when i lived in nashville, i was a member of a little episcopal chapel called st augustine’s, on the campus of vanderbilt university. i found deep, lasting community in my time at st augustine’s. it was the place where i found firm footing while navigating the rough waters of coming out in the bible belt. the congregation were equal parts granola nashvillians and recovering prostitutes and addicts. my priest was a fiery woman called becca stevens, whom i love very much. she preached a gospel that would cause the staunchest atheist to say “amen”. love and serve, love and serve: that was the message i received every week. and i believed this gospel, because i watched her live it.
so i’m about to refer you to a link, with a longish story i wrote as an assignment for a class in my senior year of college: will you indulge me and read it? for it tells the story of one such former prostitute, of magdalene house, and of thistle farms. and it is the lead up to me asking you: will you consider doing some of your holiday shopping with thistle farms? you will never feel so proud of smelling so good.