April 18, 2023 -


How the Histories of Black Christians Help Us Hold On to Truth

Jasmine L. Holmes

From boldly advocating for human dignity to separating the gospel of Jesus from the cultural hypocrisy that claimed him– writer and historian, Jasmine Holmes shares how the histories of Black Christians have shaped her own calling and continue to help her show grace, set boundaries and walk closely with Jesus today.

Episode Reflection

Invitation to Explore

Jasmine Holmes provides compelling reasons to learn the stories of Black Christians who came before us, especially in the light of the hypocrisy of Christians who claimed to follow Jesus while oppressing people made in the image of God. How familiar are you with stories like these? What does it do to your heart to learn a fuller story of Christians who have come before us?  

Take some time to think about the ways in which God empowered marginalized Christians to speak the truth in love to those in power. How does that encourage you in knowing that God can use you in your unique calling today to speak the truth in love and work for change in your community?

Scripture to Study

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

(Hebrews 12:1-3)

Wise Words to Consider

“I think people want… the triumphal version of history, right? The version of American history that is all rainbows and butterflies and patriotism. But we don’t want to acknowledge the hard fought patriotism of the formerly enslaved, the patriotism of people who were offered immigration to another country and chose to stay here and fight for their rights in this country. That patriotism of people who literally bled and died to be able to have voting rights and to pass those voting rights off to the next generation.”  – Jasmine Holmes

A Prayer to Lead You

Precious Savior,

You know all of the darkness of this world, the sickness of our hearts, and the hypocrisy that lies within each and every one of us. Yet, we so often resist the truth of the sinfulness of humanity. We know that if we have to admit the faults of those who came before us, we lay open our hearts to the judgment of those who come after us. We are afraid of telling the whole truth because the whole truth implicates us too.

And yet, the darkness of this world didn’t stop You from Your rescue mission. You loved us even while we were Your enemies. You saw our hypocrisy, our fickleness, our inability to walk in the light, and yet You pressed on to the cross. 

Shine the light of Your gospel on us, Precious Savior. Let Your light shine into the dark places of our hearts and our histories. Cast out the fear in our hearts with Your love. Make us so enraptured about what You think of us that we are not afraid about telling the truth about ourselves. 

Lead us in the light so that we might walk with a deeper sense of Your grace. In Your precious name. Amen. 

A Practice to Begin

Jasmine talked about her own struggles of trying not to see certain kinds of people in the worst light possible. She talked about learning how to pray for the people that particularly rub her the wrong way while also making sure to create and honor healthy boundaries for herself.

Take an honest assessment over the next week about how you’re doing in these matters. Are there particular people who can get on your nerves? Are you able to pray for them instead of writing them off or thinking about them in the worst light possible? Have you created healthy boundaries to make sure that you are able to enter into difficult conversations seasoned with grace?

Questions to Answer

Jasmine talked about the importance of seeing your ethnicity and heritage as a part of God’s story. Especially in the context of the United States where whiteness (in the sense of culture) is often centered, it is important to hear the stories of faithful Christians from all kinds of backgrounds to remind us of the global story God is writing.

Who are the examples that you look up to as faithful Christians? Are people from a certain demographic more represented than others? What would it look like to diversify the Christians you learn from and look up to as examples of faithfulness?

Resources to Help

Jasmine Holmes, Carved in Ebony

Jasmine Holmes, Mother to Son

Jasmine Holmes, Crowned With Glory


Jasmine L. Holmes [0:01]  I think looking for the people who are being faithful to the Word of God, because they’re always there. We don’t have to settle. 


Chealsia Smedley [0:08] Welcome to the Created For podcast, a space where our everyday lives intersect with God’s redemptive story. 


Michele Davis [0:13] Where together we learn from diverse voices, explore our unique callings and pursue communal flourishing. 


Chealsia Smedley [0:20] We’re your hosts Chealsia Smedley


Michele Davis [0:22]  and Michele Davis.


Chealsia Smedley [ 0:25] We know that our world is divided and that that division has seeped into the church. But do we think about the ways that seeped into our own thinking? Like as a culture, this all good, all bad, all right, all wrong, binary, divisive thinking, and how that diminishes our ability to grapple with complexity. 


And that’s really important to notice, especially because the truth, and our faith is inherently complex. 


Today, we talk about some of those complexities with Jasmine Holmes, a writer, historian and public educator, who champions the stories of Black Christians who have come before us. In these stories she helps us see how they were able to cut through the hypocrisy of the day, so that we can to, to see through the hypocrisy of professing Christians who claim to know Jesus, but oppressed people made in the image of God, to see the truth of the gospel, even when big chunks of it were cut out of the Bibles that are given to them, and to boldly proclaim and call their oppressors to live in light of the truth that they claimed to believe. We need these stories.


