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about

My name is Kenji Kuramitsu. I’m interested in questions of Bible, theology, race, social work, sex, gender, and postcolonialism.

Check out my new website for more about me.

Here’s some background on this blog:

I started blogging on this site while in college, and with a very specific purpose as a leader in a conservative evangelical Christian fellowship. I was pretty convinced that I had a good grasp on the nature of the universe. I was totally immersed in that culture, and equally convinced I had all the right answers.

But things changed after I began to realize I had been very wrong on several issues, issues beyond questioning for many of my friends. Because of the reaction I received after publicly questioning LGBTQ animus in particular, I lost many of my close networks, had to leave my ministry, and subsequently began to question every aspect of my faith.

As the flames of doubt and loss and abandonment began to consume the idolatrous, mammoth edifice of religious certitude I had constructed around myself, I became flooded with a great sense of loss.  But after the fire settled and the walls of my carefully-constructed worldview sank into ashes, I saw that something hopeful remained. Nothing that was false could have survived these flames.

And so I cannot regret what has happened to me. And that, more than anything else, is why I have found peace in God. I joined the Episcopal Church in the summer of 2014, and have been at home in this faith tradition ever since. I am grateful for my miles-deep evangelical and Roman Catholic roots, which continue to inform every aspect of my faith.

The name of my blog I got from seeing the video of The Killers in concert. I like the imagery of being “a real rattlesnake,” and reclaiming that label from some of the poison associated with it.

I’m not sure what the role of this blog will be going forward. In many ways it serves as a relic, marking signposts on the journey I have been on these past two years. Even during the missteps, it has always felt epic, and that hasn’t receded even as a lot of other things have.

23 Comments Post a comment
  1. Horizon #

    Your blog posts are truly intriguing. The unconditional love for Christ that many Christians have is beginning to dawn upon you. But be warned, young writer, do not fall within the endless abyss of hypocrisy and hatred that is taught by “religion”, especially Christianity. As a former pastor, I realize just how aggressive and livid we can be on teaching others the goodness of our God. If we want the good name of Christians to be relished, we must not force our beliefs upon others, but rather be a modest guide to those seeking his grace. I noticed in one of your posts that you’ll be a resident assistant this year. Congratulations, young man. I’m sure you’ll be an excellent leader. Just remember to serve the lord the way he would want. Pursue them in the non-aggressive way that God pursued you and I’m sure everything will be just fine.

    August 20, 2012
    • thanks for the words, I really do appreciate it. young writer, I like that, maybe that’ll be my new name. young writer. can I ask how you came upon my blog? I’m always pleasantly surprised when people I don’t know manage to make it to this page 🙂 please feel free to email me as well at kuramit2@illinois.edu

      August 20, 2012
  2. Hello, I nominated you for an award, here is my blog page to check out how to receive it. Shazza. http://shazza91321.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/a-very-inspiring-blogger-award-nomination-what/

    January 6, 2013
    • holy cow! this is like…the coolest thing that’s happened to me all break 🙂 I will check this out, thank you!

      January 6, 2013
  3. riotous #

    Hi, I just stumbled upon your blog here, and I’m intrigued. I’ve recently been questioning some teachings (maybe even Dogma) of my LCMS church, pondering the true interpretation and purpose of the words in the Bible, and wondering how I should use my time in life that God has given me. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts and hopefully refresh my thinking and faith. Thanks! ~

    March 28, 2013
    • Thank you for the comment! That’s exactly what I’d like to happen here, riotous. I pray that you continue to seek and redefine and deconstruct and rebuild and question your faith and your sacred convictions, all in the name of love. May you, as you continue to test everything and hold fast to what is good, find peace under Christ’s yoke and in the midst of your search. Email me anytime.

      Ry

      March 28, 2013
  4. Pam #

    Hola from the States!
    Ahh the discovering of oneself…a lifelong endeavor. It is in the doing we continue to learn the being. And it is in the being we are able to do.

    So good to see you have a new friend. How wise he was to bring in toys so that you could be in the moment of play. Hot Wheels are very important, my darling!

