A Significant Amount of American Christians are Inflicting Hell on Earth

by Rev. Chris Dela Cruz

Over the weekend of Dec. 13, as U.S. COVD-19 deaths climbed past the grim milestone of 300,000, thousands of folks who called themselves Christians flooded Washington D.C. without abandon or masks for the “Jericho March” — presumably an illusion to the Biblical story where Joshua’s army marched around the city of Jericho praying for God to break down its walls. In fact, the founder of Jericho March claims he had a vision where God woke him up and said “it’s not over,” granting him a vision of the Jericho March, and introducing him to a woman who had the same vision.

The speaking-for-God marchers called the “election fraud” an assault on Christian values in America and a massive conspiracy against God’s will. A pastor on stage told the crowd that they were about to cross the Red Sea like the Israelites, but though Pharaoh’s army was coming, “God is about to do something in this country that is going to take the threats we’re dealing with and put it down.”

Eric Metaxas, the Bonhoeffer biographer who wrote about the theologian’s resistance to the dangerous idol worship of Nazism infecting Germany, looked up at the sky during the rally as helicopters flew by, presumably carrying the president, and said “”Praise God! Thank you Jesus! God bless America!… That’s not the Messiah, that’s just the President.”

“Why didn’t your mother abort you?” one speaking-for-God marcher yelled at a counter-protestor. “You’re mentally disturbed, and you’re a coward, and you’re a f—–. I hope you get AIDS.”

And during the night, these saints of Christ tore down Black Lives Matter signs at multiple historically black churches, which “shockingly” received little police intervention or mass media coverage on what are genuinely shocking threatening acts well in line with America’s history of white supremacy and attacks on black churches.

My first thought as a Presbyterian pastor, to be honest, was “what the hell?” That got me thinking, though, about what these same folks thought about hell. Because it seems like it’s often the same folks who are judging which people get to go to hell or not are the ones causing hell on earth for people.

One of America’s most famous hell preachers, of course, was Jonathan Edwards. A renowned evangelist preacher who would eventually become President of Princeton University, Edwards famously preached, “the God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked; his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire.”

Historians found another sermon of his on a piece of scrap paper, but its significance was not in the words written down but what he chose to write his notes on: a bill of sale for the purchase of a “Negro girl named Venus,” a 14-year-old human child sold in bondage to the Christian good-news-of-the-gospel-preacher Jonathan Edwards.

Edwards was damning people to hell while creating hell for the enslaved.

Gehenna, alluded to by Jesus and translated often as “hell,” was a place where ancient peoples sacrificed children and people to the gods and eventually became a huge garbage and sewage pit that would often erupt in flames — a dumpster fire, if you will.

Meanwhile, the dumpster fire of the last few years has revealed all sorts of ways that America has for a long time sacrificed human beings to the gods of America. We murder black people as a human sacrifice at the altar of white supremacy, most obviously revealed in the human sacrifice/public lynching of George Floyd. We sacrifice children and families at the border to deter migrants from spoiling our country’s melting pot of whiteness. We literally sacrifice kids constantly to the god of the AK-47, the graves of our children the price paid for our national hobby. We sacrificed entire indigenous communities, whose blood runs down the roots of the stolen land of this country’s founding. And on and on.

And this American Hell-scaping has culminated in the tragic-but-chosen international embarrassment of our handling of COVID-19, where we have collectively decided that the lives of our elderly, of our vulnerable populations with normally non-threatening pre-existing conditions, of black and brown folks in disproportionally affected communities – that all of the horror that has been inflicted on them and on all of us is worth it for “the freedom to harm,” as Ibram X. Kendi puts it.

The folks at the D.C. rally were not outliers. This hellish-possession of Christians is a widespread enough phenomenon that a number of moderate to conservative Christians are sounding the alarm.

“This is a grievous and dangerous time for American Christianity. The frenzy and the fury of the post-election period has laid bare the sheer idolatry and fanaticism of Christian Trumpism,” said David French, a Republican “Never Trumper” and a Christian. “We’re way, way past concerns for the church’s ‘public witness.’ We’re way past concerns over whether the ‘reputation’ of the church will survive this wave of insanity. There is no other way to say this. A significant movement of American Christians — encouraged by the president himself — is now directly threatening the rule of law, the Constitution, and the peace and unity of the American republic.”

