About Melanie

I love languages and books. My parents tell me that I delighted in speaking my own secret language as a baby, and my teachers often had to tell me to “shush!” during class. As a native Georgian, I thankfully found a productive way to engage my linguistic interests by studying Spanish and Comparative Literature at The University of Georgia.  

I also love opposites, and try to find deeper paradoxes in them. Perhaps this craving to connect disparate things contributed to my calling to China. Along with my husband Brian, I moved to Hangzhou, China in 2011 to study another language, Mandarin. A passion for paradox drives my thirst for theology, so I earned a Master of Divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC in 2010.  I put this degree to good use in Shanghai as the Teaching Pastor at a nondenominational church of 2000 immigrants from over 100 countries.

I moved back to the US, and to DC, in 2016, and then served as the Fellowship Program Director at Sojourners from 2017-2019. I now seek to connect disparate things through metaphor. The more I practice contemplative prayer and poetry, both of which engage images and metaphor, the more wonder, creativity, and hope I discover in the world. Indeed, the process of receiving and creating beauty this season has helped to bring healing from past traumas. One way I’m currently seeking that healing is by pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in poetry from Spalding University. In short, I believe poetry makes a difference in the face of uncertainty, and I’m creating space here to explore why that is.

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Why House Slippers?

When others met me when I was a child, they often exclaimed, “Hey! You have really small feet!” It’s true; I do. I was born with clubfeet, which means my scar-lined, size 5.5 wide feet (or size 36, if we’re being European about it) continue to make shoe shopping an adventure. I’m grateful, however, that God has turned this seeming liability into a strength. I now understand the value of providing care and love to feet, whether they are my own, or those of guests in my home.

I lived in China for several years. Across the world, I discovered there’s wisdom and hospitality in shedding the shoes upon entry, and wearing slippers in our residential sanctuaries. As the guest, it doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, wearing stilettos or frumpy clunky shoes like the ones I often must wear–-the slippers equalize us all. As the host, I ensure that my guests have comfortable and clean options to protect their feet when they visit me. Slippers speak to a just generosity. 

When Jesus washes the disciples’ feet, he honors the image of God in each person. I extend this bipedal practice today through the ministry of house slippers.