Kinna McMahon is a 23-year-old college graduate who lives with Kristin Black in Leavenworth, WA. Sally is their sixtyish neighbor. All three attend the same church. Kinna, Sally and I had a far-reaching discussion of Christianity. I appreciate how they stated their beliefs so clearly, yet listened to my doubts and responded to my queries with such respect.
Sally: “Jesus means everything to me. He has changed my life. I grew up with a lot of sadness. My parents were divorced. I changed high schools a lot. I was sad on the inside but always put on a smile. I grew up in Congregationalist and Methodist churches that were very liberal. At one point during college I took a bottle of sleeping pills. I called out to God. Just then my mother called. She told me to get to the hospital. I was saved. That was God, working through her. Two weeks later a friend invited me to church, where I met Mark, my husband. I went to college and misused my freedom. But God saved me and gave me Mark. We have been married 44 years.”
Kinna: “In college I became Type A. I cried over an A minus. I put on a good face, but I was miserable. I don’t have any memories from those first two years. In junior year, Sally shared that Jesus lived a perfect life so that I didn’t have to. I finished school and had an internship with Ernst and Young. But I also had this idea that I had to go to Costa Rica for a year. I had a good upbringing, everything was good, but something was broken inside. God was telling me to go to Bible School instead of climbing the corporate ladder.
“Costa Rica is a middle class Latin culture. People have enough, and are incredibly happy; a level of happiness we never see in this country. You can’t know your own culture until you spend time in another.”
After Kinna’s year abroad, she returned to graduate school and is completing a master’s thesis on human trafficking in Chelan County, in which Leavenworth is located. “Trafficking does not require relocation. It can happen within a community. The scope of human trafficking is immense. What would it look like to eradicate this in our own community?” Kinna sees trafficking as a barometer for the health of our society. “The reason trafficking is easy in the United States is because our system is broken. One ex-pimp told me, ‘We eat and breath manipulating girls. They are so hungry for love it’s a cinch to get them under our thumb.’”
Kinna sees a direct correlation between her work in trafficking and her faith. “The definition of sin is choosing our way as opposed to God’s way. You have to have a moment when you struggle out of sin. You have to accept a new identity as a saint. Not because you’re perfect, but because God accepts you as you are.”
Sally adds: “Christianity is not about climbing up to God. God comes down to us.”
Of all the Christians I have met, Kinna and Sally were the most open to questions about their faith without being defensive. I asked what it means that The Bible is the inspired word of God? Isn’t all meaningful writing inspired? What makes The Bible different from Shakespeare? Kinna responded, “Writings can be inspired by God, but we believe The Bible is directed by God. It is his Words, channeled through man.”
I also wanted to know, if you believe in Jesus Christ, why is it so important to have others believe in him as well? Why must others believe the same thing you do? Sally said, “We believe that Jesus Christ is real, that he is fact. It’s our duty to share our knowledge with others. It is so good to have a compass.” I pointed out that Sally included the words ‘believe’ and ‘fact’ in the same sentence. If you believe, if you have faith, then Jesus becomes fact. But if you don’t have that initial belief, the ‘fact’ of Jesus as the Son of God, any ore than Kinna or Sally are children of God, doesn’t necessarily follow.
Kinna added, “You are a relativist. You think there are many possible answers. We know there is only one answer.” I asked what she thought of Muslims, who also believe they know the one right answer. Kinna is confident that at the end times, her faith would prove true. “Christianity is not a blind faith. Time and again, The Bible has proven true.”
How will we live tomorrow?
“I will go to heaven. My job is to work on earth to serve Jesus and show others His way. As it says in Psalm 40, ‘I waited patiently for the Lord.’ The Lord gave me a new song. I am not scared about tomorrow. I am excited about tomorrow.” – Sally Warrington
“Men want to be respected. Women want to be loved. We have to order our lives to that. Female empowerment often disrespects men. Men are top dogs, but they don’t take that role in a respected way. The protector role is important. They are privileged, and with that privilege comes responsibility.” – Kinna McMahon