I was ordained on January 12. This may come as a big surprise if you happen to have followed my life in the last year (an egotistical assumption, I know. I’m barely following my own life). In fact, it was about one year ago that I decided to NOT get ordained. I wrote this piece to help [...]
On Thursday, February 23, 2012, I made the most difficult decision of my life: I formally withdrew from the candidacy process for ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). At least for the time being, I will not be the Reverend Aanestad VII. I am thrilled that this decision frees me to more [...]
If it’s true that more and more of us are no longer affiliating with a religion, and even those of us who do have limited knowledge of that tradition, how long will interreligious dialogue remain a helpful, relevant tool? Interreligious dialogue is only as strong as the pillars that it stands on, and it appears as if those pillars may be crumbling. So while interreligious dialogue may serve key purposes now by helping to reduce bias, bridge communities, and mobilize disparate groups, what purpose will it serve in the future?
While modern mental health care has recognized the incredibly dangerous and often paralyzing effects of depression characterized by low self-esteem, feeling worthless, and feeling as if one is being rightfully punished, certain brands of Christian fundamentalism seem to continue to preach a destructive theology of sin that I argue enhances those feelings and increases the [...]
Though I didn’t lose a leg that night, I did lose something else: a naïve belief that my body was somehow exempt from death. My time as a student chaplain in the hospitals of Oxford taught me to cognitively recognize the universal mortality of the human condition, but it was not until the needles were taped to my skin, the doctors were reading my charts, and the purple, atrophied leg was my own that it hit me. If not now, then some day, I will die. Yesterday at 11:08 PM someone did die.
When I first read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, I knew I would never be the same. I was a 21-year-old English major completely enthralled with Gothic literature, but nothing prepared me for the monster I was about to meet in between the pages of a now tattered book. Much like the day I first picked up [...]
I preached this sermon at Oxford University’s Keble College during an Evensong service. The service was one of the last of the academic year and took place during final exams. I preached it less than a week from my final departure from Oxford. Grace and peace to you all. My name is Kari Aanestad, and [...]
What is a “miracle” really? Colloquially speaking we tend to associate the word “miracle” with a specific event that is not explainable in natural terms, and the outcome of that event seems to be inspired or caused by divine agency. A miracle is a happy ending – a sudden and divine solution to a seemingly [...]
She never saw it coming, and then there was peanut butter everywhere. Her new khaki pants were ruined, the whole classroom burst out laughing, and she didn’t come back to school for the rest of the day. She was my best friend, we were 13, and it was all my fault. Earlier that day I [...]
Whenever people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I almost always had the same answer: Ariel. I wanted nothing more than her thick, red hair, tiny waist, and natural gift for song. Her codependent fish friend Flounder, stern babysitter crab Sebastian, and scatterbrained seagull Scuttle were unlike any friends I [...]
Kari (24) is in her third year of a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, MN. Her passion for interfaith dialogue has emerged while traveling to over 20 countries in the past five years, and she currently lives in Oxford, England with her husband Brian.