We talk about how these stories have affected Jasmine’s own calling, and also how they can help us to live out our unique callings to be representatives of Jesus’s kingdom on earth.


We’ll also talk about things like boundaries, loving your neighbor, and how focusing on God’s sovereignty helps us to lower the stakes. And not only show grace to others, but also to ourselves. 


Jasmine Holmes has written four books, and we’re going to touch on three of those today. So I want to make sure you hear the titles of those books for me.So the first one is Mother to Son: Letters To A Black Boy on Identity and Hope. The second is Carved In Ebony: Lessons From the Black Women Who Shape Us. And the third is her upcoming book,  Crowned With Glory: How Proclaiming the Truth of Black Dignity Has Shaped American History. Let’s get into the conversation. 


Chealsia Smedley  [ 2:55] Hi, Jasmine, thank you so much for coming on the Created For podcast today. We’re so happy to have you here. 


Jasmine Holmes [3:02]  Thank you so much for having me.


Chealsia Smedley  [3:04]  I would like to hear a little bit about your background. So we know that you grew up as a pastor’s kid, that you were homeschooled,  that you were in evangelical Christian circles. So how did you take hold of your faith? And then even how did you realize this calling to champion the stories of black believers, when you probably weren’t experiencing a lot of those stories?


Jasmine Holmes [3:24]  (laughs) I wasn’t, I wasn’t. So( laughs) me taking hold of my faith really started when I was pregnant with my firstborn, I ended up going to therapy for perinatal depression and with my therapist, it was the first time that anybody had ever been like, ‘oh wow, your upbringing seems like it brought on a lot of shame and it seems like it brought on a lot of things that you need to work through.


And I was like ‘that’s so interesting(laughs) I never thought about it like that, but that makes sense.’ And that kind of started the journey of me trying to separate, maybe some of the ways that I had been taught, and some of the ways that my surroundings had taught me, from my personal faith. And it didn’t happen by myself.


And it didn’t happen overnight. It happened through a lot of therapy visits, a lot of conversations with friends, a lot of conversations with my husband. It’s ongoing. Um, but I think getting into therapy was my first step to actually seeing like, I guess the contours, right, of the ways that I have been impacted by my upbringing.


And then, okay, so like, how do I own this and how do I move forward?  I started writing again. Um, it was one of the ways that I dealt with postpartum depression after I had my baby and I,  through writing, through blogging, through a column that I started, I was approached to write a book,  and I had just finished reading Chimamanda Adichie has letters to her niece, I think, about  feminism. It’s like a feminist manifesto. And I just read it and I thought it was so good. And then I read Ta-Nehisi Coates. Oh my gosh, what’s his book? You know what I’m talking about? His letters to his son.


Chealsia Smedley  [4:58] Uh, Between the World and Me. 


Jasmine Holmes [ 5:01]  Yes, Between the World and Me. That, that’s it. And then I read, um, James Baldwin, “My Dungeon Shook.” And so I just read them all in succession, not even trying to read a bunch of letters. Um, so when they came to me about the book idea, I was like, oh my goodness. I think I’d like to write letters to my son.At the time I had one son while I was writing the book I got pregnant with my next son.  I had a chapter in there about representation and it was probably the most popular chapter cause people would come to me and be like,’ Hey, you mentioned Maria Fearing, you mentioned George Liele. You mentioned like all these people that I would love to learn more about.


Is there any like popular level book that I could learn more about?’ And I really didn’t see one on the market and so I thought you know, I’m just a lay person. But so many of us who are curious about these things are also just lay people. I mean, want it to be written in a way that lay people can also understand and grab a hold to.


And so that’s kind of where Carved In Ebony was born. And in researching that, I just came alive. I just felt like God, God was telling me that  this is what I was supposed to be doing. I loved it so much. I still love it so much. Um, and I just, haven’t left that area since. But honestly, from the beginning, you know, my interest in writing has been about identity, like identity, dignity, and significance are the three things.


And I got those three terms from Dr. Carl Ellis,  who I’ve worked for for a little while. And so, um, he talks about identity, dignity, and significance. And when he said those three words to me, I was like, that’s what I’ve been writing about this entire time. And this writing about history in this way just kind of fits right into it. That makes sense.