“I do not believe these are days for mincing words,” writes Beth Moore in a recent tweet. “I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it. Fellow leaders, we will be held responsible for remaining passive in this day of seduction to save our own skin while the saints we’ve been entrusted to serve are being seduced, manipulated, USED and stirred up into a lather of zeal devoid of the Holy Spirit for political gain.”

This is the anti-Eucharist, an anti-banquet that serves as an eschatological foretaste of hell. This is the Bad Place. And a significant amount of American Christians are Hell’s Kingdom Builders, praying for earth as it is in hell.

It is an absolute scandal and tragedy and horror that those who are called to be the hands and feet of the body of Christ have become the bringers of hell. It is a scandal of literally cosmic proportions that those who claim to herald good divine news for all people are the ones actively killing people through their war against masks and disdain of basic protections, that there is a horrific statistical link between church attendance and rejecting calls for racial justice, that exit polls suggest that people of color voting for Trump is linked with evangelical church involvement.

And sure, Christians have always done terrible things. Sure, what do you expect from a Christian tradition that stems from European colonizers? Sure, there are many monuments, literally and figuratively, to the amazing contributions Christians have made to better our world, especially Christians from oppressed and marginalized groups who have always been the true leaders of our communion of saints.

But it doesn’t make any less urgent for faithful folks especially to name the hell-ish horrors being done in the name of Christ and repent. It is at this point in history the bare minimum for us who call ourselves Christians to name it and do everything in our power to actively push against the hell on earth being created by Christians. Not for our sake, or our reputation or “public witness,” but for the sake those who are being held over the pit of the fires of Gehenna by God’s anointed messengers.

Reverend Chris Dela Cruz is the new Associate Pastor of Youth, Young Adults, and Community Engagement at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. He has written for Next Church, Presbyterian Outlook, and other outlets. Prior to being an ordained pastor, he was a journalist for the Star-Ledger in New Jersey.

Chris writes about the intersection of faith, cultural trends, and American life.

Creating a World that Works for All

by Jojo Gabuya

Havel’s introductory essay in Sharif Abdullah’s book, “Creating a World that Works for All,” discusses humankind’s lack of responsibility to avert the threats on our planet, particularly on our growing population and to save our environment from dangers and destruction caused by our own wasteful ways. Havel suggests that “the most important thing we can do today is to study the reasons why humankind does little to address these threats and why it allows itself to be carried onward by some kind of perpetual motion, unaffected by self-awareness or a sense of future options.” He also opines that the differences and dominance of great religious systems in the world have intensified political and armed conflicts, which are happening within an atheistic civilization. Havel thinks that the fundamental differences among these religions are more important than their differences; thus, we have to search “for what unites the various religions — a purposeful search for common principles.”

In the preface of Abdullah’s book, he describes our world as an insecure and unsafe one, where “family violence, cancer, a polluted environment, and a diminished outlook for all of the world’s children cloud the future for us all.” However, Abdullah adds that these threats, come with a rare opportunity “to craft a society that actually reflects our deepest values,” where we can choose our future. He describes his book as a “testament of hope,” a gift for the future generation who will give their blessings instead of blaming us for our lack of care and concern for this planet and all creation.

Abdullah laments how “our social, ecological, even spiritual lives are out of balance” (p. 1) because we have ignored some early warning systems for danger and treated them as the problem, and have severed our relationship with the environment. Because of this, Abdullah encourages us to “change the way we think and the way we act,” by learning “to act toward each other and our environment in profoundly different ways.”

In Abdullah’s book, “Creating A World That Works for All,’ he encourages us to “ask ourselves: What are we trying to achieve as a society?” He stresses the importance of goal setting that gives us “a clear vision of an achievable goal, and an understanding of the philosophy and value behind that goal.” Abdullah introduces the Mender goal, that is, “an inclusive human society on a habitual planet, a society that works for all humans and for all nonhumans,” where the needs of both those at the top and those at the bottom are fulfilled. Everyone has enough, and no one feels deprived or oppressed. To achieve this goal, Abdullah suggests that we need to “take fundamental change” that starts from within you, the newly elected leaders of this country and their recently appointed Cabinet, and all of us who are the emerging leaders of this day and age.

