I’m a Millennial and I Live By the Word of God

The Writers | February 21, 2017

An anonymous as-told-to about one woman’s beliefs

On the heels of our article about an increasingly atheist millennial generation, we decided to talk to one millennial who is a strong believer. She lives in New York, works in media and is of the Christian faith. Here’s what she told us.


Call me spiritual. I’m more comfortable with that. Religious, as a word, gets a bad rap. I personally don’t feel like Jesus brought about “religion” necessarily, his way was more of a lifestyle. Church itself is more of a community for me than anything else. That could be due to my Protestant background, though. Had I grown up Catholic I might be saying something else.

My church is not tied to a specific Christian denomination. It’s just church. We have Sunday services to interpret the Bible and sing songs — we sing as a form of devotion to God and as a reprieve from the craziness of our days — and we also have weekday meetings throughout the city to hang out or talk about the day or to pray together. It’s nice to have an opportunity to connect and walk out our faith together, because a lot of us come from different backgrounds. At my church you might sit between a homeless person and a magazine editor. New York is different in that way.

I enjoyed church as a kid, but it was always a social thing for me. In Maryland, where I grew up, most people go to church even if they don’t believe in it. My best friends were from church, all of my family went to church, I even found my love for the arts at church. But it wasn’t until I was 18 that I decided to really go for myself and dedicate my life to God.

I know it’s more common for people to leave the church when they go to college — and that did happen for a bit — but I eventually ended up doubling down on my commitment. When I moved to New York City for college, I felt so lost. I had a boyfriend back in Maryland and I felt really alone. I was trying to discover myself in this big city and keep my relationship going and figure out my self-worth and who I was. I drifted away from reading my Bible for some time. I didn’t even pray because I was ashamed of who I was at the time – finding my value in men and just not feeling like myself. I always knew God loved me but self-shame made me think: “I can’t be with God right now.”

I remember one night I was on my phone and stumbled across a Bible app and I saw this scripture — I’ll never forget it, from Romans 3:10 — that read: “There is no one righteous, not even one.” And it just hit me. There I was thinking I couldn’t follow God because I wasn’t perfect, but there was the word right there, telling me that no one is perfect. That was a turning point.

That was my journey back into my faith.

Religious Millenial Christian Man Repeller-19
I know a lot of people in the women’s movement think the Bible disregards women or looks down on them, but I don’t think that’s true. I think that’s the fault of early churches being lead by men and those men failing to share the stories of women in the Bible like Ruth or Rahab or Deborah. People have been manipulating the Bible forever – using it to do whatever they want to, whether in colonial times or now — and as a result, many now unfairly associate Christianity with certain gender norms. Feminism, for me, hasn’t been hard to reconcile with my spirituality. For instance, I think the Bible is very clear that I have total freewill as a woman to live on my own before getting married. I believe I have that choice. Whereas my dad — he is from Ghana — used to impress upon me this idea that women should stay with their parents until they get married. But that’s more a matter of tradition mixing with faith. That happens a lot, in my experience, the mixing of social norms and religion.

I like to think God gave us all free will for a reason. But that also means people can take the Bible and manipulate it. It’s dangerous. The Bible that slave masters used to enslave my ancestors is the same Bible that my ancestors used to escape slavery. I believe God is truly the judge of intention and of people’s hearts.

Some parts of our culture have been tough for me to navigate as a Christian. Like ambition, for instance. A lot of what my faith teaches me is that we are put here for a purpose: to serve others. I try to see my own ambition through that lens. Like if I’m a CEO one day, it will be because I employ people or have a solution for the world. If I’m a mom one day, it will be because I’m raising the next generation. I struggle with the more capital-driven side of ambition, the accumulation of stuff. But I’m not here to judge.

Last fall, when Donald Trump won, I was thinking about what it looks like to be a Christian right now. It was such a heavy time, and the word tells us that, “we mourn with those who mourn,” but I have hope in God and hope in Jesus. I wasn’t sure how to express that when those around me were in distress. When it comes to things like that, when it comes to politics and culture, I’m very thankful for my faith. It reminds me that these things happened before and we’ve gotten through it. We’ve seen rulers that are not worthy of leading people and we’ve seen struggles between the fortunate and the less fortunate. It also reminds me that there is hope. When I feel down about how people are being treated, it puts my faith to the test.

One of my favorite scriptures is, “Faith without works is dead.” If you don’t do anything with your faith, what’s the point? When Jesus was here, the Roman Empire hated him because he spoke up against greed and oppression. I try to live by his example every day. I have my own struggles, but that’s part of being a Christian.

Most mornings, I pray that God will give me discernment and the wisdom to know what to say and when to say it. Because timing is everything and you can express yourself without tearing others down. I want to listen more and be slower to speak, because the Jesus I read about in the Bible would talk to anybody and I really admire that. I want to be open to all people.

