A Welcomed Gift (Doctrine & Covenants 46-48)

Monday, May 3, 2021


Channing: Hi, I'm Channing

Elise:  and I’m Elise.

Channing: And this is The Faithful Feminists podcast.

Elise: But this is not just any Come Follow Me podcast. We do things a little differently here. We offer approachable feminist interpretations of the Come Follow Me manual for those who want to study and understand the scriptures in a framework of equality, social justice, and sisterhood. We are here to show you all the really good ways faith and feminism work together to eliminate and deepen the gospel experience.

Channing: We’ve saved you a seat on the soft chairs, so join us today for a conversation about Doctrine and Covenants sections 46 - 48 for the dates May 3rd - 9th. We're so glad you're here.

Elise: Welcome back everyone. We are feeling super excited to be here, of course, but also to dive into these chapters that we felt like were really celebratory and exciting and might bring up some new conversations that we haven't had a chance to talk about in the past. We’re going to start by setting the context, talking about the second grade awakening. Then we will talk about how we can create a welcoming and inclusive environment within our church congregations and meetings. And then finally, we'll finish off by talking about spiritual gifts.

So just a little bit of context before we get into sections 46 through 48, and this all comes from the Revelations In Context book. It talks about what's called the Second Great Awakening, which was this time of religious excitement and fervor that many Christians were feeling, especially because they were also feeling this influence or pressure of rationalism and scientific proof and skepticism.

And so there was this real thirst or desire for a more deepened religious experience that led to numerous revivals, a surge in conversions, and even the founding of new Christian sects. And with this Second Great Awakening came what's called this “revivalist culture” or this passionate, full bodied response from audiences and church members, including “prophesying, crying, shouting, dancing, shaking, and rolling on the ground. Some groups like the shakers even made some of these practices a formal part of their worship.”

And, and so we've got this full body experience of desiring for more religious truth and more religious experience that comes in these forms of often physical manifestations, even though the style of worship wasn't necessarily seen as main stream when the Mormon missionaries showed up in Ohio and shared their message about spiritual gifts being a part of the restored gospel. It really appealed to many of the people that they taught in Ohio who were yearning for more feeling and more depth of religious experience during the Second Great Awakening. But what happened when the Mormon missionaries left?

They have a bunch of new converts who are excited. They're feeling on fire with the spirit. They're feeling empowered by the validation of spiritual gifts, but they are left without much direction without a lot of support. They don't have lots of copies of the Book of Mormon, nor did they have any guidance from Joseph Smith before Joseph Smith and the saints move to Ohio.

And so with all of this religious zeal that these new converts in Ohio were experiencing, the Revelations In Context says, “some of them began to introduce elements of enthusiastic worship into their meetings.” And so you've got this whole group of congregants that are excited by the gospel but don't have a lot of direction and are kind of taking things into their own hands as they're feeling inspired like in their bodies and in their hearts.

Channing: And in addition to this, the Revelations In Context mentions a man named Peter Kerr, and Peter, or “Black Pete,” as he was known to his white neighbors in Kirtland, Ohio was the first black person to affiliate in any way with the Mormon movement.

And this biography written about Peter Kerr comes from the University of Utah library resources. So just like Elise said,

“When missionaries first reached Ohio in November, 1830 and by February, 1831, newspapers were already reporting that “Black Pete” worshiped in the Mormons and was considered a member of their company. There is however, no known record of his baptism.

Peter was enslaved by various white owners for about 38 years. He was freed when his enslavers moved to the state of Ohio, where slavery was illegal, in 1813. Between 1813 and 1831 Peter moved into “The Family,” which we've mentioned before on the podcast. And this was a communal organization living on Isaac Morley's farm in Kirtland, Ohio.

Members of the morally communal “family” converted to Mormonism in late 1830 and early 1831. And Peter participated with them in worship services in the area. Among the converts in the area, there was a group that was particularly attached to ecstatic forms of worship, including, (like Elise said,) “shouting, singing, dancing, falling, and other activities” they attributed to the workings of the spirit. This group was composed largely of younger converts, but Peter who was in his fifties, joined them in their worship. Additionally, he may have been influential on the worship practices of this group, importing elements of the shout tradition he may have been exposed to during his youth in Pennsylvania.

