Series 36: For the Love of Flipping the Script | Episode 02
Real Change Can Begin with a Conversation ft. Malynda Hale
When it comes to learning to dream again after a big change, it can be hard to think outside the bounds of where we have always lived. It’s hard to imagine a world that looks different from the one we are so accustomed to. So, when it comes the time to start thinking big and looking outside the box we place ourselves in, where do we start? Oftentimes, flipping the script happens internally, and then branches out from there. This week we will be looking at the ways in which faith guides us through life, and how in many cases, growing in your own faith is the pathway to connecting with others. Malynda Hale is an author, singer, and podcast host that lives at the intersection of faith, justice, and inclusion. She believes that everything starts with a conversation—whether that’s diving into what defunding the police actually means, or looking at the ways we are called to include all people, not just those that look like us. She focuses on dismantling the negative perceptions toward black people held by many in America, and how her work is dedicated towards creating a more welcoming and safe world for everyone. Jen and Malynda will dive into Malynda’s faith journey, her calling to teach and encourage others, and why it’s so important to stand up for what and who you believe in.
Hey everybody, Jen Hatmaker here, your very happy hostess of the For the Love Podcast. Welcome to the show. So you guys, right now, we are in a series called For the Love of Flipping the Script. Whoa, we have put together a lineup in this series. So when the podcast team and I were noodling over the idea for this Flipping the Script series. I realized that not only am I inspired by people that just haul off and do something totally new. Like they leave their accounting job to open a balloon shop. I love that. I love that kind of risk. I love dreamers. I’m long on the record as being a person behind the flip the script types, but I’m also inspired by people who flipped the script by re-evaluating and even changing a long held way of thinking that impacts their whole worldview.
I’m inspired by that. I see that script flip as powerful and challenging and important. I mean, you guys have heard me talk ad nauseum about my own faith, how it has been tested, how it has evolved, how it has grown, how it has developed into what it is today. And I think for so many of us, what we grew up believing, what we were handed, the version of faith, if we were handed a version of faith, for most of us has morphed and changed with the present world that we live in as it should. By the way, that’s not a bad thing.
I just want to remind you that Jesus gave us this awesome story about wineskins, and the point of it was that faith is supposed to flex. It is. The container in which we hold our faith flexes with every generation. That’s good. It’s meant to. It’s meant to because the world changes, and what matters changes, and injustice continues to show itself and we have to address it in new ways.
And so there’s nothing wrong with that, but we’ve been taught that there’s something wrong with that. That growth and change inside faith is suspect and that it is not faithfulness, but faithlessness. So I’m just telling you, I believe that God is in the here and now, and that it is not just okay, but good for our faith to go through this process. I know for me, giving myself permission to reexamine what I understand about God, what I understand about people, what I think faith looks like actively in the world, or what I should think it should look like. Who is my neighbor? And then even in the granular space, sexual identity of course, and how we are formed and how we are made and what does love mean, and what does commitment mean, and what does God have to say about injustice? What would God have to say about Black Lives Matter?
All of that has turned me into a person who is kinder, who is wiser, who is a better neighbor, who is more humble. I’m not more certain of my tenants, I’m more humble and understanding of God and his work in the world. And it’s, from my vantage point, at least, created a lot of good fruit. A lot of good fruit in my life and in my family and then some of yours. And so thank goodness for it. Thank goodness for their permission to flip the script when we need to, when it is appropriate and necessary, even inside our faith, inside of our churches, inside of our spiritual communities.
So obviously for, well forever, honestly, if you had ears to hear, this has been going on forever, but certainly in a more centralized way over the last few years, there’s been a ton of conversations around social justice, of course. And that is everything, it’s broad. That’s from racism, to inclusion, to equal rights for all people, including women, including people of color, including the LGBTQ community. And everyone in between who might be marginalized in some way. So traditional Christianity, if you will, evangelical spaces struggle with these conversations. They do. They struggle with these conversations in my view.
And certain versions of Christianity do not hold a place for some of those groups to be viewed, treated, honored, and elevated equally, I mean, even in the eyes of God. Some very oppressive things have been perpetrated in the name of religion since the first church opened its doors thousands of years ago. And so my question, that I always want to be using in my space is how can we flip the script here and reimagine how our faith to align with what is arguably one of the Bible’s biggest call-outs, which is love your neighbor as yourself.
We really value conversations that point us to the notion that our faith doesn’t have to be defined by history. It doesn’t have to be small and narrow. It doesn’t have to be understood in the exact way that it was understood 2000 years ago in a completely different world, in a completely different context. It can flex. It has a fresh wine skin to contain it in our generation, in our time, because that is the way that God designed it. So because of all that, I’m really honored and glad. I’m really excited to introduce you to her, to be talking today about all of this with Malynda Hale.
So Malynda is making huge waves in culture with the way that she intertwines her faith with justice and social activism and inclusion. Malynda, she’s a singer songwriter, she’s an actress, she’s an entrepreneur, she’s an activist, she’s a podcast host. She has used her voice and her social platform to create change within the realms of social justice and female empowerment and LGBTQ rights and veganism, and the Black Lives Matter movement. She’s, as mentioned, the host of her own podcast called We Need To Talk, and it focuses on really crucial political and cultural and religious trends. You can see why I invited her today.
And through each episode, Malynda drives home the idea that, and she says this at one point in our discussion, “Everything begins with a conversation.” Her work also focuses on dismantling the negative perceptions toward black people held by many still in America. And today I am so thrilled that she is here to talk through her own personal faith journey, why it is important to have difficult conversations around these ideas with the people closest to us, and how growing in our faith ultimately creates a more welcoming and safe and accepting and beautiful world for everyone. And if that isn’t what we are put here to do, then I don’t know what is. So she’s delightful.
Absolutely delighted to share my conversation with the wonderful Malynda Hale.
Books & Resources Mentioned in This Episode
The Black Friend – Frederick Joseph
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
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XO – Team Jen