Being a Christian gives my life meaning. I know that I’m not here just for myself. So when I say “God has a plan,” I mean I’m trying to follow God through his word. What we have in us as human beings — our talents and our gifts and our abilities — are God’s way of making the earth better. My faith is not about disassociating. It’s about being involved while embodying the character of Jesus, regardless of what others believe.

Photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

  • Miranda

    This was wonderful to read, thank you!

  • Farrah Mohamed

    Really well written, not preachy and just all around inspiring no matter what faith(if any) you have. Thanks for writing this 🙂

  • Carol Wingester

    Wow this was powerful! It’s really hard to see people speaking up and out about Jesus in this time and being unashamed of the gospel now-a-days. This hit all the subjects of what we female millennials need to hear. Feminism, Love, and Political views without compromising or undermining other beliefs. Thank you for sharing this. As another Christian it’s hard to come across others with the same faith and speaking out without feeling as if you’re going to be thrown straight into a category of “ignorance”. This was beautiful put! And Thank you Man Repeller for opening up a platform for so many people to share their beliefs and stories.

  • Andrea Raymer

    I love seeing this. I go to church every Sunday and am very active in my church community in NYC. Though when I am with people that I know from places other than church I feel like I have to hide this huge part of my life when I don’t want to end up in a huge theological discussion about Christian culture and it’s place in society.

    Also. I want that hat.

    • Andrea Raymer

      and a side note, I had been thinking recently (since Amelia’s christmas article about being part catholic and part jewish) how I would love to see a roundtable about people’s experiences with religion in general be it Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.

      • Sara

        Yes! I’m catholic and I think my religion is an important part of who I am but I also feel I have to hide it, even when I live in a predominantly catholic country. People assume that im not pro choice that I don’t condem abuses by the church, etc. And also, I see many of my friends or whatever disrespect my religion on social media and I feel that it’s getting harder to have respectful conversations about religion.
        I would also love a round table, readers outside the US experience different cultural approaches

    • What church do you go to in NYC? I attend church at home but often skip when I’m visiting NYC. Would like to bookmark a church for next time!

      • Andrea Raymer

        I go to Redeemer Presbyterian’s UWS location! I started going right away when I moved here because my Dad had read Tim Keller’s books and made me go. Both of my parents fangirl really hard when they are in town and he is preaching.

        • Haha I would have guessed Redeemer. My friend’s mom calls every few weeks to ask if Keller happened to preach at the location he goes to.

          • Andrea Raymer

            I floated around for a while this summer even though I definitely have an established community at Redeemer.
            I have also gone to Hillsong (which i hated) and Apostles Union Square (the only reason i stopped going is because i had a more firmly rooted community at redeemer and the services were at the same time)

  • Lindsey

    I think this writer has a lot of good things to say, and as somebody who also would call themselves a Christian, I can concur with almost everything she said (though maybe not in this language). I’m not sure of the circumstances of her anonymity, but I wished she wasn’t anonymous! I think it would have been more meaningful for the writer to “own” it by putting her name to it. But like I said, maybe there was an extenuating circumstance that necessitated that?
    Anyway, thanks for including this article! Love seeing a variety of perspectives here. 🙂

    • Sofia Maame

      Hey Lindsey it’s me <3 The anonymity was due to the editorial style of As Told By's, but so glad you enjoyed 🙂

      • Lindsey

        Thanks for writing!

    • Haley Nahman

      Hey Lindsey! This person did not request to be anonymous because of the context — every month I interview someone anonymously to get their feelings on a given topic. This was who was up this month! Anonymity allows any storyteller more freedom to share privates feelings on a broad platform. (We’ve covered divorce, motherhood, finances, etc). That’s it, no other drivers!

      • Lindsey

        Thanks for clarifying!

      • Haley, I always enjoy your writing and just wanted to thank you and say kudos to MR for including it. 🙂

        • Haley Nahman

          Thanks Lyndsay!

  • Julia

    This is great!!!!! Thank you, as a Christian myself struggling to navigate the age group where being a Christian seems to be the less “popular choice” this put into words beautifully what and why having a relationship with the Lord is important!

  • Natty

    Wow, really enjoyed this. I’m actively working on rekindling my relationship with God so this really hit home for me. Thank you !

  • Gabriela

    This was awesome!! I feel like I’m reading a post written by myself because I’ve been through that exact same thing! I grew up catholic but then later converted to Christianity. When I went away to college I also felt like I struggled with my spiritual life. Oh and I’m also from MD! It’s so good to hear that someone out there has shared the same struggles of their faith and their outside life. And like you said, the main purpose of us being in his earth is to serve God and serve others. When we’re like Jesus, then we’re able to show others of him and do good! I loved this post and thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Molly D

    Thank you MR for providing a platform for this and for your fairness in representing different beliefs and ideas. Huge.

