Intersectionality is Beautiful & Messy

Rev. Tuhina Rasche
Associate Pastor of Social Ministry and Adult Faith Formation, Grace Lutheran Church in Palo Alto, CA


Intersectionality: the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 10.08.08 AMY’all, intersectionality is HARD. I have so many identities and holding them together is complicated. A few of those identities are:

  • a woman
  • who is Asian Indian
  • AND American
  • but specifically of Bihari/ Bengali heritage (a particular point of pride here is eating dessert before AND after dinner)
  • I am also abled
  • and a Lutheran pastor to an economically privileged population
  • and I myself am economically privileged
  • but have encountered racism in the United States, in my denomination, within many circles of my life.

This list only breaks the surface. There are many characteristics and identities that come together to form the person that God created me to be.

There are then many identities, many characteristics that come together to form the person that God created you to be. There are many identities and characteristics that then come together to form the identities of the fellow Lutheran World Federation cohorts. Identities come together; they intertwine, they collide, and they do things I cannot possibly imagine. And the world becomes complicated and messy.

At the 60th Anniversary of the CSW, intersectionality is particularly beautiful and messy. People from all over the world are coming together here to talk about identity and how that relates to basic human rights: The right to food and water. The right to safety. The right to adequate health care. The right to economic stability. Many, many rights. Some of the discussions have been beautiful… and some have been outright chaotic. On the dawn of the third day into this experience, the emotions I have carried within my bones have been many.

I deeply believe that God is present in the midst of intersectionality. God is very present in the midst of the chaos I’ve experienced in the past couple of days. God created the world from the chaos of the waters, which means that you and I (and everyone at the CSW and the earth) are a part of that chaos.

God is also the ultimate example of intersectionality in the person of Jesus Christ. Christ is the “immigrant par excellence,” holding together the intersectionality of full humanity and full divinity. Christ holds together the intersectionality of life, death, and resurrection. That blessed intersectionality of moving from life to death to resurrection is given to us. I hold that and ponder it in my heart as the collision of identities comes together in the chaos.

Please join the conversation on #uncsw16


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