Friday, May 6, 2011

Stacy Fredrickson: Loving Neighbor, Loving Earth

It’s faith combined with works. It’s not just personal piety, but a life lived in community. It’s bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth through living out Jesus’ ethic of love and peace in every aspect of my life.
Stacy Fredrickson

In yet another installment of the EasyYolk Guest Interview, we are honored to introduce Stacy Fredrickson, a SoCal native and former college athlete living in Rifle, Colorado with her husband, Dale, and two children, Trey & Irayna. She's not your usual 30-something "stay-at-home mom" because, after all, it's hard to stay behind closed doors with the Rockies beckoning her every single day to another snowboarding or hiking adventure with the kids. And not to worry, from time to time this Gandhi-quotin' mommy sneaks away to the real work of a feminist: playing soccer with the big girls. GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLL!!!!!

EY: Take me back to your initial entry into the Christian story. Where were you in life? What did “being a Christian” mean for you then?

SF: I grew up in a Christian home. I went to Christian schools my whole life. When I was 7 years old, I had a lot of traumatic things happen to me. My best friends all moved away, I started a new school, and I almost died in a really huge earthquake. This was the beginning of a life full of fear. At age 9, I “accepted Christ into my heart” with my 3rd grade teacher. At this point, “being a Christian” for me was about having Jesus as a friend that would take away my fears and that I would have eternal life in heaven. I continued in Christian school and was very active in Youth group at my church (that was Baptist, but then dropped the name Baptist and was more like a non-denominational). Throughout Jr. High and H.S., I think I “accepted Christ into my heart” or rededicated my life like 3 other times at Church camp. Throughout High school being a Christian was about personal piety and telling other’s about Christ. I started doing a lot of short term missions trips and thought that maybe God was “calling” me to be a full time missionary of some sort.

EY: What were significant events or sign-posts along the way that have changed how you experience God and faith?

SF: I think I began to see God and faith differently while I was in College. I went to a small Christian Liberal Arts College in Colorado. I had some really great professors in Biblical Studies and Theology that taught me to critically think about God and faith. For a few years after college, I would say that I was de-constructing my faith and kind of was cynical about God. But through trying to stay connected to Christian communities, being a wife of a PhD candidate and a pastor, I would say that I am on the process to reconstructing my faith. My faith is continually growing and changing and I am on a process of figuring out what it means to really follow Christ.

EY: What do you think it means to “be a Christian” now?

SF: It’s not about saying a prayer and getting to heaven, but instead realizing that it’s a present reality and not a future promise.

It’s faith combined with works. It’s not just personal piety, but a life lived in community. It’s bringing about God’s Kingdom here on earth through living out Jesus’ ethic of love and peace in every aspect of my life.

Being a stay-at-home mom, has been the biggest test of my faith. I find it hardest to be like Jesus to those closest to me and sometimes find it hard to see how I am bringing about God’s kingdom by just loving my family, but I am realizing more and more what a hard and important job it really is. I am learning what patience truly is and what forgiveness truly is by fully being present to my family!

EY: Who have been mentors, heroes, authors and leaders that have impacted you and how so?

SF: Ancient heroes: St. Francis of Assisi, Brother Lawrence, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr.

I have been greatly impacted by many professors:

Dr. David Williams who got me thinking about philosophy. Dr. Frank Ames who got me thinking critically about the Bible. Janet Rumfelt who got me thinking critically about the Church.

Friends and heroes:

Katie Aikins who challenged me daily in college to think critically. My husband and best friend, Dale Fredrickson, who is continually challenging me to think critically with my mind and to love passionately with my heart!!

Some important books that have impacted me have been Women in the Church by Stanley Grenz, A Primer on Postmodernism by Stanley Grenz, Beyond Liberalism and Fundamentalism by Nancey Murphy , Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, Eaarth by Bill McKibben, multiple articles by Ched Myers, Everything Must Change by Brian McLaren, Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell.

EY: What aspect of Jesus do you think is most misunderstood in our culture?

SF: I think that American Christians have really misunderstood Jesus’ ethic of love (from loving our neighbor to loving the earth) and Jesus’ call to peace and non-violence.

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