Newspaper accounts described this group engaging in a variety of practices, most of which were objects of the reporters ridicule. For example, they received purported revelations in the form of letters falling from heaven, and acted out missions to American Indians, and spoke in unknown tongues. The only account that says anything laudatory (or praiseworthy) about Peter mentions that he was a good singer. Mormon sources from the time period ignore Peter entirely.

Perhaps the most well-known story is that of Peter falling or jumping off a 25 foot embankment into the Chagrin river. Non-Mormon sources lampoon this incident, suggesting that Peter thought he could fly. However, George Albert Smith suggested that Peter was chasing an angel that was carrying a letter for him and perhaps inadvertently fell down the embankment.”

And I want to just mention here that in my research about this story, Peter was not the only person who claimed to receive letters from an angel. This was actually pretty common practice by a lot of members of the church, where they claimed that an angel gave them a letter and they hurried and copied it down onto a piece of paper before the letter could disappear. So even though this story makes it sound like Peter was the only one who was having this experience, this was actually pretty common during this time.

Another interesting part of his story is that Peter mentioned that he had received a revelation to marry a white woman, perhaps the daughter of Frederick G Williams. She was 14 at the time of this revelation, but records do not indicate that a marriage ever occurred.

Nothing is known of Peter's activities after 1831. The only known Mormon source that acknowledges him is George Albert Smith’s 1864 sermon, but he spoke of “Black Pete” only in the context of the 1831 burst of enthusiasm in Ohio.

Peter does not appear to have migrated to Mormon gathering places in Missouri in the mid 1830s. He may have parted ways with Mormonism after many of the ecstatic practices he engaged in were deemphasized. It is also possible that Peter died shortly after his brush with Mormonism. He would have been 60 years old in 1835.” (reference: https://exhibits.lib.utah.edu/s/century-of-black-mormons/page/peter#?c=0&m=0&s=0&cv=0&xywh=-3741%2C-230%2C10677%2C4595)

Elise: I’m so glad you're bringing this story to light on the podcast. And I am appreciative that the Revelations in Context book, while they didn't dedicate an entire section to Peter, they did include Peter in this Second Great Awakening. And also some of the sources that we've read through really do attribute a lot of the shaping of early saint Mormon culture to perhaps Peter's influence. And so I'm excited that we are highlighting his story here and that we get to dive a little bit deeper to see what we can learn from him.

Channing: Yeah, I agree. It was fascinating to read more about Peter's story and learn about the ways that he shaped the early saint’s experience. But I do have a couple of thoughts inspired by this story.

Definitely for me, the story brought up a little bit of discomfort about the way that his story was told by his contemporaries, or better yet, not told by his contemporaries. We are looking at this story with the benefit of 200 years in the future. Looking back on it and looking at the way that it's told, I kind of just wanted to bring a little bit of attention to some of the issues that I am seeing happening here.

And the first discussion point that I wanted to bring up about Peter's story is his name. And if you've listened to the podcast long enough, you know that Elise and I are really sticklers about language and names, because language is important and names are important. They shape our lives and they shape our reality.

And so something that this biography also mentioned about the name “Black Pete,” it says,

“The name “Black Pete” reflects common practice in naming enslaved people. The prefix “Black” was commonly pretended to slave names like Black Pete, Black Joe, and so forth. Most white people used the diminutive version of a slaves Christian name, thus ‘Pete’ instead of Peter.

Peter’s enslaver John Kerr Jr. sometimes called him Jack or John. Some slaves assumed or were known by the surname of their enslaver, but no sources indicate that “Black Pete” went by Peter Kerr or Peter Carrel. The earliest source simply names him ‘Peter.’”

And like I said before, names and language are so important and we see here an incident where it seems that a name does not matter. The name that he carries with him is “Black Pete.” Not because it was the name chosen by himself or his mother Kino, but because he was Black and enslaved. Peter's potential surnames are those of his enslavers, not of his family. Those names were lost. An entire heritage lost, as if blackness and enslavement are the most defining thing about Peter.

Secondly, the sentence “Most white people use the diminutive version of a slave’s Christian name,” is concerning to me because diminutive means extremely or unusually small, informal, implying smallness, diminished. This indicates to me that ‘Pete’ was not necessarily a kind nickname given to him by people who loved him, but instead assigned to him because of his Blackness and prior enslavement. It is a diminished, a less than form of his given name, Peter.

