Feisty Five: Sarah Tate Chambers

By Sarah Tate Chambers

Hey ya’ll! I’m Sarah Tate and I’m delighted to be on for the Femmes Spring semester.
I’ll be your Wednesday woman, guaranteed to get you through hump day.
Let’s start of with a proper introduction in the form of the Feisty Five.

How did you come to be a feminist?
It’s something I’m always becoming, right.
And that process has taken me to many different “feminisms”.
From the writings of Catholic mystics to a farmhouse in Missour(ah)
with one of the first women ordained in the Episcopal Church.
From Cone’s black theology to Jacquelyn Grant’s womanist theology
to watching both intersect with Palestinian women in the West Bank.

There was a stint with Andrea Dworkin’s harsh and demanding perspective
on the world as a hostile place to women.
She’s still brilliant,
but I have softened the edges with hope and beauty
in the form of Andrea Gibson’s poems.
It’s been as silly as lingerie and wine parties with my ladies in Indiana,
and as serious as holding a woman’s hand as she obtains an order of protection.

So, I’m an eclectic mix, one that often contradicts herself. Bare with me.
Right now, feminism to me, is the vantage point of the cross.
Jesus is concerned with poor folk, black folk, women folk, queer folk, all marginalized people.
As a Jesus-loving lady, I’m concerned about these things as well.

Who are your heroines in real life?
Women who struggle with trauma touch a deep place in my soul.
Be it Charlotte Delbo, a Shoah survivor,
Elizabeth Lesser, the co-founder of the Omega Institute,
Jessica Stern, a terrorism expert and survivor of rape,
or women living in the midst of war zones.
There’s something awe-inspiring about women who turn their faces toward such heart-wrenching things and grapple with them.
Also, physically strong, athletic women are incredible to me.

What recent news story made you want to scream?
The Catholic Church has blessed a new Confession app.
I no longer have to go into one of those wooden booths again.
Oh, you didn’t mean with joy…
Woman Recounts Bomb Memories From Historic Church
McKinstry remembers a terrible moment in American Christianity,
the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and the subsequent acts of extreme violence
against black folk that were perpetrated by white self-identified Christian folk.
This moment is not so firmly rooted in the past.
As she illuminates racial violence within Christianity,
we’d be wise to take the space she’s provided to examine its ongoing legacy.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest challenge facing feminism today?
Genuine love combined with great justice.
The ditches of passive acquiescence and snarky reaction are seductive as hell.
When we learn to find the balance, we’ll be able to create lasting change around GLBTAQ justice, sex education and gender violence.
And, we’ll be able to more fully love our neighbors.

You’re going to a desert island and you’re allowed to take one food, one drink and one feminist. What do you pick?
My father’s omelets– asparagus, onions, mushrooms, several containers of olives, capers and feta cheese.
Wild Turkey 101 (I’m on vacation, right?)
And Ashley Judd, who did some incredible paneling at the WomenDeliver conference this summer. She packs some fierce gender theory heat, frequently flashes a contagious smile and has a serious burning in her bones for justice.

I’m looking forward to getting to know and engage with all of you on this newly rehab-ed online home!


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