Yesterday, I listened to a new episode of the Project: Zion podcast, the semi-official podcast of Community of Christ. This episode was an interview with Shandra Newcom, one of two apostles-designate who will begin their service after the April 2023 World Conference of the church. It was a delightful episode, and I posted something to the Community of Christ subreddit that I wanted to repeat here:
What a great episode! I loved getting to know Shandra, and I appreciated her opennness and vulnerability. In an LDS context, we never would have had (or at least talked so openly about), an apostle who experienced depression or divorce, and it’s so much of a relief for me to hear from a future apostle who doesn’t have to fit a model of perfection to be called to serve God and God’s people. This was very much what I needed to hear this week.
To be clear, I don’t think depression or divorce makes someone less than perfect (I think we’re all inherently that way), and I don’t think either ought to disqualify someone from serving God or serving Community of Christ. However, there was a time in my life when I did believe that way, because I bought into a certain vision of worthiness and perfection—one that ultimately wasn’t healthy for me and that I’m now trying to dismantle so that I can live a better life and feel better about myself.
Hearing Shandra talk openly about difficult periods of her life and realizing that those struggles didn’t disqualify her from doing good work in the name of faith was really inspiring for me. I’m grateful for her example.
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