As an environmentalist, who has been living a vegan lifestyle and practicing the Tao philosophy for more than two decades, I have always been concerned about the preservation of the earth’s natural resources and the promotion of unity and solidarity with all forms of life. My unceasing concern for the protection of the environment, including its fauna and flora, began in my primary years when I heard the story of Noah’s ark from my teacher in Catechism. Because of this, I have always envisioned a society and a world where all creatures, including humankind, are happily living in solidarity and unity with one another. We take care of the earth’s bounties and assume responsibility for whatever we do.

When I reached the age of puberty and up to this time of the pandemic, I have realized that my earlier vision is still a work in progress. There is so much greed and selfishness in the minds and hearts of most of our leaders whose insatiable desire to amass wealth, abusive and violent ways to gain power, and manipulative methods to monopolize the planet’s resources have led to famine, hunger, and wars of all types (civil, drones, biological, nuclear and others), and some pressing issues and problems, at the expense of the poor and marginalized sectors who have been suffering from the impacts of these exploitive practices in most societies in particular, and the world in general. Political leaders such as Hitler (Holocaust) and Abraham Lincoln (Dakota 38) perpetrated these heinous crimes against humanity and all creation. But, it is sad to note that some religious leaders are also accessories to these dehumanizing crimes because of differences (gender, race, religious affiliation, political conviction, other demographics) that have kept them separated (Albert Einstein calls this notion as a “delusion of consciousness) from others who are not wearing the same cloak/robe, since time immemorial.

Thus, I totally agree with Abdullah’s s suggestion that “we need a change of heart that leads to changes in our priorities and systems.” This change, however, starts from ourselves – the way we think, feel, and act. Then, we can proceed with changing our culture and institutions.

And, as an emerging spiritual, who is trying to be a religious, leader, I find the three criteria of “A World that Works for All” useful in determining when we have reached our goal: The criteria of enough-ness, exchangeability, and common benefit can be applied to most of our current domestic and foreign problems and issues, such as homelessness, homophobia, inequality, poverty, racism, and wars. A caveat, however, exists if we fail to see our problems as blessings that are leading us to think of creative ways in solving these problems. So, I have been confident and optimistic that we are can solve our pressing problems, if we all strive for inclusivity, solidarity, and unity with all forms of life – animals, humans, and natural resources; mountains, plants, rivers, seas and others. And, I am hoping that we can continue to strive for inclusivity, solidarity, and unity this day and onwards.

Jojo received their M.Div from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California. Before coming to California in 2016, they worked with the United Nations Development Programmes, as Regional Coordinator for its Bottom-up Budgeting Project in Mindanao, Philippines. Prior to this, they worked as VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) Volunteer, as Results-based Management Advisor for the Ministry of Gender in Zambia, Southern Africa.

Jojo is also a member of the NEXT Church blogging cohort, and their writing focuses on how Jesus would respond to the racism, xenophobia, microaggressions, and gender. 

Refugees, Resistance, and the Next Christianities

by Rafael Vallejo Ph.D

When they were but few in number, few indeed, and strangers in it, they wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another. He allowed no one to oppress them; for their sake he rebuked kings: “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.” Sing to the Lord, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day.
– 1 Chron 16:19-22

We now summarize the last six blogs around Refugees and Resistance: Enacting God’s Mission in Liminal Spaces (Vallejo, 2020). In Blog 1, we began by defining our use of the word “refugee,” explained how it became a legal construct in modernity and how it is connected with the historiography of the Christian movement.

In Blog 2, we argued that seeking refuge is a fundamental right that comes with being human. While there are international conventions in place to protect these rights, nation-states have also found ways to work around them. As nation-states were being constructed through wars of conquest, borders and laws to protect territorial borders were also created.