  • I really love this article. I think that the media and society in general advocate atheistic character. Even the people closest to me in college show little interest in spirituality, so often I am left to lift myself spiritually when I am at my lowest. I appreciate that this writer wrote these words for Man Repeller viewers to read, but I do feel it is sad that she remains anonymous because I think we should be more proud of our beliefs and what we stand for as Christians, I know this is a struggle for me personally as well.

    • Kay

      When I hear the idea that society and the media advocate an atheistic character, I always wonder if what is truly meant is atheist, or secular. Secularity is appropriate in the public life and institutions of a society that has freedom for all religions. I feel like I rarely hear anyone in the media say that there is definitely no god, so I’m just not seeing the advocation for atheism.

      • CatMom

        I think this too. I also don’t entirely understand the idea that it’s somehow hard to stand as a Christian because, lemme tell ya, as someone who isn’t and never has been a Christian and comes from a fully non-Christian tradition, THAT shit is hard in this country. I don’t know when the last time someone tried to deny you birth control because Allah said no or screamed “IT’S HAPPY HANUKKAH” in your face, but having been on the receiving end of the Christian equivalent of those things, it ain’t fun.

        And no, not all Christians do those things. But, uh….a lot do.

      • Yes, I guess you’re right there is no advocating atheism in media, but there is definitely an accepted normality of atheism in media in which it seems to be more common in media of all forms (tv, celebrities, social media) that people are atheistic compared to other spiritual practices.

        • kay

          thanks for writing back, i had to think a lot about what you said and what was really on my mind about it and i think it’s this- your original comment i think is about feeling isolated in your faith. whats on my mind about that is that as an atheist i usually also feel isolated in my beliefs- in my life i have almost always been around people who think my beliefs are wrong, and i never tell anyone I’m an atheist and i try to change the subject if it comes up. i only admit it under a direct question. and it’s not just atheists- i know muslims in america feel isolated in their beliefs, and jewish people have almost everywhere and always felt isolated in their beliefs. our country officially celebrates christmas and easter, which i love, but def those are christian days. maybe I’m misunderstanding your point, but the question i have about what you wrote is are you saying that christians should not feel isolated in america, when most other belief systems do? if we are really pluralistic and getting out of our bubbles we will all feel isolated sometimes in some places right?

  • This was such an interesting read, I don’t have a faith but I’m so interested in spirituality and how other people understand their faith. Thank you for sharing your story

    – Natalie
    http://www.workovereasy.com

  • Amelia Diamond

    I really like this “I want to listen more and be slower to speak.” Trying to do the same.

  • CatMom

    I’m seeing a lot of religious readers commenting, so I have a genuine question for one (or all!) of you, and I do mean this with the utmost sincerity: why do you believe in god, and why in Jesus specifically (for those of you who are Christians)?

    I don’t mean why are you a member of a religious community – I’m a practicing Jew, despite being a confident atheist and I absolutely understand the value of that community. I don’t mean this to be a challenge; I’m genuinely curious, as I don’t know anyone personally who believes in god (I’m part of a reconstructionist congregation).

    • Catie Marie

      This is such a great question. I’m a practicing Christian from Birmingham, AL currently living in NYC, and I think the reason that I continue to seek prayer, scripture, and Christian community (which you addressed) in an increasingly secular world is because of the freedom that Christianity brings to believers. As the writer acknowledged, Christianity/religion often gets a bad rap because of its alleged rigidity and “rules” – for lack of a better word. But, in reality, the lifestyle that Jesus lived and calls us to live is truly a lifestyle of freedom and love – freedom from anxiety, freedom from guilt and second-guessing, freedom from sin in general. Christianity is comforting and freeing because it says that our identity isn’t in this world, it’s in something constant and huge and perfect. So that’s my spiel – I believe in God, and in Jesus, of the Bible, because Christianity ultimately adds value to our existence, but at the same time it removes the value from our mistakes. Jesus, his life, and his death remove the pressure from us to be perfect, remove the pressure for us to be good. In Jesus, we are free to do the best we can.

      Oh, and s/o to Man Repeller for seeking out contrasting opinions on topics like religion. That’s true journalism, and it’s so needed.

      • CatMom

        Yes, way to go Man Repeller. It’s good to have the opportunity to discuss these things.

        And so, if you don’t mind a follow-up question, what is your understanding of the one-ness of God and Jesus? I know a bit about Catholicism (though not much about the various Protestant religions, for which I apologize) but I know that they have a conception of God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as being both one and distinct. Is that more or less your understanding as well?

        • Roxana

          I can’t answer for Catie Marie, but I venture to say that as a Christian she would accept a notion of the “one-ness of God and Jesus,” as you put it.