Chealsia Smedley [6:30]  Yeah, that’s really cool. Um, I want to share a personal story. So I recently moved back to the US from Slovenia, after living there for eight years. And shortly after I came back this Fall, I started following you on Instagram. And  just like, following you reading your books,  has been so encouraging to me. And affirming in the experience of coming back and being like, this place is crazy. What is going on? Especially in Christianity and conversations about race and ethnicity. And so I had a conversation with someone when I was explaining to him about what I’m doing. And they’re like, I don’t think ethnicity has anything to do with calling though.


Chealsia Smedley [7:32]  And it really bothered me, I was kind of like, saying things but not really knowing how to respond properly. You know, you feel like you have to give all these defenses. And I left  that time, kind of like asking God, okay, can you help me know how to better engage with this next time, um  to be able to answer better and kind of explain why I think this is important. And I happened to be reading Mother To Son around that time. And it was just s… it was an honest answer to prayer, the way that you talk about and encourage your son to see his ethnicity and his heritage as part of God’s story. 


I feel like so much of your work is encouragement and a proclamation that like God’s image is reflected in our diversity, and that that’s important. And so what would you say to someone who thinks ethnicity has nothing to do with calling?


Jasmine Holmes [8:13]  You know, I understand where they’re coming from, because I think what they’re probably thinking is like, God calls us, regardless of our ethnic background, and regardless of our culture and heritage, and he uses us in spite of that, and the gospel is the gospel is the gospel, whether you’re giving it in one context or another context. But what I think that that comments like that miss is the fact that when the only,  so for me as somebody who tells stories of Christians who’ve gone before us, when the only examples that were given of Christians who’ve gone before us are white examples, then our brains fill in the blanks to say, ‘okay, like we say that God uses all kinds of people, but clearly, from what I can see, he’s really only using white people’


And so from a story perspective, even just seeing other people that God is using is so helpful. And then just from a perspective of the fact that God is going to save people from every tribe, tongue and nation, and that we’re all going to stand before the throne together. Taking our particular cultural background out of the center of the story is such an important way to see the story that God is writing and to see what he’s calling us to. I feel like here in the states, you know, whiteness gets centered so often and it makes us miss out on what God’s doing in other places, because we’re centerin,  not only not just whiteness as in like, I don’t mean whiteness in the term of like,  a heritage of people who have lighter skin. I mean whiteness in the sense of our cultural understanding of whiteness and identity. And I feel like when we’re so focused on that, when we’re so focused on the American iteration of that ,we miss out on so many other ways that God is working. I think that’s


Chealsia Smedley  [10:00]  I know, I think that’s so true, like even your book Carved In Ebony, the stories of 10 Black Christian women, like I was shook, like, there were Black Christian missionaries in the like,19th century, what? How come I didn’t learn about them?


Michele Davis [10:10 ]  Yeah. 


Chealsia Smedley  [10:15]  Kind of on that, in your Created For talk, you urge us to look for new Christian heroes, especially among those who have been oppressed and marginalized. So how does this help us better understand God’s story?


Jasmine Holmes [10:29]  It gives us a fuller picture. I think so for me, when we think about the history of this country, and we think about some of the hypocrisy of people who claim to love liberty, but enslaved other people. So often those people are, were professing Christians. And so if we’re not careful, our identity of Christianity gets tied up in that hypocrisy. And we don’t understand the fact that there were faithful people who conscientiously objected to the dehumanization of black folks from the very beginning, Black Christians as well as white Christians, people from all different kinds of denominational backgrounds, people were speaking up. And I think that when we, when we don’t focus on those voices, we start to conflate the hypocrisy of the day with Christianity itself. And that is not the case.


Chealsia Smedley [11:25]  When you wrote Carved In Ebony, after Mother To Son, you mentioned that, like, there was this thought of, ‘I’m writing about identity, but there’s also this thread of advocacy that I want to explore here.’ And so can you share a little bit more about that?


Jasmine Holmes [11:44]  One of the things that a lot of the women, I think most of the women had in common was what strong advocates they were, whether it was you know, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper advocating for abolition, and then advocating for.. well, not really, I mean, she wasn’t really hugely part of the feminist movement, because white feminism was kind of a thing, but advocating for the right to vote, advocating for suffrage, or it was Maria Fearing advocating for the orphans at her school, or it was Elizabeth Freeman advocating for her freedom. Once I, you know, put a name to it, I saw it everywhere, just this history of black women taking up the call to advocate for themselves and to advocate for others. And I think that we still see echoed today.


Michele Davis [12:29]  Well, we see you doing this, like because you’re advocating for these stories and bringing these stories to a modern audience. And in that, I think living in their footsteps.


Chealsia Smedley  [12:40]  Definitely, like what does God taught you about advocacy in these women’s lives, and then even your own calling?