Names shape how you are seen, and when those we live and worship with refuse to use our full name, how can they see our full selves? Peter deserved welcoming and community as ‘Peter’ first. For a tradition that values the sacred nature of names on our records, in our temple worship, and in our naming of the divine, to deny someone their own name is an egregious act of racism and white supremacy. Peter's name matters.

The second issue that I found concerning about Peter's story is another quote from the biography. It says, “Contemporary Mormon sources from the time period ignore Peter entirely. The only known Mormon source that acknowledges him is George Albert Smith, 1864 sermon, but he spoke of “Black Pete” only in the context of the 1831 burst of enthusiasm in Ohio.”

And so I think it's tempting, and I think even the Revelations in Context kind of claims Peter to be the first Black member of the LDS church, but I think it's worth noting that apparently his fellow members did not feel similarly, or at least maybe didn't even feel anything at all about Peter or his participation in the church, considering that there is no surviving written record from within his own community about him, with the exception of George Albert Smith.

All of the records we have of Peter come from outside the community with a perspective of criticism and ridicule. It's also worth noting from the sources of the biography; it says,

“Extant (or surviving) accounts of Peter's involvement with Mormonism are inconclusive as to whether he was baptized or merely participated in Mormon worship services, along with others living on or near the Morley farm. Mark L. Staker, who is a researcher and author, speculates based on the nature of some reported ecstatic religious practices that Peter was influential in the Mormon community for a short period, and may have been ordained and assisted in preaching Mormonism to others in January, 1831.”

And I think that this is another instance where we see the pain of marginalization within a community. We've talked about in past episodes that we have records of fights over cheese-making, but no records from within our own community of Peter. My question is, is there true belonging when your friends not only refuse to use your name, but make no mention of you in their records?

And so this all being said, I think that there are a few things that we can celebrate about Peter's story. I think just like Elise said, we can celebrate that history was included in our Revelations in Context and brought to our attention today. I think we can also celebrate Peter's contributions of spiritual authenticity and heritage to his religious community in his ecstatic worship practices. And finally, I think we can celebrate Peter's inclusion of himself in the spiritual practices of his community, like receiving letters from angels. We don't know if anyone necessarily saved him a seat on the soft chairs at church, but we can see that he found one anyway.

And I think that there are a couple of things that we can learn from Peter and the context of this story. I think that the story calls us to examine the way that Black members are still marginalized in the church. It calls us to look at our bias in past records and current record keeping efforts. It asks us to remember the importance of a name; to use them fully and respectfully. And to remember that surnames tie us to a place and family, and because of this, they're a vital part of a person's sense of belonging in the world. The story reminds us of the severe loss the Black community still suffers in having their names and places stolen from them by their kidnappers and enslavers. It calls us to compassion in and increased resources to BIPOC family history efforts.

And so there's a lot that we can learn from Peter's story here. Not only just by looking at it within a historical context, but by looking at the effects that it's had on the early church, the modern day church, and what we can learn moving forward so that we can make sure that everyone's stories are fully and respectfully included. But I would love to hear your thoughts on Peter's story, Elise.

Elise: I think a lot of what you share here is spot on. And one of the points that especially stuck out to me was how, like you said, members and friends and people that were a part of this community didn't keep record of their experiences with Peter. And so what does that reveal about the way that Peter was included or not included, or welcomed or not welcomed, into the full embracing arms of the gospel end of the community?

I also think it reveals a lot of historical context too. And this is kind of a difficult moment where we have to recognize and always remember that the church is not an isolated experience. The church and the early saints are growing out of a Western United States historical time period, and that comes with slavery.

I think that we've also talked about this when we recorded an episode addressing what the scriptures had called the “Lamanite Mission” and just recognizing all of the ways that history and culture also shape a lot of the practices and doctrine and understandings of the gospel and culture that we experienced back then and that we experience today. The church is not a separate entity disconnected from its place in history. It is always already shaped by history. And that means all of the people that have come through, not just the big names like Joseph or Brigham Young or Emma. It also includes important people like Peter Kerr.

I’m also really glad that we included this story because I can start to see lots of pieces fit together as a puzzle for the sections that we were assigned. We're going to spend the most of our time in section 46, which the first part of section 46 talks about not turning people away from our church meetings or from sacrament or from our congregations, while the second part of this section focuses on spiritual gifts.

