TALKING TABOO: American Christian Women Get Frank About Faith
What happens when young, American women speak the unspeakable about our experiences of faith? This collection of essays unearths the taboos.
OUR STORY: We are Erin Lane and Enuma Okoro, and we are ridiculously excited to be working on a new anthology for the I Speak For Myself series. Our book is called Talking Taboo: American Christian Women Get Frank about Faith and is set to publish in October of 2013 from White Cloud Press. The essays in this collection are bold and fiery enough to start a movement of women getting frank about faith.
As Miley Cyrus (or her SNL impersonator) says, "It's pretty cool."
Our fundraising goal is to raise $14,700 - the equivalent of 1,000 pre-sale copies of the book - in order to get people Talking Taboo all over the country and even the globe. However, if we exceeded this goal, we could provide more interactive opportunities to talk taboo with one another.We could host Talking Taboo regional conferences, make a documentary featuring the voices of our contributors and readers, or launch an oral history project of American Women of faith talking about taboos akin to StoryCorps.
Last year, we were approached by author/editor Zahra Suratwala and CNN Producer Maria Ebrahimji from I Speak For Myself, Inc. about co-editing a collection of essays from 40 American Christian women under the age of 40. Both Zahra and Maria had edited and contributed to the first volume in the series from young, American Muslim women, but their plan was to create women and men's collections for the three main Abrahamic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Our hope was that these books wouldn't be just books but catalysts for grassroot movements toward increased honesty and humility between people of faith in America.
We knew a book on the experiences of Christian American women would need to address an area of faith life that hadn't already been covered in the mainstream media. After all, Christians continue to make up three-quarters of the U.S. population, a majority that is reflected in the number of Christian books crowding the shelves of bookstores across America. Our answer became clear: Why don't we just ask the women themselves what experiences of their faith, identity, and gender are still, kind-of, sort-of, or majorly unspeakable?
You won't believe some of the answers we got - like the one on the usefulness of menstrual blood. Others, you will believe easily - like the one on what happens when the pastor has breasts.
One of the most rewarding parts of this project was engaging with young women with different affiliations - Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholic, Evangelical, Mennonite, Baptist, Unitarian Universalist and Christian Agnostic, young women with different ethnicities - Mexican, Korean, Italian, Chinese, African, and Anglo, and young women with different perspectives on their gender - both egalitarian and complimentarian, both "straight" and "queer." We sought and selected writers, educators, advocates, artists, pastors, professors, and students, all with a story to share. Sure we have some "big names" who contributed but we also have people who are being published in this collection for the very first time.
But perhaps the coolest part of this book - this whole series, really - is that you get to hear women speak for themselves. This takes the pressure off having to agree with them or even “tolerate” them, and instead you get to bear witness to the people who are living in your neighborhoods, communities, churches, and home. Pour a cup of tea. Pull up a chair. Get to know us. Maybe you'll get to know something of God a little better, too, in the process.
Other Ways You Can Help
We know that not everyone can contribute money, but that doesn’t mean you can't be a part of our efforts.
Please help us by spreading the word out and making some noise about the Talking Taboo campaign. Send your friends to this page!!Thanks so much.