Seeking refuge is a recurrent trope in biblical literature along with displacement, deportation/exile, and diaspora. We pointed to how corporate globalization driven by neo-liberal values led to the imbalance that produces today’s refugees. Nation-states create border regimes to protect and preserve these conditions of inequality and racism.

In Blog 3, we did a quick survey of the different ways of understanding “mission” going as far back as the first ecclesial communities in the Levant. From there we saw how the Western Christian tradition conceived of mission through the centuries from Constantine, Colonialism, the Enlightenment, and then Postmodernity. M.W.Stroope (2020) in Transcending Mission: The Eclipse of a Modern Tradition argues that the language of mission is a modern construction unsupported by the Bible and pre-modern literature.

Mission as “resistance and struggle” (WCC Busan, 2014) situates mission within the context of relations of power. It re-describes the world as dominated by Empire. (Accra Confession, 2004) The call to subvert systems of domination has biblical roots.

In Blog 4 we proposed that liminality (Van Gennep,1909) is a helpful construct for understanding the lived experience of refugees. Refugees’ resistance is bound up with place and communitas. (Turner, 1969) It is in liminal spaces that refugees as “liminars” perform the Mission of God. Our understanding of mission will not be complete without listening to the narrative that is playing out in these spaces.

In Blog 5, we showed how refugees who are denied citizenship continue to practice everyday resistance (Scott, 1985) that confront relations of power inscribed in liminal spaces where they are reduced to “bare life” (Agamben, 1998). We narrated stories drawn from the experiences of Palestinians, Saharawis, and Rohingyas to describe how resistance looks like on the ground.

In Blog 6, we introduced a genre called Resistance Literature (Harlow, 1987). It speaks to the resistance of people for personal and national liberation. We asked whether Biblical literature given the history of its construction fits the category of resistance literature. We referenced Jewish apocalyptic literature as a site of political struggle (Portier-Young, 2011) where resistance was theorized, enacted and mobilized.

And now in Blog 7 we conclude by speaking to the phenomenon of Refugees, Resistance and the next Christianities. Where does it go from here? If everything is in God and God reveals the divine mystery in events as they unfold in history, what are we hearing and seeing from the experiences of refugees worldwide?

My hope is that the capitalist logic that gave birth to our modern understandings of borders gives way to an older/newer understanding that the land does not belong to us, but we all belong to the land. The exclusivist concept of nation-states based on clearly demarcated borders securitized by surveillance and other forms of control will become a thing of the past. Colonial practices will be dismantled along with the settler mindsets that are at the root of border regimes. Refugees are present and are no longer elided in our conversations around God, Church, and Mission.

What emerges for me is a picture of the next christianities where people from former colonies are migrating to the land of their former missioners carrying with them new understandings of God, Gospel, and Christian tradition. They will speak out of the conviction that human worth based solely on citizenship is not the Way of Jesus. They will dissolve the idea of church as the sole depository of truth and salvation and will abandon the fixity of one scripture and one religion as superior to all others.

Refugees will prefigure societies based on religious values, inviting local communities to lead the change in creating new zones of inclusion and rebuilding the commons. Freedom of movement, the freedom to stay, move, and return becomes the norm in the governance of migration. The subjugated knowledge of refugees become the places where we look for ways to move society forward in non-violent ways and make other worlds possible.

We have come a long way from the “sending model” of mission and the Western Christendom worldview. Covid-19 introduced a new reality that challenged many of our cherished assumptions around mission, missions, and missional. It has shown us a way forward to faithful witness in our life and experience as church.

When the time comes that we all see the face of God in our refugee sisters and brothers, perhaps then the world will become a place where God’s laughter can be heard all over again!

Rafael Vallejo started his theological career at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and San Francisco Theological Seminary and from there continued on with a Master in Theological Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Divinity at the University of Toronto. From 2011-2016, he travelled extensively and studied with indigenous communities in Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina as part of his PhD dissertation (2018) on “Faith Perspectives of Mexican Migrant Farm Workers in Canada”. He serves as affiliate faculty at the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

Rafael is also part of the NEXT Church blogging cohort and his pieces focus on the experience of refugees and mission. 