Jasmine Holmes  [12:47]I think the biggest thing that he showed me about advocacy in their lives was their fearlessness. And what I mean by that is not that they weren’t afraid, but they acted in ways, they acted as though they weren’t afraid. And I know that they probably were very afraid, but they acted regardless. Like they did not act in a way that was hampered by fear. And for my life that impacted me because being a pastor’s kid, and a people pleaser. So when I wrote Mother To Son, and I want to be careful how I say this, because I’m not ashamed of anything that I wrote and Mother To Son. And I think that we, I think that in certain phases of our life, we’re ready for certain things. And that’s how we communicate those things. And if you’re an author, that phase gets captured in a book, and I don’t think we should shame whatever phase that was.


Chealsia Smedley [13:30]  Definitely, 


Jasmine Holmes [ 13:31]  At the same time, I didn’t use the phrase white supremacy I didn’t use, I didn’t use the word whiteness. I didn’t even I don’t even know that I used the word racism. I was like, so careful to not use certain words in Mother To Son because I thought, if I didn’t use those words, my message would be more easily digested. Then I read the speeches by Maria Stewart and Francis Harper, and she’s talking about this strange alchemy that turns blood into money in slavery and just like going off, and I’m like, okay, okay, I can be braver, okay, I can push deeper. Like, if she can push deeper, I can do the same thing too. 


So I feel like, I feel like they, they made me bolder, and I feel like in the next, you know, in the next phase, even in Carved In Ebony, versus Mother To Son, there were some things that I was more willing to say. And again, this is not to say at all, to shame past me or even to shame people who are not there yet, or may never get there. We all have different calls or different parts to play. But I feel like my part definitely got sharpened by learning about these women.


Chealsia Smedley  [14:32]  And I think what you just said, like it’s a process,  learning how to speak up for yourself and for other people. Like it’s not an easy thing to do. Especially when you are coming from, like, talking about these things that blow up that people are really defensive. It’s hard to feel like you’re putting yourself out there. So you’re writing your fourth book now. And it’s called Crowned With Glory.  Is that right?


Jasmine Holmes  [14:58] I am. Crowned With Glory. Yeah. 


Chealsia Smedley [14:59]  So what’s gonna, are you gonna get bolder in this one?


Jasmine. Holmes [15:02]  I think so. The, the boldness in this one is, so when I wrote Carved In Ebony, I was very like, ‘hey, I am not a historian. So I’m gonna balance the historian part with telling my own personal story,’ which, again, is not to shame that at all, because people enjoyed that part of it like, and that’s awesome. That’s great. But I also know that one of the reasons why it’s there is because I was really insecure about just letting the story speak for themselves. Because I thought people were gonna be like, you’re not a historian. Why are you writing this?


 I was like, ‘Hey, guys, it’s me, Jasmine. I’m just writing this, and I’m just bringing you along.’ And so Crown With Glory is, it’s I’m not in there. It’s not. It’s like, it’s all about the stories. And I just really tried to step back and really be faithful to the discipline of history. And really tried to kind of overcome that, that little bit of insecurity that I have. And so it was, yeah, it was a really fun experience. It was a really empowering experience. I’m actually in the middle of editing it right now. And my footnotes are a mess. So I am, I’m having just the best time fixing them. My husband’s like what’s wrong with you? He told me the other day, because I was like, I was giddy about it. He was like, I love you. I love it. You’re just like, these footnotes are a mess. I cannot wait to clean them up. This is so fun. But it’s fun to find sources. I really like it.


Chealsia Smedley [16:23]  No, and those are kind of your gifts. You know, I love it. God gave you these passions, and you’re using them. And yeah, enjoy your footnotes. Can you give us a like little synopsis of what the next book will be?


Jasmine Holmes [16:37]  Yeah, yeah, it’s about Christian resistance to slavery. And the fact that so often, it was rooted in their belief in the image of God. It starts with Nat Turner, and it ends with black senators of the reconstruction. So it was really fun.


Chealsia Smedley [16:55]  I feel like Nat Turner is a good example of a story that I’ve seen you kind of redeem. So like a lot of people in history classes, learn about Nat Turner, and he’s painted as a bad guy, basically. So can you talk a little bit about his story and how you see him and God’s faithfulness in it.


Jasmine  Holmes [17:15]  He’s such a good example. Because I feel like when it comes to the founding fathers, we have a lot of room for complexity. So we’re able to say like, man, Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant thinker who wrote founding documents and founding thoughts that still echo today and make the nation what it is. And also, Thomas Jefferson had a lot of slaves. And that is not the best thing ever. In fact, it’s kind of the worst thing ever. But we’re able to hold these two things in each hand. 