          I can’t think of a Protestant denomination that doesn’t ascribe to the notion of a Triune God; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Catholicism also ascribes to the notion of the Trinity.

          As an aside, the Trinity is not expressly written in the Bible, but the concept is there. It is just not articulated as the “Trinity.” That is, the word “trinity” does not exist in the Bible.

          • CatMom

            Accepting it wasn’t really what I was asking about. I asked her how she understood this fundamentally contradictory concept. There is a difference between church doctrine and the way that individual people help themselves to understand church doctrine.

          • CatMom

            For example, transubstantiation in Catholicism. How does the human mind understand the Eucharist as both bread (or a cracker I guess) and the literal flesh of Jesus? For me, as a person who doesn’t believe in a god of any kind, the answer is simple: it’s just not real. But for a person who believes this, what is the understanding?

            Now as I recall, transubstantiation isn’t the doctrine of every Christian church, so this question specifically may not be one to which you have an answer. But there are lots of contradictory elements in every faith, and so I’m mostly interested in learning about how people understand these things in their own minds (because as a non-believer, it’s very easy for me to say that it’s just one or the other, or not true at all, because to me, well, that’s the reality).

          • Roxana

            Oh, okay, sorry for the misunderstanding. . .

            Right, transubstantiation is a Catholic doctrine, and I venture to say that it is attributed to being a miracle performed by the Holy Spirit, but I’m not Catholic so I’m shouldn’t say that with too much certainty, even though I’m pretty sure that’s how it’s viewed :).

            And yes I agree that there can be a difference between church doctrine and the way that individuals help themselves to understand said doctrines. As an aside, I would contend that there shouldn’t really be a difference because then you run into the problem of theology run amok where people believe things that are actually contradictory to Scripture, and illogical, etc. That is a whole other issue, though.

            To your initial question, though, I know that I’ve understood the Trinity (or rather have been taught to understand the Trinity) as follows:
            God is the Son,
            God is the Father,
            God is the Holy Spirit,
            BUT
            the Holy Spirit is not the Father and is not the Son,
            the Son is not the Father and not the Holy Spirit, and
            the Father is not the son or the Holy Spirit.
            However, the three do “glorify” each other.

            In fact, there is a diagram that shows the relationship that a quick google search would probably show.

            I could say so much more (in fact, I did say a lot more in my reply to your initial question to believers, but for some reason MR never posted that comment; only my responses to other comments in this thread; not sure why, MR!), but I would really encourage you to read someone like C.S. Lewis. Maybe someone has already recommended his book Mere Christianity to you? He talks about his journey from Atheist to Christian, and goes further to argue for Christianity. I think a lot of your questions about Christianity or even just faith would be answered by Lewis.

            Anyway, I hope what I’ve said is helpful and not confusing or irrelevant!

          • Roxana

            Also, it feels easy for me to accept this understanding/explanation of the Trinity because I believe that God is omnipotent and omniscient, etc., (as is taught in Scripture, i.e. the Bible) so it follows that He is able to be the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit at one time, etc. Maybe that’s more what you mean about how to understand what seems like a contradictory concept? To me, and I venture to say to other “believers,” it is not a contradiction because we first believe that God is not like us. He is not a “person” limited by matter, etc. the way you and I are. He is a whole other being who is both transcendent and imminent. He’s not bound the way we are. Of course, there is TONS more I could say :).

            Again, hope this his helpful!

          • CatMom

            Yeah, I got an email about your other comment and then it disappeared! I’m not sure why.

            Well, I mean, I’m familiar with C.S. Lewis and his faith, but I’m really mostly interested in understanding contemporary people – my peers, to some degree – and their belief in a deity of any variety, since that’s something that’s sort of fundamentally confusing to me, despite being fairly common. I’ll admit that, as an atheist, I have a small internal bias against people who believe in god, and that’s something that I’m working on. Having a working understanding of how and why people conceptualize god seems like a good start to combatting that bias.

            Though I’m not NOT interested in Christianity, I’m also not *especially* interested in Christianity; I’m interested in people’s personal beliefs in god (all of which are equally relevant to me since I don’t believe). However, it does seem that most of the commenters on this article are Christians and I appreciate their responses, and yours as well.

          • Roxana

            I suspect my comment was taken down because in the process of answering why I believe, I recall saying that Christianity was “true,” and maybe that’s offensive? I don’t know. Something is true or not true whether or not I say so. Also, I assume that anyone of us who says anything is saying it because we believe it’s true. Whatever :). We live in a postmodern world, so the idea of an absolute truth is generally offensive. I happen to find absolute truth comforting. Hence my belief in God, etc. . . (could I use “etc.” more??)