Reimagining LIFE

by Freda Marie Brown

Living into this 8th month of the COVID-19 global pandemic reminds me of another time in my life. It was the one and only time I ever got a “pink slip.” It came unexpectedly, out of the blue, and totally disrupted my life and the life of my family because I was the primary breadwinner.

I was the palliative care chaplain for a major health system which included a Level 1 trauma center, a tertiary-care hospital, and a smaller community hospital in the northern suburbs of the city. I loved my work of providing support to the dying, their families, and friends. I thought I had found my “niche” in life. I was happy.

On this particular day, I was in CCU of one of the facilities with family as life support was being discontinued on one of our patients. I received a call on my pager to contact the pastoral care office. When I did, I was asked to come down to the office when I could. I thought, “No problem, later is soon enough.”

When I arrived, I was greeted by the Vice President of Pastoral Services and the Department Manager. They asked me to sit down, handed me a letter to read, and waited for my response. Of course, I was crushed. I had no words.

After the initial shock, nothing prepared me for later… when fear and anxiety really set in! My mind was filled with questions like, “How’re we going to pay the mortgage? Or what will our future or our daughter’s future look like now?” I was already 45 years old, scared and with no resources beyond the income already coming into our household.

My mom was here at that time and gave me some motherly advice. She reminded me to go back to what I know. The only way to know how God was speaking to my life situation was to ask. So, I did. I prayed… and I listened. I learned not to disregard the voice within me who sounded like me. I discovered that God’s Presence really was within me giving me a sense of guidance, resilience, and peace. That Presence resides within you as well.

In that really dark place, I discovered through my relationship with God an unprecedented invitation to reimagine my life. I discovered that the more thought and energy I gave to the what if’s, the more anxious and agitated I became. I learned to live more fully into the “Serenity Prayer.”

Sisters and brothers of other mothers, we are now being given an opportunity to reimagine life in a new way; in a godly way that more closely aligns with the way of Jesus Christ as we learn through Scriptures and see expressed through his followers within and beyond the walls of the church. It is a WAY which does not shut out but invites in; a WAY that seeks to heal the wounded and gives hope to the hopeless. This WAY is already available to us and resides within us, but it’s expression through us is not without a cost. It is the WAY of LOVE. It is inconvenient, messy, and only occasionally comfortable. Nevertheless, it is the heart of the Gospel.

When we have closed the book on this pandemic (and yes, it will happen) I see a whole new horizon opened up to us. I see us being honest and truthful with ourselves and with each other. I see us honoring our relationships with other human beings and with the rest of creation instead of ignoring and disregarding their inherent dignity. I see the Beloved Community existing all over the world. It can happen. It’s up to us to reimagine it so.

With many “air hugs” …6 feet away of course!

Serenity Prayer – Full Version (composed in 1940s)

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.

Reinhold Neibuhr (1892-1971)

The Rev. Freda Marie Brown is a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland currently serving as Associate Rector at The Church of the Redeemer, Baltimore. She formerly served as the Executive Director of St. Vincent’s House in Galveston, a 501(c)3 non-profit and Jubilee Ministry of the Diocese of Texas. Prior to coming to the Diocese of Texas, she was the Associate Rector at the Episcopal Church of the Annunciation in the Diocese of Dallas. She received her undergraduate degree from Xavier University of Louisiana and was employed as a clinical laboratory director for 21 years at St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas before saying “yes” to God’s call to be ordained priest in His Church. She earned a Master of Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University, Dallas and a Master of Arts in Religion (with a concentration in Anglican Studies) from the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX. For 7 years she served as a Palliative Care chaplain in hospice and hospital settings and has spent many hours serving the dying and those who love them.

She loves her work among God’s people and is constantly amazed by the many disguises of Jesus Christ —especially among the marginalized. She enjoys yoga, gardening, cooking, hiking, reading, writing, and listening to jazz. She loves good food, good wine, and good conversation. She is Crystal’s Mom.

Freda is also a member of the NEXT Church blogging cohort and her writing focuses on the intersectionality of Christian spirituality with what may commonly be called energetics or specifically energy medicine.