But when it comes to people like Nat Turner, we lose our ability for complexity, we lose our ability to say, Oh, I may not, I don’t agree with everything that transpired in that rebellion, right? I don’t know that I would carry it out that way, Nat, the women and children too, Nat, really?  We lose our ability to say that. And when people are pushed into desperation, through oppression, they shake off the chains and it’s not pretty when it happens. I think that we can hold both of those things at the same time. And Nat Turner’s story is an opportunity for us to see, especially with Nat Turner being a son of Virginia, you know, you have Thomas Jefferson in Virginia, James Madison, George Washington. Virginia is the place where Patrick Henry came from, “give me liberty or give me death,” Nat Turner said essentially the same thing. And he, unlike Patrick Henry got the death. But he’s not seen as somebody who was at all patriotic because we don’t see him as working for the good of America, because we see the legacy of enslavement as somehow separate from legacy of this country.


Michele Davis [18:49]  It’s definitely not separate. For sure. It seems like with like Thomas Jefferson, we do hold those tensions. Some people want to just have this big triumphalism around him, and like downplay and things, and I think what you’re bringing up here, it is one of the vestiges of like white supremacy and how it’s impacted history is that we do the flip for someone like Nat Turner. So I’m really excited that you’re reading this book and like giving opportunity and space to fix that narrative overall. 


Jasmine, I think that something I’ve thought about a lot as I’ve been listening to you, and as I’ve been just experiencing the news right now, about controversies over teaching black history and what is what is the history we should teach and what should be brought to schools and and just the politicalization of that. Right now. I’m just curious to hear your thoughts as someone who has taught in schools, who is a public historian, you’ve made it a huge part of your life’s mission to know and understand and tell the stories of Black Americans. So what’s your take on this?


Jasmine Holmes[ 20:03]  I think that it’s kind of what we talked about just a couple minutes ago, the fact that we don’t know how to hold tension. When it comes to American history. We want everybody to own the history of the founders, like the founders, you know, Thomas Jefferson is our founding father, George Washington is our first president. But when it comes to the legacy of chattel slavery, we get very like hands off about that part of history. We don’t acknowledge it. That’s also our collective history, whether or not your grandparents owned slaves, great, great, great grandparents owned slaves, whether or not your great grandparents were enslaved. It’s part of our story in America. And I think that you can’t own one part without owning the other. And I don’t know that that’s something that people understand. 


I think people want the, you used the perfect word, the triumphal version of history, right, the version of this American history, that is all rainbows and butterflies and patriotism. But we don’t want to acknowledge the hard fought patriotism of the formerly enslaved. The patriotism of people who were offered an out, who were offered immigration to another country and chose to stay here and fight for their rights in this country. The patriotism of people who literally bled and died to be able to have voting rights and to pass those voting rights off to the next generation. If you want to have a conversation about patriotism in America, sure it starts with Thomas Jefferson. But you know, even before Thomas Jefferson, we have the Stoner Rebellion, and we have the enslaved, waiting banners of liberty, and pointing out the innate hypocrisy of arguing that all men are created equal while enslaving other men. 


This is a hypocrisy that was known at the time, acknowledged at the time. You have British commentators being like ‘y’all are talking a lot about being enslaved by the British while you’re enslaving people. And it’s weird. To me, it’s strange.’ And it’s like one of my favorite things to read. It’s just like, really, y’all really? Hm? But I think taking all of that into account, it doesn’t negate patriotism, if we have an understanding of patriotism that is more complex than our country is perfect and has never needed to change. If we see America as a place that has always needed to change, that made provision in its constitution so that it could change. Then you see the story of enslavement, emancipation and the fight for equal rights as all part of our shared history. And if it’s all part of our shared history, then we all have responsibility to teach it and we have a responsibility to live in light of it and make reparation in light of it.  Reparation with an “n”,I didn’t put an “s” on the end of it, because I’m not getting radical. Not today. Not right now. Reparation. “nn”


Michele Davis [ 22:54]  Maybe we could like have another whole conversation about that someday. But yeah, I love how you said that. It’s a part of our shared history. And the thing that’s wild to me is that Christians who are supposed to be people who acknowledge the sinfulness of man and who are saved by grace, have a hard time dealing with the sins  of our country and applying grace to it, ya know?  Like, help me out, Are we, are we reading the same Bible?