And I think that we can see both of those themes highlighted and embodied in Peter Kerr's experience. We can, like you're saying Channing, we can see the ways that Peter was included in these congregations, but was there also room made for him to feel fully welcomed, fully seen and fully accepted? For example, if we look at the first few verses in section 46:2-7 we hear a lot of direction given to Joseph Smith and the other leaders of the church about how they should conduct their meetings. Verses two and three say, Conduct all your meetings and be sure that they're directed and guided by the Holy spirit. Nevertheless, you are commanded never to cast anyone out from your public meetings.

 Verses four and five talk about, we also shouldn't cast out anyone who belongs to the church. We shouldn't cast them out of our sacrament meetings. Verse five says, “and again, I say unto you, you shall not cast out any of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom.”

And then verse seven… I love this. I think it's a really great guiding mantra for both the early church and our church today. It says, look, here's, here's the way that we should be conducting our meetings in our congregations. Ask of God, listen to the spirit, do everything in holiness of heart. Be sure that we're walking uprightly before God, of course, considering our salvation, but doing all things with an eye present to now, like praying and continuing in thanksgiving to make sure that we are not, I don't know, let us stray, or the verse talks about being “seduced by devils” and that's where it kind of falls off for me, but I really, really liked that first part of that versus kind of a guiding mantra or direction for how we should be approaching our church meetings and the people that find them themselves in the pews with us.

Channing: Yeah. I really loved those verses too. And especially with that verse seven, there's a part of it that says you should not cast out any who are earnestly seeking the kingdom.

And I kind of was like, what does seeking the kingdom mean? What does that look like? And I think that a lot of things qualify. To me, seeking to belong to a religious community counts, seeking justice counts, seeking love counts; all of these things count.

And for this verse, the text has a reference to the Topical Guide for missionary work. And I think that that's really interesting to look at, I don't know, not necessarily the hidden motives, but the motives for these verses. Don't cast anyone out who is seeking the kingdom because we might be able to convert them. But as we've discussed before, especially in the episode that we did with Duvy, missionary work isn't necessarily about getting people to join the church, but it's about bringing people closer to Christ.

And Christ? Well, he was a rebel and he was peacemaker. He was a wine drinker and a healer. He was witty, welcoming, and above all, loving. And I think that going by this example, this means that we must create room for everyone in our Holy spaces. Everyone who sits on the pew next to us.

The word cast out has a reference to 3rd Nephi, and remember, this is the time when Jesus Christ comes to visit the Nephites in the Book of Mormon. And it reminds us to not just not cast out, but to also pray for those that come unto you oft. And prayer is a powerful thing because it changes people. And again, we're doing an internalized reading here. I'm not saying that prayer changes the people that we pray for. Instead, prayer changes us to see them more fully and love them better.

And so I think that when we look at these verses in context of understanding that these verses were not just to the early saints, asking them to not necessarily change their hearts, but shift their understanding of who is included, who is welcome in these practices to an attitude of inclusion rather than exclusion.

I think that this is a verse that's pointed to us even still today. And it asks us how can we do better? How can we see these people more fully people who might be different or other to us, and how can we love them better? So I love these verses because I think they hold a really beautiful promise of welcoming and inclusion.

Elise: It also reminds me of that saying that says, ‘build a bigger table, not a higher fence.’ And there's a difference, I think, between building a full table, a bigger table so that everyone has room and space to stretch out their legs and can reach all of the food and has food on that end of the table too, versus keeping the same sized table, but pulling out a crappy folding chair from the garage and putting it in the corner and saying, well, you have it, you have a seat at the table now. Isn't that enough?

Look at me. Look at me going above and beyond to include you here. But there's not space to stretch out. They're not really included at the table. They don't get to reach all of the food or the nourishment. I think there's a difference.

One of the posts that I saw on Instagram this week stood out to me. It's from Sonja Cox and her Instagram handle is @wherefaithblooms. She spends a lot of time sketching and dreaming about a tangible future for the church that I think really illustrates this idea, not just of pulling a folding chair up in the corner, but of creating or building a bigger table, which looks like creating something new. Her post is titled “What I wish church leaders said about faith transitions.”

