The Emergent Grace Movement

Christian Hope for Lasting Mental Health

Pigeonholing in Life and Christianity

inspirational quote spelled out with board game letter tiles

I am writing for Christians who are tired of being pigeonholed by their denomination who tells them how to think about gender, sexuality, and race. My motivation: to break down barriers and shake up the way religious elites talk to the masses who blindly follow their doctrinal lead. I am not a church, find your own church and believe what you want to believe. I am here for you if you are struggling with mental illness and feel confined by your current religious readings and gleanings but still want to tune into what religious leaders are saying. Think of me as a supplement.

A mentor once told me that I should stop assuming that I know everything about a person based on where they went to church, what their stances were on controversial gender and sexuality matters, or their racial or ethnic background. Apparently, I had been making sweeping generalizations. I had been pigeonholing people. I had assumed all Mormons were against gay people. I acted as though all people who were pro-life didn’t support gay marriage. That all minorities spent the majority of their waking lives feeling oppressed, many of them impoverished. The list goes on and on.

In my observations as I read online journals, the authors are pigeonholing their own readers. People are being made to fit into holes that may not fit them entirely. But no matter, because they keep getting clicks, even if these clicks lead the masses into pits of hate and judgment of either liberals or conservatives. Both sides do it.

Pigeonholing with Serious Mental Illness

Striking to me now is how much I have mischaracterized not only others, but also myself throughout my life. I live with schizoaffective disorder. After my diagnosis, it took a long time to realize that I was still human, with loves, desires, goals, and ambitions. Given that this process was painful shows I had previously, before my own diagnosis of serious mental illness, pigeonholed mentally ill people and what it meant to live with serious mental illness. Clearly, I see now, I hadn’t thought of mentally people as fully human.

I also worry that people will think that because I personally advocate for medicine that I judge people who avoid medication. Acknowledging that I am not my readers is an important first step towards inclusion of all.

Pigeonholing with orthodoxy, race, and sexuality

I was just doing a business exercise on how to know your audience, and realized that it was asking me to pigeonhole people. As an orthodox Christian, I believe in the Trinity and it shapes my life. I love the creeds. So far that sounds conservative… However, I also believe in the equality and dignity of gender and sexual minorities, supporting their ability to marry. That sounds liberal. Unorthodox even.

Racial justice is important to me. I try to teach by example here, as a donor to racial justice causes and as someone who features people of color prominently in her works. By incorporating diverse perspectives, centering them as individuals, my intention is to not stereotype.


This tendency to pigeonhole also shapes where I buy ads. My books may be too conservative and orthodox for the liberals and too liberal for the orthodox. Therefore, I have not bought too many ads. It feels manipulative to buy ads, though perhaps I’ll succumb eventually.

I think that the best advertising is to publish in journals I read. Stay tuned as I try to expand the Emergent Grace Movement through publishing and sharing resources!

As I say in my newly published memoir, more than anything, I want to show love. You can’t show love and judge at the same time.

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