claire-deberg

Choosing Love: Adultery, Adoption, Abundance // Published

I’m excited to announce my essay, “Choosing Love: Adultery, Adoption, Abundance” was chosen as part of a publication of essays presented at a Women Doing Theology conference.

Here is how my essay begins…

“These stories are about love. More specifically they are about choosing love because, after all, love is a choice. Love doesn’t just show up and solve problems. Love doesn’t just appear and fix. Love must be invited. Love is available and powerful and here’s how Love created abundance in my life once I chose it.

I captured the neighborhood nickname: Beauty and the Beast All In One for fierceness on all levels of my being. Deep down I knew this about myself—knew I had power so I didn’t wield it. I didn’t drink like all my friends in high school. I didn’t smoke the weed when it was passed to me in the circle, I didn’t have sex before marriage or lie to my parents or swear like everyone around me was doing. I played life pretty guarded.

Then I went to Bethel University at 18, got engaged to John at 19 and was married at 20. Whoa. I was given a full scholarship to the University of Alaska Anchorage in an MFA program and our relationship looked like this: we’re best friends. We laugh. We pray. We love grocery shopping. We read each other poetry. What we don’t have much of is intimacy, but I think nothing of it because we’re married, after all, this just must be what marriage is like. I didn’t choose to make our sex life a priority but there was a surging inside me to. be. wanted. All of that swirling inside me was that fierceness like a hurricane in the middle of the ocean until that monster storm touched land and lives and here’s what happened.

A man in my MFA program in Alaska pursued me with a feverish impatience. It felt wonderful to be wanted. This was nothing like what John and I had, this was sick infatuation. So I did the unthinkable: I had sex with a man other than my husband….”

You can read the rest of my essay in the newly published collection for sale on Amazon here.

//

Here is the press release from Mennonite Church USA on the collection’s release:

Women Doing Theology Conference collection of papers released

Twenty of the papers presented at All You Need is Love: Honoring the Diversity of Women’s Voices in Theology, the first Women Doing Theology Conference hosted by the Women in Leadership Project (WLP) of Mennonite Church USA, are featured in a book that is now available.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with these essays over the last few months, and every time I came back to them I encountered something new — a new insight, a new idea, a new thought, a new challenge,” says WLP Coordinator Jenny Castro, who edited the 216-page collection from the February 2014 conference, which was held in Leesburg, Virginia. “This collection offers people across Mennonite Church USA and the broader church fresh perspectives on self, God and our role in the world.”

Castro says the collection reflects diverse voices of women doing theology across the denomination addressing the question, “What does it mean to love in the midst of a world rife with struggle and oppression?”

claire-deberg

All You Need Is Love book cover

The authors of the papers in the collection share their biblical and theological reflections on expressions of Christian love through a variety of topics, including disability, technology, farming, yoga, business, sexual ethics, birth and infant loss. They explore Christian ecofeminism, feminist perspectives on the crucifixion, Christian and indigenous identities, and scriptural authority. They share personal stories of receiving insight, guidance and healing.

The writers draw inspiration from Karen Baker-Fletcher, Pamela Cooper-White, Kelly Brown Douglas, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Lydia Neufeld Harder, Beverly Wildung Harrison, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Julian of Norwich, Sallie McFague, Kwok Pui-lan, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Ntozake Shange and Teresa of Avila, among others.

Contributors include Laura L. Brenneman, Tracy Neufeld, Christine J. Guth, Blanca R. Vargas, Suella Gerber, Sarah Ann Bixler, Anita Hooley Yoder, Claire DeBerg, Meg Lumsdaine, Katerina Friesen, Catherine Thiel Lee, Dorothy Yoder Nyce, Sarah Augustine, Erica Lea, Cathy Stoner, Maria C. Hosler Byler, Lindsay Mustafa Davis, Jane Hoober Peifer, Janet Stauffer, Kimberly Penner and Julia Feder.

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