auto/biography.

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A few fast and hard figures will help situate me in the world, but the writing of an auto/biography demands a more integrative and integrated narrative. The first person helps in owning the story of oneself, and the third person is more professional and has a better ability to maintain a scholarly approach. I recognize the polarity and tension in attempting to write an auto/biography. The polarity and tension is in deciding on which person to use: 1st or 3rd? I find myself drawn to the dynamism of the first person, despite the fact that the first person detracts from a more standard scholary approach. While this/my auto/biography will privilege the first person writing style, I am hopeful that I will produce an objective narrative with scholarly roots.

What does it mean for me to be an active person in the anti-violence community/movement in Chicago, IL?   More specifically, what does it mean for me to do the work of a human rights worker and anti-violence/anti-sexist advocate in my current place of employment:  The Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  What comes to mind in answering these questions is that the work of anti-violence and human rights work is the ongoing work of resistance. Moreover, this work is both difficult and humanizing.  Integrating my interpersonal skills and incorporating all of who I am into this work is formative and has at its end the goal of freedom and liberation for those whose lives are violated.

Having spent fifteen years in student and various pastoral ministries in two baptist denominations and having been trained as a feminist liberation theologian at a United Methodist Seminary, I am becoming familiar with a different practice of resistance that is equally costly as the work of a minister and the practice of theology.

Working now in the anti-violence movement in Chicago, IL, I am learning more about my own story and the ways in which my training as a feminist liberation theologian contributes to this work and the academic work I want to pusue. Daily I stand against the ideologies of violence and white privilege. Recently, before coming the the Office of the Illinois Attorney General, this is on the South side of Chicago, in the court room providing advocacy for [mostly] women petitioning for Orders of Protection, and now it is the ongoing work of advocacy for crime victims.

This work also presents challenges:  How do I reconcile my identity as a theologian with the current work I am pursuing? I learned during my 9-month residency as a chaplain [and am reminded now in my current work] that I am not the ideal person for direct-service on a full-time basis, though I maintain the belief that the work that I am doing is very important work. The non-profit work in which I am currently involved is certainly informing the scholarly work I am pursuing, and therefore the work and experience is invaluable! In terms of reconciling my identity as a theologian, I am learning that my identity is the work of integration.

I have learned that our lives are about integration; my sure has been! The ways in which we identify provide us [has provided me] with the tools [and sometimes barriers] for further integration. I have sought to integrate my own bordered reality/identity encompassing my bi-racial reality, gender identity, my queer-ness, my identity as Anabaptist/Christian, my work as a minister, my training as a theologian, and now my professional work from the non-profit sector to the very public work of state government. Having migrated northward from northern Mexico, the Republic of Texas in 2002, I continue to work on the process of integration.

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