Jasmine Holmes [23:21]  No, that’s actually so I signed, it’s a two book contract that I have with Baker. And so the Crowned With Glory is coming out this year. But next year is going to be a book all about heritage, and what that means to people and maybe what it should mean. American heritage, but also how American heritage has been married to Christian heritage, and we’re gonna like dabble in some Christian nationalism a little bit. But it’s so weird to be you know, I’m never signing another two book contract again, because like, the next book isn’t even out and I’m already having to think about the next book. I’m like, Oh, my gosh, 


Michele Davis [23:52] that’s gotta be a lot to balance. 


Jasmine Holmes[ 23:54] It’s too much. It’s a privilege, right? It’s a privilege, but it’s still, it’s  a lot.


Michele Davis [ 23:59]  Well, luckily, every day, there’s some new examples of Christian nationalism for you to just  learn from out there. Yeah, indeed. You know that too well.


Chealsia Smedley [24:18]   I think what you talked about this idea of holding the tension, and it being our shared history, I think it also applies to Christian history. Like a lot of the founding founders were said that there are Christians that Turner was a preacher like, how does reckoning with these stories, and like holding that tension help us even live in our world today that feels so divided.


Jasmine Holmes [24:46]  I think looking for the people who are being faithful to the Word of God, because they’re always there, we don’t have to settle. So we don’t have to settle for, you know, insert conservative commentator, just because they’re not the other side. We get to hold the line and wait for the person who’s speaking truth in love and speaking truth to both sides and is speaking truth with nuance.


I think when you get into this culture war mentality, you say, well, this side isn’t completely right. But it’s right enough. So I can’t critique it because I got to stay in the battle. But when you see that, like the Bible does not talk about the culture in the,  in that culture war terminology, like it’s just it’s not and especially like, Paul, do you know how much politics was popping off in Rome? Like a lot. He’s not talking about that. Like, he’s really not like, he’s speaking truth to the sins that are impacting the church. He’s not looking all over Rome and being like, Oh, I see you all the way over there, doing the thing that’s not impacting us at Corinth. We’re better than that. You know what I’m saying? Like, it’s no, it’s what is impacting us what is directly like speaking to us. We’re at war against against evil against principalities, right. 


And so I think, even just taking that, taking the conversation and flipping it, pulling it away from again, we want to be good citizens, we want to be involved in the political sphere, because that’s the kind of country that we live in. Right? And so that’s how that’s how we participate. But putting it in its proper place, I think, is really important. And I think it’s something that Christians aren’t very good at sometimes, because we see ourselves involved in so much of a culture war, that its emphasis on culture and emphasis on war and not emphasis on the gospel.


Chealsia Smedley [26:23] Yeah. When you think about the way that we kind of interact with those two things of saying, like, okay, let’s focus on truth. What, what do you think would be different? If we did that? How would that change the way that we interact with each other,


Jasmine  Holmes [26:25]  I think that the stakes would be higher, but also lower. So the stakes are higher in that, when we’re focusing on truth, we are really trying to also focus on how we’re speaking to one another, we’re trying to focus on speaking to one another in love and with fidelity to the word. And so in that sense, the stakes are higher. But the stakes are also lower in that our eyes are on eternity and not in winning this momentary fight. 


And like, both of those things, work together where the person that we’re talking to that is not an adversary or a combatant. But it’s someone who we’re trying to connect with, and somebody who we’re trying to share the gospel with, right, or if they’re not believers, but also like, bring them further up and further into the gospel if they do profess to know Christ. And so it becomes less of a combative conversation where like, I have to own you, in order to prove my mettle, and more of a conversation about, I have to show you love, because God loves me. And that love isn’t always nice and fluffy, sometimes that love is confrontational. But that love is never about me, it’s never about me proving how smart I am, proving how solid I am,proving how right I am. Right, in all the senses of right. proving how you know, whatever I am, it’s really about staying faithful to the truth and treating you like somebody who God loves somebody who’s made in His image.


Michele Davis [28:06 ] Woo I resonate with that. And I also like, feel the weight of that high call to love people, instead of seeing them as an enemy. You know, because I think we’re so conditioned to just see someone who disagrees with me as an enemy from a lot of fronts. But I don’t want to. And I’m curious, like what has most helped you to stay centered and seen? The Imago Dei in people you disagree with?


Jasmine Holmes [28:34]  For me, my biggest pet peeve, under the skin people are those conservative political commentators. They just rub me the wrong way. Because of my background, and so owning that, right? Owning that, that’s my stuff that makes them rub me the wrong way. So it’d be easier for me to be like, they’re the worst. And here’s 10 reasons why they’re the worst. Like Jasmine, you got baggage. That’s why they’re the worst, stop this. Like, stop trying to make it seem like they’re absolutely the worst. They’re the worst to you because of what, because of what you’ve been through. So owning that, right  personally. 