She writes “Our ‘Learning to Walk in the Dark’ class will be in room five, and this is a preparation class for faith transitions, which are a normal part of your spiritual development. This class will help you recognize signs of when your faith is starting to shift and give you support as you navigate it.

We welcome and honor those with questions, doubts and shifting beliefs. Today's faith transition Sunday school class will be meeting in room three. In room 14, we'll be holding a class for how to support those whose beliefs are shifting. We will honor those on the traditional path in a Sunday school class found in room 10. We hope you find the perfect class for you today.

We'll be having a going away party this Saturday night at the church for those whose faith journey is calling them away from home. We want to honor your years of dedicated service and send you off with all our love. We hope you know you're always welcome here and we want to keep in touch. We wish nothing but the best for you. Those who've been touched by the service of these members are invited to write a thank you note. We'll be compiling them into a book for them to take on their journey.”

This post continues on, but it just keeps rolling around in my mind about how really tangible and possible it would be to create and build a bigger table even still within the structure.

Like creating new classes, creating new traditions, creating new events to help people, not just feel like, ‘Oh, we've got a seat for you,’ but really like, ‘We've been mindful of you. We’re trying to meet your needs. We are trying to make sure that you feel seen and validated and supported in the church process and congregation.”

Channing: That's such a beautiful re-imagining of what the potential of our church community could look like. And I am pretty emotional hearing about it because what a difference that would make, right? For people who feel like they are not necessarily excluded, but not necessarily included either. I'm really excited about the potential of that happening. I hope it happens in my lifetime. It probably won't. And I think that's why I'm simultaneously feeling sad and happy listening to you speak about it.

Elise:It also makes me think about how I think a lot of marginalized members in the church feel like they want to keep showing up, but that they have to force themselves into a structure and a system that wasn't built for them. And so it's so exhausting, I can imagine in tiring. How do you show up to church, or show up to ministering, or show up to classes as an LGBTQ+ member or friend or as a disabled member or friend or as a woman of color, right?

It's a courageous and resilient act to keep showing up, but it's also probably incredibly exhausting and what a difference we could make as a church institution and structure if we were responsive to the needs of the most marginalized and then created something welcoming and inviting based on their needs as they are sharing and telling us what they need.

Channing: Yeah. And I think it's the difference between showing up because you want to, and you deeply desire having a place to belong, but you're having to do so on the defense,  on guard, protecting yourself. And it's the difference between that and actually entering into the rest of God, being held by your community. It's subtle, but it makes all the difference in the world.

And I think that that's what I wish that I could find in the church because I often find myself, you know, in my different marginalized identities showing up at church often defensive, often on guard, often protective of myself. And it's rare that I felt like I get to experience that rest in peace in my religious community. I think I have a lot of grief about that and I'm certain that I am not the only one, or even the one that's feeling it the most acutely. And so I hope that, you know, someday we get there as a collective because it, it would change a lot. It would change everything.

Elise: As we move into the second half of section 46, there's a lot of focus and talk about gifts of the spirit.

And I think this is a really beautiful pairing to see show up in this section alongside the welcoming and inclusive call to the church community, because it further demonstrates the point of celebrating not only the things that make us similar, but also the various gifts and talents that we have that often differ one from another.

In verses eight and nine, the verses talk a lot about remembering what our gifts are for and who our gifts are from. And then later in verse 26, it says all these gifts come from God for the benefit of the children of God. And in my own words, this means to me that our gifts are meant to be shared, to bless and benefit everyone. They're not meant to be shared with only a few people or they're not to be kept to ourselves. The gifts and talents that we have are blessings given from God that we are called to share. And you'll find in this section lots of different spiritual gifts that are listed, like the gift of speaking in tongues or, or miracles or the gift to have the power to heal. And just as a, a bit of a note, I was listening to the wholly human podcast last week that talked about Doctrine and Covenants section 45. And towards the end of the episode, Katie and Serena have this really, really beautiful discussion about their experiences with verses that say, you know, if you have enough faith, you will be healed, but then the verses that also say, but you also have faith to not be healed.

And so I think that their approach to those verses also apply really well for the verses that talk about healing in this section, especially because when we come from a lens of disability. It changes. I think that it changes the way that we understand having faith to be healed.

Channing: I love this chapter because I really enjoy reading about all of the different descriptions of the gifts and their intended uses.

