What to Expect From Melanie and Her Work

In order to find our true homes in poetry and prayer, we need to be able to take off our shoes, slip on some house loafers, and relax. I care very much about creating and maintaining peaceful space that models right relationship. I reject the familiar adage that says, “you can be right, or your can be in relationship, but you cannot be both.” I believe God indeed wants both for us—God wants us to live together, in RIGHT relationship. One of the key Hebrew words for justice and righteousness in the Bible, tzadeqah, literally means “right relationship.” Any workshop that I lead therefore offers, and assumes, radical respect and regard for all persons regardless of gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, physical ability, appearance, race, ethnicity, age, religion, class, or identity.

I am a survivor of #ChurchToo spiritual abuse. I’ve written poems about that experience, and I’ve come to discover the crucial practices of sabbath and rest in response to abusive workplaces and ministry settings. In fact, I’d argue that my desire to become a contemplative prayer leader, as well as a poet, are at least partly in response to my #ChurchToo spiritual abuse experiences.

I seek to practice embodiment, racial justice, and affirmation of LGBTQ+ rights in my word and life. I am learning to include my she/her pronouns in any virtual and in-person introductions, and I have written here and here (among other places) on my heart for racial justice and embodiment. A growth area for me, and one I welcome, is learning about the Indigenous peoples of my homes. I therefore acknowledge that I am from the land of Cherokee, Creek and Muscogee, and that I currently live on Nacotchtank territory.

My own journey the past several years has been one of deconstruction, disorientation, and ultimately an expanded worldview. Some of my poems, such as Unweaving the Veil and Sharing Charlotte, explore this path of a deepened faith built on God’s desire for right relationship. Scientific advancements and discoveries can be disorienting, but they can also be thrilling. Are we willing to change in response to newly revealed truths? Can we go back to our ancient texts and sources of authority, and uncover fresh insights, including meanings that we have neglected for generations?

If you share these questions, concerns, and desires, then welcome. Let’s hold space together, space built on right relationship, so that we can find our true homes through poetry and prayer.