            As for C.S. Lewis and Mere Christianity, what’s great about the book is that he does make a case for belief in God, not just Christianity. I mean, yes, he ultimately lands on Christianity, which is admittedly why I love it :), but in the process he makes a case for belief and faith, etc. He articulates a lot of what believers (Christian or otherwise) assume when they believe. This is why I think reading the book will help you understand how or why people conceptualize God. He addresses Buddhism and Islam, for example, and not for the sole purpose of dismissing them. Also, for what it’s worth, his arguments are a big part of how I came to believe, so reading the book can help you understand how at least one millennial understands their belief :). Sorry if I’m being pushy! Obviously, I’m biased (too :). We’d all do well to try to recognize our biases. I don’t mean to sound patronizing, but thank you for being honest about it :).

            And thanks for the dialogue :).

    • Sarah Wrenshall

      I believe in God because of the beautiful gifts I’ve received in my life. I think our world is way too complicated and intricate to be made without a Designer. I’m Catholic and my faith does support evolution, so I think evolution was guided by God. I also believe in God because of the presence of God, peace, and love I have felt in prayer. I believe in and have witnessed miracles that point to God’s presence in our lives. I follow Jesus because that’s the religion I was raised in and I love the sacraments of the Catholic Church. I feel like reading about Jesus’ life in the gospels shows that he is love. But I do not think my religion is the only way to access God. I think any world religion that leads to people praising their creator is amazing!

      • Andrea Raymer

        “I think our world is way too complicated and intricate to be made without a Designer”

        bingo. I think science is so much more powerful to me with that in mind.

    • Andrea Raymer

      I am a born and raised christian currently living in NYC. I believe in god because of the ways that i have personally seen his presence in my life and the blessings he has given me through is perfect timing. timing is so key to me because in hindsight I can see how everything worked out exactly perfectly despite all the anxiety i felt before.

      As for Jesus in particular. I was obviously raised this way, but in the conversations i have had with my muslim roommate about our faiths, the biggest difference is the concept of forgiveness. Jesus was a perfect person who died to take on the punishment for humanities imperfections, so that we may be forgiven. Even if I wasn’t raised to believe that I would want to believe it because of the peace that I find in forgiveness for every way that I fall short.

    • reconstructionistbeliever

      Hi! Just wanted to reply because I’m also a reconstructionist Jew, but I guess unlike most of the ones you know, I believe in God!

      As to why: all I can say is that I’ve felt the transcendent. I don’t need a rational argument; nor do I spend time thinking about it––I just know. For what it’s worth, I work in an academic discipline in the humanities grounded on quote-unquote objective interpretation, and spend much of my time adhering to “reason,” etc. But the God thing has just been an unspeakable part of me (a kind of knowing almost beyond my consciousness) for as long as I can remember.

      • CatMom

        Haha yeah, I only threw that in there because I knew someone would think “Wait a minute, you’re a practicing Jew who doesn’t know anyone who believes in god?” It’s definitely an oversimplification! I’m 100% sure there are members of the Synagogue I go to who believe in god, but I’m not super close to a lot of the people in the community, so I definitely haven’t discussed it with anyone. My friends who also attend are almost certainly atheists, or have a kind of abstract connection to the spiritual in place of a theistic belief.

        What you say makes a lot of sense to me. I was talking about the Transcendent with my partner recently, and it’s definitely something I – and I think all humans – experience; I just don’t necessarily attribute it to the divine. Thank you for replying to me!

        • reconstructionistbeliever

          No, your experience is pretty spot-on with what I had in the reconstructionist temple I grew up in, and I love that there’s room in reconstructionism for such a variety of conceptions (or lack thereof) of divinity. If anything though, I was the black sheep (certainly of my practicing Jewish nuclear family!) for actually believing. “Culturally Jewish” as opposed to “religiously Jewish” is fairly typical!

      • Roxana

        I completely agree. I’m an non-denominational “Evangelical” Christian.

        I came to my faith first through a “rational” approach (after having been raised “in the church”), but I do think that at the root of my belief is a knowledge, as you say, of the truth of God. I just *know*. This *knowing* has only been further confirmed as I have tried to live out my faith.

    • Roxana

      CatMom, thanks for your question. I’m 15 days late, but I’d love to answer it. . .

      I am a Christian and I will admit that it’s kind of difficult to articulate why I believe in God because there are so many different reasons.

      By way of background, I grew-up in a non-denominational Christian home. In fact, I still attend the same church in which I grew-up along with my parents, siblings and husband (whom I met there). Anyway, one of my majors in college was philosophy (I studied philosophy and English lit). I really appreciated studying philosophy because it forced me to ask myself the question “What is true?” What is true of me as an individual? What is true of humanity? Of existence? Of this world, etc? And I was forced to look at how many other philosophers addressed the same existential questions addressed by the Christianity (and well, every other religion) I was taught as a child.

