IN THE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER issue of Sojourners, culture columnist Sarah James explores how visio divina (“divine seeing”) allows us to seek God’s wisdom with soft hearts. Editorial assistant Liz Bierly spoke with James about how her identity influences her writing and the place that has shaped her faith. You can read her column, “Seeking God’s Wisdom Through ‘Visio Divina’,” here.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Liz Bierly, Sojourners: Writing and education have been two of your largest commitments in your career. What drew you toward those spaces, and what do you bring to your pages while writing?
Sarah James: I come from a long line of teachers. In my view, education is a rich space for formation, discovery, critical thinking, and meaning-making. As a student at Middlebury College, I majored in English and American Literatures, which nurtured my love for narrative, critical theory, and finding connections between the humanities and community work. In the fall, I’m planning to begin doctoral work in peace education and the arts to explore the relationships between identity formation, public memory, and peacebuilding.
I grew up in a homogenous pocket of the Midwest in a bicultural, biracial family. My identity has been profoundly influenced by dwelling in the “in-between,” which is a gift. My positionality and my educational experiences have taught me how to refine my quality of attention, how to know and not know, and how to ask better questions. I hope that I—being biracial, a person of faith, a feminist, a writer, and an editor—bring a perspective steeped in curiosity and humility to the page.