Posted July 15, 2013 by Marg Herder
At the 2013 Wild Goose Festival Jared Byas & Levi Weaver will present “Re-membering the Creator(s): How Spiritual Creativity Will Lead Us Into the Future.” The presentation will take place on Friday, August 9, at 3:30 pm at the Still Mountain Pub.
In November of 2012 I set up a Twitter account for Christian Feminism Today. Soon after I started the account I retweeted something sent out by a man named Jared Byas. His tweet said, “Some love by caring for the oppressed, some by breaking ppl out of oppression, & some by fighting systems of oppression. We need them all.” I liked this sentiment so much I also shared it with the EEWC Community Google Group.
Jared saw my retweet and emailed the organization through our website, curious about EEWC-CFT. The first question he asked was how EEWC (Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus) manages to combine the two words, evangelical and ecumenical. He said, “I am intrigued to hear more about an organization that combines those concepts in a world, unfortunately, where they are too often pitched as opposites.”
I emailed him back and shared some of my thoughts about the organization.
Over the next few months, Jared continued asking questions, each more thought provoking than the last! Additionally he sent me some links, like this this one I highly recommend, a YouTube video with philosopher Slavoj Zizek discussing the ethical implications of charitable giving. I started reading Jared’s blog regularly, Seeking the Good & Claiming it for the Kingdom. If you follow EEWC-CFT on social media you may have read some of his posts yourself. Since his work often discusses subjects of interest to Christian feminists, I link to his blog with some frequency.
Jared refers to himself as a student of philosophy, and I resonate with that. Philosophy has always been a favorite subject of mine too. I love stretching my mind, trying to figure out why people and systems act as they do, looking behind what seems to be going on, or what everyone wants to believe is going on, and figuring out the underlying dynamics of what might actually be going on.
I like to think that this is where Spirit moves, in the underlying dynamics of what we find ourselves involved in here. In our lives and in our world, I see Her as being what flows through everything, but She’s too often obscured by all our bluster, pretension, and ego. Perhaps She is most knowable in the spaces that often go unnoticed, unobserved.
And this man, Jared Byas, well, it strikes me that he enjoys looking into these places, and by approaching them from some unusual angles he ends up making some truly enlightening observations.
I was delighted when I realized that Jared would be presenting at the Wild Goose Festival this year, because it meant I would have the chance to meet him in person. Since I’ve been looking for an excuse to to share more about him with all of you, I thought an interview might be in order. I didn’t want to have to rush through one while we were both busy at Wild Goose, and that’s what led me to come up with this idea of doing pre-interviews with a few presenters and musicians.
In my next post I present our entire interview, and Jared answers questions like these:
“You have said, ‘Some love by caring for the oppressed, some by breaking people out of oppression, & some by fighting systems of oppression. We need them all.’ Where do you fit with that? ”
“What do you think it will take to loosen end the patriarchal logjam that prevents so many in the church from being able to benefit from the full faithful expression of Christian women? ”
But for now here’s a little information from Jared about his life.
I was born and raised in Amarillo, TX and I have my B.A. in Philosophy & Religion from Liberty University, where I married my wife Sarah when we were 19 and I was a junior finishing up my degree. When I graduated we moved up to Philadelphia for me to go to Westminster where I planned on getting a Ph.D. in Presuppositional Apologetics. For many reasons, I ended up with an M.A. in Religion and a serious distaste for apologetics, after which I became a teaching pastor at an Evangelical mega-church for 5 years while I worked on a Th.M. in Old Testament at Westminster studying under Peter Enns.
When it became very clear that the mega-church wasn’t a good fit for my theology or our family, we parted ways mutually and moved to Phoenix for me to teach courses in Philosophy, Ethics, & Old Testament at Grand Canyon University. However, as an adjunct, teaching isn’t really a full time job. I spend much of my time trying to find ways to make my theology and philosophy concrete through business, leading a marketing collective as CEO & Communications Adviser, which I have been doing for the past two years.
I also spend a great deal of time with my family, my wife Sarah and our 3 kids. Our oldest, Augustine is 5. Our middle son Tov is 3, and our daughter Elletheia is 2. A large part of my Christian faith is wrapped up in solid family rhythms and hospitality, something my wife and I take very seriously.
My only book so far is Genesis for Normal People: A Guide to the Most Controversial, Misunderstood, and Abused Book of the Bible which I wrote with my good friend and former professor Peter Enns. I am working on two more at the moment but they won’t be ready for quite some time.