To Drink From the Silver Cup: From Faith Through Exile and Beyond

To Drink From the Silver Cup: From Faith Through Exile and Beyond

by Anna Redsand


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938288722
Publisher: Terra Nova Books
Publication date: 09/01/2016
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Anna Redsand started life as a child of Protestant missionaries on the huge Navajo reservation, until the bigotry of that world launched her on a lifelong spiritual quest. As often happens for those growing up in a culture different from their own, her life since then has been a restless one. She has moved many times—crossing nations and continents—been a teacher, counselor, operating room technician, housecleaner, researcher, supermarket cashier, and hospice worker. She has been practicing her true love—being a full-time writer—since 2010.

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Over the years I found myself picking up the works of Christians I respected. These were thoughtful, intelligent, inclusive, socially conscious people. I kept asking myself, how does Anne Lamott do it? Why is John Shelby Spong still a Christian? What enabled Marcus Borg to return to the church? If they can be Christians, what can I learn from them? Could they be pointing a way that might allow me to return to the church? Most of my family would contend that some of these folks are not Christians because they are not their kind of Christians. But they are people who have struggled with the beliefs that lie at the heart of Christianity. In the process, they found a way to claim Christianity for themselves.

I wondered, too, about all the Diné I know who have remained Christian. I understood Navajos who had left Christianity, but what about the ones who have stayed? What holds them there? I’ve asked myself this, but I’ve been reluctant to ask my friends. I felt that if they were content, I didn’t want to sow doubt.

I also repeatedly asked myself an obvious question as I looked at the lives of the people who claim Christianity: Why would I want to be connected in any way with a church that had so roundly rejected me? Why would I want to belong to an institution whose basis for existence I no longer believed in? I was pretty sure my desire was the same as what got Nelson Willy singing the old songs as he approached death—the longing for one’s deepest and oldest connections. As Jeanette Winterson, another lesbian raised to be a preacher, writes in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? “If you are raised on the Bible, you don’t just walk away, whatever anybody says.”

Most of the time I felt hopeless about the idea of returning to the church. Part of me wanted to return, wanted to recreate what had become the greatest loss in my life. Yet I couldn’t remake what I had lost and at the same time be myself. Besides, on the few occasions when I attended a CRC, I saw that it no longer looked so much like what I’d left behind. It had changed, too—in some ways for the better and in other ways that I didn’t care for, ways that had done away with the marks of home. What I missed most often—the songs—had changed. An old hymn might be sandwiched in now and then, but mostly they sang new ones, and these were projected on the walls without musical notes, which I need if the song is new and I’m going to harmonize.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Preface xiii

Prologue: Leaving 3

Part I Communion 9

1 Family Circle 11

2 A Circle of Trees 21

3 The Sheep and the Goats 27

4 Missionaries 37

5 The Outer Circle 45

6 Inheritance 53

7 The Test and the Prize 63

8 Bliss 73

9 Villains 77

10 Glimpses 87

11 The Tie That Binds 95

Part II Exile 99

12 Out and in Again 101

13 Emptying 109

14 The Family Hold 115

15 Refuge in the Wilderness 121

16 Mission in the Wilderness 127

17 Drawn 135

18 The Mystical Way in Scandinavia 141

19 God Again 151

20 Forays 159

21 A Good Stranger 167

22 Longing for Home 175

23 Preparing the Lab 183

Part III The Experiment 193

24 The Hypothesis 195

25 Same, Same but Different 205

26 Saturday Nights and Sunday Mornings 215

27 Old Questions and New Answers 223

28 Men in Straw Hats 229

29 Ebb and Flow 237

30 The Test Again 247

31 Panic Saturday 253

32 Passage 261

33 The Silver Cup 271

Epilogue 279

Appendix A 289

Appendix B 303

Appendix C 307

About Anna Redsand 315

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