Telling Our Story: Resistance Literature and the Biblical Narrative

by Rafael Vallejo Ph.D

Then you shall declare before the Lord your God: “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.”
– Deuteronomy 26:5

In Resistance Literature (Hartlow, 1987) the author reads some of the 20th century literature of resistance movements from Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. She tells the story of the contributions of literature to resistance movements. In this blog, I ask how and whether biblical literature can also be considered as resistance literature.

Scholars tell us that much of what later became known as the Hebrew Bible was written in periods of exile, displacement and diaspora. Those who wrote the early stories of christian origins that became the New Testament did so under the shadow of Empire and colonial oppression.

The literature speaks to the struggle of early communities around religious beliefs, tribal laws and cultural practices. The literature of Judaism in exile and during the Persian period used resistance as a trope for understanding the relationship between humanity and their divinities. Their oral and written narratives sought to express how they felt God present/absent in their struggle.

Resistance movements according to Hartlow seek to reclaim the narrative, given the many rival interpretations of the historical record along with attempts to erase it from cultural memory. They also assert control over the means of cultural production ( eg. poetry, theater, the arts ) from those who attempt to repress it through censorship or subjugate knowledge by minimizing its significance.

The translation of the Hebrew scriptures to Greek and the production of other scriptures in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew were also practices of resistance against hegemony. Hartlow shows how resistance literature holds out images of an ideal past and a utopian future. Do we not also feel a similar tension when we do a critical reading of biblical texts?

Anathea Portier Young talks about resistance literature that can be found in the genre known as Jewish apocalyptic literature. She concurs with Hartlow that literature exists as a site of political struggle (Hartlow 1985:2) a space where resistance is theorized, enacted and mobilized. It appears that the first extant representatives of the genre, according to Portier-Young, emerged during the Hellenistic era marked by wars, plunder, state terror and religious persecution and the reconquest of Judea by the Seleucid Empire. One finds in narratives like Daniel the characters of Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael offered as models of resistance against imperial domination. Daniel 2 and 7 appear to have been drawn from resistance traditions in the Ancient Near East.

Closer to our times is resistance literature written by people like Gassan Kanafani. He was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was assassinated by the Mossad in 1972. He started writing his short stories while working in refugee camps. It seems to me that sometimes people are moved more by stories than statistics. Kanafani and many other writers give voice and bear witness to the suffering of peoples under imperialism. Their writings show the political significance of literary texts and other art forms in the struggle. Unfortunately, many of them are not written in English and so those of us whose working language is English are unable to access them. The fact remains that those who have historically been denied their voice are the best sources regarding the impact of border regimes on refugees and the production of new meanings around Mission and Migration.

In Memories of Burmese Rohingya (Farsana, 2017) the author talks about how they use song and drawings to portray narratives of everyday refugee life and resistance. In their encampments along the river Naft that borders Myanmar and neighboring Bangladesh, the music of taranas become everyday resistance expressing their sorrows and sufferings. Their memories bind them together as a people and give them courage to hope that their condition as refugees will change someday. It calls to the youth of Arakan where Rohingyas were born to continue the struggle.

The taranas are easy to understand and learn by heart. They are performed with great passion accompanied by hand movements and facial expressions. The taranas are yet another way that migrants and exiles tell their story. Perhaps they can also be seen as prayers to their divinities that speak to what is going on in their lives.

We started this project with three questions: What lessons can World Christianity learn from refugees’ resistance to border regimes? How might refugees be enacting the Mission of God while living in liminal spaces like camps, detention centers and border crossings? How might migrants and refugees be shaping religion and the next Christianities in post-secular societies?

My hope is that in some way the blogs have given us a way forward in regard to these living questions. Peace be with you!

Rafael Vallejo started his theological career at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and San Francisco Theological Seminary and from there continued on with a Master in Theological Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Divinity at the University of Toronto. From 2011-2016, he travelled extensively and studied with indigenous communities in Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina as part of his PhD dissertation (2018) on “Faith Perspectives of Mexican Migrant Farm Workers in Canada”. He serves as affiliate faculty at the Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion at the University of Notre Dame.

Rafael is also part of the NEXT Church blogging cohort and his pieces focus on the experience of refugees and mission.