Each of us is on a life journey. We often have a clear destination and a roadmap, yet we set out and our lives unfold as they unfold. We become who we are as we become who we are. Here are the more public aspects of who I am now.
I am an ordained Baptist minister.
When I was ordained, the officiating minister said that my path would be “akin to that of a Hebrew prophet”. I was to observe people “in their communities, listen to the cries of the least among them, then speak the word of the Lord to them”.
Since my ordination, I have carried out this charge in various ways: by writing op-eds, making a migrant justice film called The Second Cooler, narrated by Martin Sheen, officiating at the first same sex wedding in Madison County, Alabama, compiling and editing a book, Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs, preaching, and conducting weddings and funerals for people who had no other pastor.
I am a liberation theologian.
My major theological influences have come from Latin America via what is called “liberation theology”.
Liberation theology has to do with reading the Bible through the lens of oppressed peoples. By the same token it implies reading or analyzing oppressed peoples through the lens of the Bible. Primarily the emphasis is on structural oppression and includes such things as oppressive economic policies and military dictatorships.
Liberation theology involves what is called praxis: observing, analyzing, acting, reflecting. The emphasis is on action with an orientation to justice rather than charity.
I am an immigrant advocate.
The word “immigrant” is not really the right word since the people I advocate for are not immigrants. People coming to the US seeking citizenship are immigrants. The people I advocate for are really displaced persons. The majority are displaced by economic policies. They include both illegal immigrants and “guest workers” who come legally with a visa. Others have been displaced by natural disasters, homophobia, and gang violence. Quite often there can be overlapping “push” factors which force people from their homes.
I am a film maker.
My immigrant justice documentary, The Second Cooler is a feature (meaning full-length) documentary. Martin Sheen, for reasons I still don’t quite understand, provided the narration pro-bono. The film appeared in 8 film festivals around the US and the Dominican Republic, winning 4 top awards including Best Feature Documentary at its World Premier at the Peace on Earth Film Festival in Chicago, the Film4Change Award at the AMFM festival in Palm Springs, CA, and the Film Heals Award at the Manhattan Film Festival, all in 2013. I also received am award for Humanitarianism at the AMFM festival.
I am an LGBTQ ally.
I have always felt that LGBTQ issues were among the important, if under-examined, issues affecting persons who are crossing our southern border illegally. And, I’ve occasionally been asked to speak about LGBTQ persons and issues in Christian settings.
On Monday, February 9, 2015, I received national and international attention when I became the first Southern Baptist minister to officiate at a same sex wedding. The interest in me, I suspect, was augmented by the fact that I am in Alabama. Fortuitously for reporters, I wore a photogenic rainbow striped scarf and the couple were African American lesbians from Birmingham.
I am a writer.
In addition to writing op-eds and posting daily on my Facebook page, Rev. Dr. Ellin Jimmerson/Ellin Jimmerson, I have compiled and edited a book of which I am spectacularly proud. Rainbow in the Word: LGBTQ Christians’ Biblical Memoirs will, I hope, provide encouragement to gay Christians. You will enjoy reading about them in the Contributors section on the book shown in the menu above.
With my blog, I am inviting you to walk a spell with me on this journey. We’ll find out where we are when we get there.