And as I was reading through, I was kind of thinking like, okay, I like this framework. I like this understanding of spiritual gifts, but I also feel like it's not the only one. It's not the only way that I've understood what my gifts are. And so I wanted to offer to our listeners today, maybe some alternative, or… not even alternative, but additional frameworks that you can use to understand your spiritual gifts.

And some of my favorites include personality tests like the Enneagram or the Myers-Briggs tests. You can find those online. And I love these because they really highlight our individuality and what characteristics or personality traits we each have that interplay, not just in ourselves, but in our communities and what gifts we can bring our communities. There's also other ones. I seriously feel like every day there's like a new personality test that's coming out that is groundbreaking and we all need to take it. Those are just two examples of the many, many, many that are out there. Our favorite is the Enneagram. Elise and I use it all the time because I seriously think it's fascinating. It's one of the ways we've understood each other in our best light.

Some other frameworks that I've found useful and helpful for me have interestingly enough, been astrology. I feel like learning more about astrology and my personality traits and characteristics that are like classified by that system has been really helpful for me. And I know that some of you might not feel the same and that's okay if it doesn't resonate with you, just discard it and let it go. And also because I've been in the world of yoga for a little while, I don't want to call it a personality test because it's not, but there is a scientific classification system called Ayurveda. It focuses on three different body constitution types called doshas. And those have also been a really helpful framework for understanding myself. And so I offer these to you as additional frameworks for increasing self knowledge and self-understanding. So if you're interested about those, just give them a quick Google and you can find a ton of resources.

Something else that also stuck out to me about these chapters was that we can ask for and develop gifts and we're even encouraged to do that. And I think that there are a couple of different ways that at least for me, I have found to be really helpful.

One is what the text recommends. It says pray. It says ask for them. And I think that that can be a really good starting point, but it's not the end all be all right, because to develop a gift or develop an attribute, it also requires action. And so we have to act as if we already have the gifts that we want. And one of my favorite concepts to think about in reference to this is a long time ago, I was practicing being less angry and I wanted to be more peaceful. And I remember reading somewhere that it said every time you pause, or every time you are less angry for even just one second or one moment longer than what you normally are, you are already becoming what you wish to be. And so I think that the action part is really key.

Other methods or frameworks for understanding how to develop gifts for me include… I really love the idea of following a scripture story or a myth. One of my favorite examples of this is a book Elise and I often recommend. It's called The Birth of Pleasure by Carol Gilligan. The author follows the myth of Cupid and psyche as a roadmap or framework of understanding how to develop our authentic selves. I've also found therapy to be one of the most valuable methods of developing skills and gifts for myself.

And finally, yoga. I really enjoy practicing yoga. I've done a yoga teacher training and it's just been such a foundational and helpful practice for me to sit in mindfulness, move with embodiment, and really understand my body, my spirit, and myself.

And I feel like I can't mention the practice of yoga or the science of Ayurveda without also mentioning the COVID crisis that is happening in India right now.

In the last week, India has reported over 390,000 deaths just in a 24 hour period that are related to COVID. The government’s handling of this COVID crisis has been absolutely appalling. And so many people are suffering because of the selfishness of researchers and vaccine developers who are refusing to share vaccine formulas and poor handling of the virus by the government. And so I do want to offer to our listeners, if you can please donate to any of the relief funds, my two favorite ones are you can find them at covid.give.india.org or Khalsa Aid and that's khalsaaid.org, and anything that you can give to help the people in India with oxygen and COVID relief efforts would be so greatly appreciated.

Elise: Yeah, you've talked a lot about like different ways that we can come to understand our spiritual gifts, but I would love to hear what are your spiritual gifts? What are some spiritual gifts you have, but also some spiritual gifts that you wish that you had?

Channing: Um, I think some of my spiritual gifts, I definitely would say like a deep commitment to authenticity is for sure one of my biggest spiritual gifts. It's from that place that I move out into the world. And I feel like by giving myself permission to be who I am and feel what I feel and know what I know, that I give others in my sphere of influence permission to do all of those same things too. And by lots of people living a fully embodied life, we can change the world.

And so for me, that definitely is a spiritual gift. I feel like I also have a spiritual gift of gaining knowledge and retaining it pretty quickly. I feel like my brain is a never-ending catalog of random facts that I've learned. And I feel like I can make connections that are both relevant and helpful in real time and are really powerful. Those are some that I think I do have.