      I could say so much more, but I’ll try to be concise: the sole reason that I am a Christian (and hence, believe in God and in his son Jesus Christ) is because I need a savior. Desperately. I cannot save myself. No matter how hard I try to be a “good person,” I fail. I need someone to take the punishment for all the things that I say, think or do that violate God’s truth. The Bible teaches that we all need to be reconciled to God to truly live to have “everlasting life.” But God is perfect and we are not. Because we sin and are imperfect we cannot be in His presence. Christ, who is perfectly God and perfectly man, came to take away our imperfection, to reconcile us to God.

      If I’m honest with myself, I suck at life. I don’t always tell the truth. I think the world revolves around me. I am impatient. I am arrogant. I yell at my kids and my husband and my mother, and the poor person on the other end of the customer service line. I’ve hated my neighbor (literally our upstairs neighbor, but also my figurative neighbor). I judge people. I am superficial. I am materialistic. I can be mean, just for the heck of it. The list goes on. . .

      The bottom line is that without Christ, I am dead. Truly dead. That’s why I believe. Accepting this truth has also answered all those other questions about existence that many think are not answered by Biblical Christianity (e.g. relationships, the natural world, etc.)

      I’m sorry this is such a long answer, and I’m not sure I’ve made any sense. Either way, I would strongly encourage you to read C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity. You might already know that he was an athiest who came to believe. I think he does a phenomenal job of articulating his journey to faith, and of why Christianity is unique and true.

  • theysayshycity

    This may be a forest-for-the-trees kind of thing, but as a practicing Catholic, it rubs me the wrong way to see specifically Catholic iconography (rosaries, crucifixes, the Sacred Heart) juxtaposed in a pop art way for no reason other than aesthetics. Maybe if the writer was Catholic (either grew up in a traditionally Catholic community or was a practicing Catholic), I could understand – but that doesn’t seem to be the case.
    I understand that Catholic iconography is some of the most easily identifiable religious iconography, especially in the Western world. It makes for good pictures, it’s easily available, and it still (even in a post-Madonna world) has shock value when its taken out of a religious context. I also understand that this essay has a Christian slant – a picture composing of other religious symbols may not have had the same ties to the essay (and could be seen as appropriation).
    That said, it’s not not appropriation of these symbols. It feels lazy to borrow these specifically Catholic images for the point of grabbing attention for an ambiguously Christian article (if I’m missing some deeper artistic meaning, I would love to have someone explain it to me – I’m all for the artistic use of iconography, as long as it has an intent).
    I see this kind of thing too often to be truly upset about it — but as a matter of respect, I’m not sure if these images were the best fit for the article.

    • BarbieBush

      This is really interesting and I agree. Not saying that MR peeps aren’t Catholic but to (us) Catholics they are totally Catholic images/symbols exclusively. The Rosary!!! This is such an interesting point because I would bet the people who put the shoot together didn’t even think of this aspect. Catholic stuff is so pretty and it easily fits into like this instagram aesthetic of little girl perversion feminism. I am thinking like Petra Collins here. I think it was probably chosen for the aesthetics like this looks like it would be in a “cool Christian girl’s” room.

      • theysayshycity

        Nailed it with the “cool Christian girl.” The article is so vaguely “Christian” that its hard for me to understand what that even means in this case

    • Sara

      I thought the exact same thing! I found it especially odd since she clearly states that she’s Protestant, too. I also found it weird that they titled it “I’m a Millennial and I Live by the Word of God”and yet there’s no Bible in that image. As stated below – it’s like the photo was just meant to be “cool Christian girl” and not true to her story. But, I still appreciated reading her story and that MR provided a platform for her to share.

    • 808kate

      Yes thank you for this, this really rubbed me the wrong way. Also it isn’t appropriate to decorate a vase with a rosary.

      • Sarah

        Ok, as a fellow catholic I do not get your problems here. The article clearly states that she is trying to implement her religious or spiritual beliefs into her very modern (very artsy) life. This is a fashion and lifestyle blog, so it has to look aesthatically pleasing.
        How is a rosary decorated vase disrespectful? Here in Austria you will find those in every granny’s house.

        • 808kate

          It might be a difference in where I grew up. My family are Irish-American Catholics and I was scolded as a child if I treated my rosary that way, and we learned the same lesson in school. If it’s not the same way everywhere I could understand that. As far as the article goes I enjoyed it but I agree with the OP as to the use of Catholic iconography in the pictures.

    • Julia Patton

      Agreed! As a Christian woman — I am a little confused at the use of Catholic iconography for what seems like mainly aesthetic reasons…?

      Still super love this article and the heart behind it! But maybe…. do a little more research of what is culturally sensitive next time?

