I can picture it now: the old man with a scowl eyes me suspiciously from the bed as I stand in the hospital room doorway. He has just come out of open heart surgery, or has been given a terminal cancer diagnosis this morning, or he’s here to live out his last days with the help of some good strong meds. I am his chaplain, and he asks me one devastating four-word question: “Are you a Christian?”
Spending a year reading the Bible to seven year-olds in a Unitarian Universalist church, I learned to walk a very fine line – between narrating stories and sharing Scripture. Even as a non-Christian, if I speak of these tales as nothing more than “old stories,” I feel I’m being a bit disingenuous. After all, they’re more than that. Aren’t they?
I grew up in one of the biggest mall towns in America; a commercial capital, another kind of religious heartland, where the faithful make regular pilgrimages from points far and near. The mall and the commercial culture it represented was my first house of worship.
Lee is an MDiv candidate at Harvard Divinity School, preparing for ordination as a Unitarian Universalist (UU) minister. She spent the last five years doing community-based youth development and health action work in Washington, DC, and has a BA in psychology and women’s studies from Swarthmore College.