Some that I wish that I had? I don't know. If I had to choose any trait or characteristic or gift that I wish I had, I wish that it would be consistency. I wish that I didn't have to wait to feel creative or feel inspired to be able to show up and do the necessary work in the world. That's something I'm definitely working on and would like to develop that I don't have right now.

But what about you? What do you think?

Elise: Yeah, I think some of my spiritual gifts are showing up for other people. I think it's both like a gift and a hindrance. I would much rather listen to someone else share what's on their mind and talk about someone else's life and support them and show compassion for them and like be there with them than I would like talk about anything personal in my own life. So I think it's both a gift and a hindrance.

Channing: I can vouch for that. Elise and I had a conversation earlier this week where I talked to her for an hour and all she did was listen. And by the end of it, I was like, Hey, thanks for listening to me talk.

Elise: So I think I really love supporting and listening to other people and being there for other people. And maybe some of the spiritual gifts that I wish that I had, and I think this is where going back to the section, it talks about different people have different gifts. I think we can see this really apparent in your and my relationship, because I think that oftentimes I get envious of a lot of the gifts or talents that you have.

I think not only your ability to understand who you are really deeply and move from a place of authenticity, but also you have a great talent for storytelling and you are resilient and you have the ability to like be immediately likable and influence a room and people love being around you. And so those are a few of the gifts that I wish that I had, that I am trying to work on.

Channing: Honestly, that was the most loving talent lists that you've ever given me. I was listening and I was just smiling so much. I think too, same for you. I am constantly in awe of just, like you said, the way that you show up for people. When Elise and I first met, one of the things that drew me to her was that she was the person who asks questions.

And she's still like this. Anywhere we go, anyone she's talking to, it's not just me, she wants to know all about these people, how they work, how they think, how they feel. And I think even though she would say that she doesn't have an immediate likeability, I think that her likability and relationship is a lot deeper and a lot more.

I don't know, it's a slow burn. Yeah. It's a slow burn. I liked that, but it's just tangible and beautiful in its own way. And so Elise and I wanted to have this conversation to demonstrate that we are pretty different. And we do bring a lot of different things to the podcast, but they work together and we work together in some really beautiful ways that I definitely couldn't do this on my own.

Elise has mentioned to me that she couldn't, or wouldn't want to do it on her own. And I think that this is a case that I really enjoyed reading the text and doing an internalized reading where I think like I'm so grateful for the gifts that I have. And I'm so grateful in the ways that other people's gifts have blessed me.

And yeah, you definitely fall on the top of my list. I love you so much.

Elise: I love you too. Yeah. I think just to echo what you said, I can be envious or want different gifts or like, feel really envious of some of the gifts that you have. But I find this section comforting because I can better realize and understand the ways that your gifts are really a blessing in my life as well.

I do get to benefit and learn from and try and emulate some of the gifts that you have. And if that's the way that we all approach our gifts, sharing of them freely in a way that we can learn from and celebrate together. Oh, gosh, there's so many amazing things that we could do if this was the framework that we understood our gifts, instead of like the prodigy framework or hoarding or holding on really tightly to the gifts instead of sharing them.

I think the last question that we will want to end with is how can this language or understanding of gifts and talents translate into social justice work or ally work?

Channing: I think for me, my answer would be teamwork that social justice work isn't meant to be done alone. And it's not meant to be done by one single person and no one single person can do it all.

And we're meant to listen to each other. We're meant to rely on each other. We're meant to share everything that we have for the benefit of all while also recognizing that we don't have it all. And so this understanding of interdependency is crucial when we're talking about using our gifts to bless others.

Elise: I'm also thinking, we need people to maximize their gifts and their talents. Not necessarily in a stay in your lane way, but more of like, what are you already doing or what gifts do you already have and how can we use those gifts? Like you said, for the benefit of all, not just the few.

Channing: I think this really highlights just how interconnected and crucial it is to be in community, which is why I think that this section is so powerful because it interweaves so many of these elements. It reminds us that we're all welcome and we all belong in a community. And that doesn't mean just the parts of us that others deem appropriate or good.

It means all of us, all of our gifts are worthy. All of our goodness belongs.

Elise: We love you so so much. And we can't wait to talk with you next week. We hope you enjoy these week sections and we'll see you then. Bye.
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