But then also not going to people’s pages just to be mad. Why do we do that? I know I do. I’ll be like, Oh, I wonder what so and so is up to So I can.. I want to stew. I’m not feeling it.I need to feel alive. Let me go here and look at what they’re doing so I can be upset. And then when they do cross my page. I’m not quite there yet. I’m trying to get there where it’s like a reflex but honestly just praying, praying for them. Yes, but also praying for their listeners and praying for people who are really clinging to them for comfort because we’re living in an age that is scary to a lot of people and a lot of people are having to let go of a lot of comfort. have preconceived notions about what this country owes them. And that’s scary. That’s some big disequilibrium. And so just praying for people praying that God would shepherd them and also praying for, again, these commentators who drive me crazy because of who I am, right, because somebody else can just be like, ah, you know, like, Man, I don’t agree, but I see, but me, I’m just like,aggghhh. 


Michele Davis [ 30:04] Yeah, cause.I can relate to that a little bit because like I, I grew up in a really conservative environment too. And I just, I don’t think that way anymore. And I’m just like, why can’t you just see what I have seen?


Jasmine Holmes [ 30:18 ] Yes. Yes


Michele Davis  [30:19  ] Why don’t you just understand? And, you know, I can like, I think want those things for people and et cetera, but, it’s hard, it’s is hard to like walk that line, but I’m wanting to, like prayerfully do so where I can be above approach in how I share truth and love instead of just share truth and like shutting something down.Cause I just 


Jasmine Holmes [ 30:40 ] Yeah. 


Michele Davis [ 30:41 ] Sometimes, maybe it’s to protect myself. I wanna burn the bridge, you know?


Jasmine Holmes [ 30:44] Oh, I totally get that. It’s not even to protect myself. I’m just like, I’m annoyed with you. We’re done. We’re finished. Just, and it does, I mean, sometimes it does come to that point where, I just the other day. Somebody who’s followed me for two year,  who still hops in my inbox saying things that are just, ah, and I asked, um, some online friends of mine who have, you know, platforms online, and I was like, ‘Hey, I kind of wanna block this person because they’ve been following me for two years.’ And so at this point I’m like, are you here to learn or are you just here to regurgitate the same things that you’ve been regurgitating for two years? and it was a really good moment to like, it wasn’t me just acting out of my own, like annoyance,  and my own sense of like, um, you know, hurt from, from past interactions.


It was really a good moment for me to talk to somebody and say like, Hey, you know, when do boundaries come into this? Right? Like, when do you protect yourself from somebody who’s just kind of like sucking your time, um, not to learn, But to just suck your time. And so I think having people around you who can kind of say like, ‘Hey, I think that, I think, you know, I think you’re right here.’


And especially my husband, you know, he wasn’t raised in my hyper conservative and I, and I think also like. According to so many people, I am still very conservative. So it’s not even that, like I am not, you know what I’m saying? I just mean like the culture, the,the chronically online conservative culture that we see. That’s, that’s what I’m talking about. but my husband wasn’t raised that way, and so sometimes I’ll even run things by him like, this makes me want to scratch my eyeballs out. Is it because I am broken or is it because this makes people wanna scratch their eyeballs out? And sometimes he’s like, yeah, this is pretty annoying.


Like, um, yeah, no, that’s, that’s ridiculous. And sometimes he’s like, well, Jasmine, I see where they’re coming from and I feel like you are maybe overreacting because of, and so it’s helpful to just have other voices. 


Chealsia Smedley [32:25] Yeah, and I think you’re talking about boundaries and I think you do a really good job of that online. At least it seems like you do. Um, but I think like a lot of Christians of color are also experiencing ,who have like maybe grown up in an evangelicalism or like a lot of their Christian experience has been in majority culture and, it’s just overwhelming and a lot of Christians are burnt out. And so how have you learned to set healthy boundaries? What advice would you give to people?


Jasmine Holmes [32:59] I just left Instagram for a whole month. Last year, actually, I think it was a month and a half, I think I just disappeared for six weeks. I didn’t say I was going anywhere. I didn’t like, I didn’t post any kind of warning. I just left and it was amazing and the world kept spinning the entire time I was gone. And then when I came back it was still spinning. And that was such a good reminder to me because sometimes it can be, especially when you are trying to sell books or you’re trying to get information out there, you’re trying to, it could feel like you have to be on Instagram 24/7 in order to see results. Um, but that’s such a thankless job. And so taking those breaks has been really important to me. And also just kind of stating, when I came back, I kind of said, ‘Hey, these are some things that were going on before I left. These were some things that I was putting up with before I left.


