A Trip to the Festival of Faith and Writing at Calvin

The greenhouse at the Downtown Market
The greenhouse at the Downtown Market

This past Saturday night, I went down to Calvin College with one of our chaplains, Lauren Taylor, some other girls from Hope and a faculty member and his family. Calvin hosts the Festival of Faith and Writing every year, which is probably its most redeeming quality. (They’re our big rival, in case you missed that one).

We piled into a Hope van and took off. When we got there, we got to hear Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, speak. She is a self-taught theologian from Canada.

Sarah spoke on her experience with being told that she does not have the privilege to share God’s word or her opinions on God’s word. Before her book got published, she was often told that she was unqualified to do any of this without a degree from seminary school.

She talked about how we are all qualified to share God’s word, no matter what our degree. She asked what qualifications God expects us to have to share his word.

I found this to be a very moving subject. A lot of times on Hope’s campus, faith experiences are compared and analyzed. It’s easy to tell yourself that someone else’s experience is stronger than your own, or that they have a deeper relationship with God than you do.

There are no qualifications for God’s love, besides the most basic things (ie. believing, repentance, obedience to God and His word, etc.).

I believe that as long as you are walking with the Lord, you are in a good place. Sarah Bessey really pounded that into me, even though she wasn’t directly speaking on that topic.

After hearing her speak, we went to the Downtown Market in Grand Rapids for dinner. We discussed some of the things that Bessey talked about, hearing different opinions around the table.

As we ate, I listened to opinions of my peers and sank back. I let their words, some that I wasn’t sure I agreed with, to marinate inside me. Some said that they didn’t completely agree with Bessey, because to have theory on God’s word you must know theology.

I just think that Bessey was talking about something much simpler than that; we all have a calling to live out and spread the gospel. Whether it be through writing, theology, teaching or medicine, we’re all qualified as God’s children to spread his word.

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Brooke Wharton

Hey there, my name's Brooke and I'm a sophomore at Hope right now from the southeast side of the state! I'm majoring in secondary English education with a psychology minor, so that I can spread the love of literature everywhere and maybe even become a counselor to help kiddos out with their current and future school life. So far at Hope I've helped with Time to Serve, joined a bible study, am 1-8 song girl, and a member of Greek Life! The only TV show I watch is New Girl, and I love reading young adult lit! You can email me brookelyn.wharton@hope.edu or follow me on twitter @hopebrooke18! You can always find me on Facebook, too!

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