited to be drawn into.
What if, right now, you stopped putting all the other things first? And you started with yourself. What if you started embracing the place you are, right now, fears and all, acknowledging what it is you are most afraid of — and choosing to dance with the fear?
What might you create? What light would shine forth, such that the darkness cannot overcome it? What keeps you from dancing with that fear, from putting your most important work first?
Maybe you’ve stopped believing in the fullness of your gifts because it’s been so long since someone else recognized them, or invited you to step into your gifts to share them with the world.
Maybe you’ve abandoned hope for institutional change and have made a life in the wilderness, finding means of survival. Maybe you have strategies to share with others about how to make a way out of no way.
Maybe you have shed desire for titles and are wanting to uncover the power of baptism: the authority granted by Jesus claiming you as one of the flock, commissioned for ministry and sent out in mission.
Maybe you are hungry for community — to know your way of expressing and practicing Church is part of a shared dream that is still unfolding.
Wherever you are, wherever you are coming from, welcome. You’re invited to bring your stuff. You’re invited to commit to doing the hard, emotional labor first, to show up to a space in order to seek wisdom, seek clarity and to dream.