Now I’m back. These are some things that I don’t really wanna deal with anymore. These are some things that it’d be helpful for me if we did together.’ Um, so stating those boundaries, holding them and being willing to take a break. Um, again, the stakes change when you believe in the sovereignty of God. not in the sense, again, not in the sense of like, you’re just like, oh, God’s sovereign, I’m not gonna do anything. But in the sense that I am not going to kill myself online, trying to get people to agree with me, when I can do my part and trust that God’s gonna do the rest.


Chealsia Smedley  [34:13] Yeah. And it’s not unloving to do that. I think a tension is often like, oh, this is gonna come off like, really defensive or like I’m gonna be mean.Um, but it’s not. 


Jasmine Holmes [ 34:17] Right


Chealsia Smedley  [34:18] because it’s, like you said, the sovereignty of God, it’s not your role to play.


Jasmine Holmes [34:31] Yes. 


Michele Davis [34:32 ] Hmm. That’s so freeing to hear you say that. Um, especially cuz you are, you do post almost daily, you know, so you’re like a pretty involved like Instagram page. Hopefully everyone is just pausing and following you now if they, they haven’t yet. And I actually did notice you were gone and I was afraid that Instagram like did something weird to you.


Jasmine Holmes [34:51] I got like 50 messages  from being gone, and I would say that 40 of them were like, please, we’ll behave, I’m sorry.


Michele Davis [35:00] Well, but, um, but you, like you modeled what you just described in your stories, like like so well of just like coming back like, this is what this page is about, this is what I’m bringing to the table here. And that that was instructive and helpful for me.  I’m not even out there trying to have a big Instagram following, but when I see other people model boundaries like that, it spreads the joy of freedom. Like I don’t have to be everything. I don’t have to know everything.


Jasmine Holmes [35:27] Absolutely


Michele Davis [35:28]  I don’t like, and there’s you know, so much like heavy push to be a, know and do everything and to not miss it and to not, I don’t know, I was just really thankful for like how you modeled that and it’s really refreshing.


Jasmine Holmes [35:42]  Well, I’m glad it was encouraging for sure.


Chealsia Smedley [35:46 ] This has been really encouraging. Even like pushing back against a lot of our culture’s ideas about , like perfectionism or like we have cancel culture. Like the stakes are so high when you walk out and start to interact with people, even have conversations about important things.


Um, but God gives us freedom from that. Even from the beginning when you were talking about the Jasmine who you used to be like, he holds her wiith love and grace, he like accepts us as who we are from the get-go and all of the mistakes. 


And then we wanna like give each person an opportunity, kind of speak to our audience. Um, so like, how would you encourage someone to step into the way that God’s calling them to bring redemption in their communities? 


Jasmine Holmes [36:34] Yeah, I would say that you don’t have to jump in and do anything right away. You can look around, see the need, pray about it, and really be intentional about how you take your first step. That’s on the one hand. On the other hand, also knowing that you can alter your steps as necessary as you go along. So just again, I mean, I think changing the stakes is so important because if they’re too high in our brains, we kind of are paralyzed sometimes or we wanna do everything perfectly.

Um, but I think  it becomes, the stakes change so much when we see the fact that God really is walking alongside us every step of the way. He’s there for when we make a mistake. He’s there for when we get started the wrong way and have to start again. And he’s also there when it’s fruitful and it’s flourishing.So, um, just taking a deep breath and understanding that however you start, you can always restart if you need to.

Michele Davis [37:26 ] I’m writing that down. You can always restart 

Chealsia Smedley [37:30  ] Our  faith helps us to grapple with the complexities of the world around us. It helps us to see ourselves and the different stages we’re in, and maybe those things are cringey as we look back. I know a lot of my stages have been cringey as I look back. Um, but to be able to say, God was there. He was forming me, and  shaping me.

God is here as I figure out how to do a podcast for the first time and am over critical about the way that I was in that first interview. Jasmine Holmes was my first interview, by the way. Um, and so yeah, what does it look like for us to say there’s complexity, there’s space. There’s grace, um, and to hold in tension who we are now and who we are becoming, and allow that to help us to also hold in tension, the ways that God is forming the people around us, to have more grace.

And to be a little bit bolder in our proclamation of the truth.


Michele Davis  [ 38:53]  For more ways to continue journeying with us, hit subscribe in your favorite podcast app. Check out the show notes for any links we referenced, and then go to crude.org/created four for a guided reflection based on this episode.


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