  • Lou

    I loved this. I’m a millennial, and a student of a Course in Miracles, and much of what she writes resonates with me. There is only one Truth, spoken in different ways. The pain and struggle I see in my friends (and recognize in my younger self, before I found the course) is, I think, a manifestation of believing that their life is just their corporeal body, their ambitions, their complaints. We are all spiritual beings, having a *temporary* human experience. If you believe all you are is the human experience, life will be very painful.

  • mgjohnson

    Love seeing coverage of what faith is to millennials on MR – I work at a church and often feel like I’m the only “normal” millennial in that position. I’m not seeking a lifelong career in the field, but find it to be a really enriching community. I’d love to hear from millennials of other faiths too!

  • Tats

    Hello! I don’t usually post here, but for those interested, I did a series of interviews similar to this, regarding faith and sexuality that you can check out here: http://questionablefaithproject.tumblr.com/

  • Yes! I could’ve written this myself! Thank you for including this article, Man Repeller. 🙂

  • Lindsey Bowen

    Wow, thank you for this. I am also a millennial with a strong faith in God and very close relastionship with Him and I love how Man Repeller provides a platform for so many different religions, world views and opinions. It’s very refreshing.

  • Jason R Casas

    Awesome! I love this!

  • alliespence

    This is great. MR, you guys keep getting better and better. I so appreciate your diversity of voices and subjects and the way you seem to champion women with many different perspectives. It’s also really nice to read about Christianity on what could be perceived as a chic fashion site 😉

  • BarbieBush

    I understand this was this person’s tale and expression of what religion means to them and not really like a hard hitting piece of journalism but this is boring fluff. What about the real issues that plague feminist women (feminist anyone!!) who are religious? “Ambition” cannot be the hardest thing you have to deal with as a (presumably) black religious woman in New York City in this insane political climate and in an increasingly atheist population of your peers.

    Maybe you didn’t want to reveal too much and I almost feel evil criticizing what I am sure is heartfelt, sincere and seemingly hitting a lot of (Christian?) commentators in the feels. But like this isn’t a women’s magazine. I want to be interested and challenged when I read something inter-sectional and expect that when I read this site..which I am realizing is maybe too much based on my emotional annoyance when I don’t like something you publish..

  • Chandler

    I love this! Thank you for reinforcing the idea that you can have strong faith as a feminist and with a busy life. Thank you Man Repeller for not being afraid to write about a variety of beliefs!

  • Olivia Moore

    GREAT share, MR! Continually impressed by how well you all cover sensitive subjects. And kudos to your anonymous subject- I’ve seriously been struggling with the same inner conflict of feminist/Christian/how those two mix, and she covered them incredibly. I’d suggest reading Jesus Feminist for a lil more on how great it is that Jesus wants us to be both. Love to you all!! Great piece!

    • Andrea Raymer

      I have had Jesus Feminist sitting on my shelf unopened for 2 years! I think i need to read it now for real

    • Olivia AP

      I’m a feminist and a catholic and I was talking to my dad the other day and he told me very randomly 2 things about the bible that help me mix these two. First, when they were condemning a prostitute and were about to kill her. He had love and compassion AND said that basically we can’t judge anybody. And when Jesus started including women into his teaching. These two were against all traditions at that time. At the end, I think the right (as the author is saying) is making interpretations of the Bible that are against Jesus’ message which is love and not feeling morally superior and judging others.

  • June2

    I’ve noticed tons of people (ages 20-40) honoring Mary instead of specifically Jesus right now. But I’ve always seen spirituality as gender-free. All that personification just complicates simple truths. I’m sure Creator level omnipotence goes way beyond the concept of male-female, which is likely only an earth thing. Who knows what forms consciousness takes beyond our lovely little dot of a home, if any?

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    I really enjoyed this different POV and very very strongly agree with this: “People have been manipulating the Bible forever – using it to do whatever they want to”

  • Abi Newhouse Vaughn

    This is exactly why I love Man Repeller. In this community, we’re able to see life from every viewpoint, and I think that’s so important. Thank you for this!

  • Jamie Leland

    I am, and was raised, an atheist, and even though I don’t believe in Jesus, I think there’s enormous value in his teachings, as well as in the community of the church. Thank you for sharing. I wish Christians like this were more vocal about their faith, because it feels like we only ever hear from those who are trying to manipulate the bible for their own ends or impose their morality on others, often through legislation, which makes something authoritarian and ugly out of something that can be so liberating and beautiful.

  • MLH Design Co

    I love this article and I am so happy to see a sister in Christ being represented on this platform. God is truly awesome and He makes a way where there is none. I love the Lord with my entire being and I am so happy to know that this young lady had the courage to be a light in the darknes. Be encourage and continue to let the light of our Heavenly Father shine through you.

