56: Khristi Adams | Parable of the brown girl
Khristi Lauren Adams is a speaker, author, youth advocate and ordained Baptist minister.
Khristi is the author of Parable of the Brown Girl which is published by Fortress Press and released February 2020.
The book highlights the cultural and spiritual truths that emerge from the lives of young black girls.
She is currently the Firestone Endowment Chaplain and an Instructor of Religious Studies and Philosophy at The Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Khristi also works as co-director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Hill School.
She is the Founder & Director of “The Becoming Conference”, an annual conference designed to empower, educate & inspire girls between the ages of 13-18.
Khristi is a graduate of Temple University with a degree in Advertising and a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary where she obtained a Master of Divinity degree.
Khristi and I chat about what led to the writing of Parable of The Brown Girl, providing a safe space for young girls of color to talk about their experiences, common struggles girls of color face and God’s truth that speaks to those struggles.
6:31 Will you share a little of your faith journey with us? When did you come to know Jesus as Savior?
11:20 You are passionate about providing young women and girls of color with safe and supportive spaces to help them grow and thrive. Will you share a little of what growing up as a girl of color is like and why it is vital to have safe and supportive spaces to help them thrive?
“It’s really important for…girls of color that are growing up in spaces, whether they’re in spaces where people look like them or particularly the ones that are growing up around people that don’t necessarily look like them to know that they’re not blending…Sometimes, that whole we’re all one in Christ…can make it seem like we’re all, sort of, this big melting pot….They’re unique and important to the body of Christ. They’re a part of, what I mention in the book, the Imago Dei, the image of God.”
“We can’t comprehend the uniqueness and multi-facetedness of God. Because of that, we put our own limitations on God, as far as what we perceive God to be.”
“If we approached Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the way we do diversity, then we would think we [Christians] were polytheistic. We would be worshipping three gods. Yet, we can easily comprehend worshipping one God with three distinct persons, yet we don’t understand the diversity of the human body.”
16:55 Let’s talk about your book Parable of The Brown Girl. What led to the writing of this book?
20:14 Each chapter of the book covers common struggles women of color face. Struggles like being viewed as angry, not having a voice, being insecure. What has been the response of young women, as they have read and discussed the book?
“She said, ‘I never really felt heard and understood. I felt like you heard me and wrote down what I felt.’….She said, ‘I even got the God part.’….That was the aha moment for me. This is what it’s all about moment….My prayer was always that people, regardless of what the topic is, they can see Christ in it.”
25:32 Not only do you share testimonies of young women of color in each chapter, you follow each story with God’s truth and what He has to say about our voice, our security, our identity and so on. Will you share a few of the truths you shared in the book?
Chapter 1: The girl asked, “Why did God make me a warrior, when I am really just weak?”
“The truth that came from that, the spiritual truth, was about strength and weakness and how God, when we’re weak carries our strength. He is our strength, but also that God makes room for our weakness.”
Chapter 2: The girl was struggling with her skin complexion, her hair, her weight, etc.
The truth is the image of God, the Imago Dei
“There’s so much aesthetic challenges [for girls of color]. It’s a constant thing your whole life, because you’re growing up in a world where you are the minority and where the uniqueness of your looks is not celebrated by the totality of the culture…For me, the Imago Dei, the image of God message is so important…”
“Churches have a real responsibility to project that message. That’s where, we’re all one, so it’s all good is not enough. That’s not to say that in and of itself is not sufficient…I think there needs to be messages about what that [Imago Dei] means: the image of God.”
32:58 So many times when I speak to fellow white Christians about racism or minority culture I either get a blank stare, a blanket statement like “I don’t see color”, or we are all created in God’s likeness. What are a few things you would like fellow Christian’s in majority American culture (aka. white) to know about the importance of giving a voice to young women of color?
We discuss personal responsibility for one another as the body of Christ.
We discuss bearing one another’s burdens requires humility. Humility to say I am a part of the problem and the solution.
“I may not be the culprit, but I play a role. Acknowledging that is really difficult for some people…But if you see that acknowledgement and your role in it as a part of the kingdom of God, then there is purpose in it. There’s a larger picture. People will see Christ as a result of it.”
40:15 Khristi talks about her hopes for the book
43:00 Will you share a time in your life when you feel you had to cling to the unmerited favor, the grace of God?
“It was grace that carried me. It was grief that carried me. I don’t know what the book would look like had I not be grieving, had I not been exhausted, had it been that book I wanted to write with all the time and a clear heart.”
46:20 What is some wisdom you would like to share with generations to come?
“There are no formulas to life.”