  • belle

    I’m all for the community aspect of church-going but I just can’t get on board with the idea that organized religion and staunch feminism are not at odds when the ultimate judge of my intentions and heart is still referred to as a “him.” I am so creeped out when I go to the weddings of very religious acquaintances and all the talk is of the woman belonging to god, to her father, to her husband….I take comfort in the fact that I feel confident in my choices without having to answer to anyone.

    • CatMom

      Yeah, I wish we could talk about how religion IS sexist and patriarchal and that we can also pick and choose and get something out of it and ignore the things we don’t like. Because that’s what a lot of people do, myself included. Judaism is pretty damn sexist, but I just don’t pay attention to those parts.

      • belle

        Totally, and I like that you can still identify with a faith while thinking critically about its teachings and how they relate to your values, versus having blind faith in every word. I grew up going to religious schools and have read the Bible cover to cover (required to graduate!) and to me, pointing out that there are strong women depicted is the religious equivalent of “I have black friends.” I have a LOT of issues with the scripture itself, and obviously even more issues with its interpretation in many contexts, that can’t be explained away. While I don’t attend, I do like the growing trend of non-denominational religious groups, and I’m glad my generation is finding a new way to gather in a faith-based setting that can support and encourage their lifestyles!

        • CatMom

          Yes, absolutely. And acknowledging that conflict doesn’t weaken one’s position! We’re able to relate to our culture(s) in that way, so I don’t know why we can’t do the same with religion.

    • Hannah Grace

      The point about “belonging” reminded me of something C.S Lewis wrote: “We produce this sense of ownership not only by pride but by confusion. We teach them not to notice the different senses of the possessive pronoun—the finely graded differences that run from “my boots” through “my dog”, “my servant”, “my wife”, “my father”, “my master” and “my country”, to “my God”. They can be taught to reduce all these senses to that of “my boots”, the “my” of ownership.”

      I am a practicing christian and the God I know from the Bible is big on free will. He never forces any one to belong to him. He rather woos you with his love, and that is what Christianity is all about.

  • Hannah Cole

    THIS IS SO GOOD!

  • Kirsten

    I’m a very devout Christian, I also love Man Repeller! I appreciate pieces like this that make me feel like there is space for me here.

  • michela benigno

    I loved this article, thank you man repeller xx

  • Isabela Alves

    This was such an amazing article to read. MR, thank you!

  • Nicole Gannaway

    Thank you for this. I really appreciate this view on life being represented here.

  • Jennifer

    I really appreciated this article. Contrasting opinions and perspectives are what make the world go ’round. Thanks for posting MR!

  • Gene

    This linked article reinforces every reason why I AM an athiest. Reading the MR article was a nice way to get an inside view on faith from a reasonable and personal perspective instead of general ideas.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/why-i-just-couldnt-be-an-atheist-even-if-i-wanted-to/

  • Dale Chong

    I really, really liked this article and agree with a lot of it and how Christians are portrayed today. Especially starting off with the idea of “religious.”

    As a Christian myself, in Los Angeles, I find it tough to be in a city like this, but I also know there’s a purpose for me. I respect my friends and their opinions, but it can be tough when being “religious” appears to be a setback or a wedge.

    If anyone’s out there in LA, let me know 🙂

  • Rebekah

    I love that this was published and opened a dialogue for people of all faith backgrounds. In my experience, I feeling like people long for an environment to discuss spirituality, but it rarely happens.
    Thank you for starting the discussion, MR!

  • Jessica Mandel

    This is beautiful 😇

  • antoinette

    love it!

  • Sarah

    I absolutely loved this. Thank you, anonymous girl and MR! So many media sites fail to cover both sides of the coin, much less in such a beautiful way.

  • Chelsea Iddings

    Inspiring. Thanks MR!

  • b_rose96

    I’m such a fan of this. Thank you.

  • gretchenvm

    I am so, so, SO happy to have stumbled upon this post. Thank you for sharing your story. I usually never comment on blogs but I feel so compelled and grateful to MR for publishing this. I’m 23 + Catholic; I find it so difficult to remind many other non-believing Millenials that I am religious/disciplined without being labeled as a “Jesus freak” (i’m not angel – there is plenty of room for improvement). Its something that does bother me on a daily basis, and I’m so glad to see this forum of comments from people in similar situations. Thank you!

  • LettyJ

    Thanks for this article. I am a catholic and my faith gives a lot of streingh to my life. I also feel I have to hide this important part of live. I wish more people knew of the positive impact on daily base.

  • Ashlyn Shaji

    Thank You, Man Repeller for this great article!

  • Emily Terreberry

    I have to admit, I was shocked to see MR post this article since evangelical Christianity is somewhat of a taboo topic, especially for such widely-read publications. Bravo, MR for being open-minded enough to share women’s walks from every perspective. I’m also a millennial, urban Christian, and I love your site, but never anticipated seeing my own faith represented well here. Thanks for proving me wrong 🙂