    Remember to wear your sunscreen in Costa Rica.

    I look forward to hearing about your continued journey…

    Love,
    Pamela

    May 14, 2013
  5. How can you be only half a Roman Catholic? Doesn’t Catholicism claim to be the fullness of Truth? Why not embrace that fullness whole heartedly? Why only commit halfway?

    August 18, 2013
    • Great question, Margo! That line is a reference to the fact that I was raised and confirmed in both the Catholic and Protestant church by my divorced parents. And as far as I know, Catholicism doesn’t claim to be the fullness of truth – it is just the system and the tool we have to help point us to God, the ultimate “Fullness of Truth.”

      February 21, 2014
  6. denice #

    so intrigued by your blog and your story. I live in Wheaton and graduated from Wheaton and thats how i found it…the rosaria article. Anyway, I think that you are making a mistake by pursuing individual interpretations of scripture rather than the historical one; and attributing the sins of people who cliam to be inChrist or institutionally are aligned with Him to that right interpretation. These sins have tainted your view of objective truth, such that you’ve dumped it for a more comforting but deceptive version. No one wants to say, “fine, I’ll just get rid of Jesus if I cant have him and ___________” so they try to create a faith system that works in whatever it is the self-denial he requires would have asked them to kill. I would love to talk with you in person, blogging is great but surface. Have you read rosaria’s book or heard her chapel message? Do you see the word “revision” in that heresy?

    February 21, 2014
  7. a mom #

    Nice response to the Wheaton “demonstration” as parent of a Wheaton student, I have been intrigued by the whole Butterfield thing. I am in the process of reading and enjoying her book. I fear become lukewarm spiritually as I become more Christlike in my loving those that the Church judges…..

    March 3, 2014
  8. David #

    Ryan, So good to feel some refreshing humility being expressed. I am looking in depth at where dogma meets human experience, and it leads to pain, empathy and a profound understanding of the greatness and dynamism of God. Immersing oneself in trust and surrender does not make you more judgemental and dogmatic in my opinion. Christian does not = “know it all”, and never will. Enjoyed your essays and posts.

    August 29, 2014
  9. Hi, just found your blog via your comments on Rachel Held Evans, on (liberation) theology and (white male) privilege. Love it, and I’m going to use that entry in my next “beer and theology” session at our FAR TOO WHITE presbyterian church. And, my mom thought similar to you about meaningful biblical names.

    -Talitha

    January 26, 2015
    • thank you for your comment, and i think its wonderful that your mom and i agree on this haha! Feel free to connect with me on social media, i’d love to stay in touch

      January 27, 2015
  10. Marianne Shovan #

    I came across your blog through a link on your Facebook page. Two of my three kids who are FB friends with you mentioned your Facebook post to me about your recent visit to an HBC service. I was amused and amazed at how different our perceptions were of Pastor James 5th point in his Family Chat. You stated that he was trying to “show he is imperial”. I didn’t get that impression at all! In fact he stated that the reason he was telling the congregation was that he did not want them to hear it on the news. This was in keeping with the purpose of his “Family Chat” — it’s the time he uses to keep a very large congregation informed as to what he is doing. The reference to Ben Carson was used as an example of his approach to politics as a well-know figure in the evangelical world. He made it very clear that he “will speak with anyone but speak for no one.” I think he has a well-thought out approach to politics and am grateful that I heard these things first from him and not the news media.

    You are obviously a bright young man headed for a public ministry. You have not accomplished what you have without hard work, study and whole lot of soul searching. If you were in his shoes, what would you have done differently? Would you have declined the meeting and missed an opportunity to share a biblical worldview and Christ’s love? Would you not have mentioned it in Family Chat in order to keep his congregation informed?

    June 20, 2016
    • Marianne,

      what a delight to hear from you. In my Facbook status, I used the word “impartial,” and I think you are misreading the word “imperial” into it. Is “family chat” what the sermon yesterday was called? I’m unfamiliar with this language as I am not a member of Harvest Bible Chapel or “nondenominational” Christianity anymore, although I have been going there for I think around 14 years now.

      I think the question of what I would do in his shoes is an earnest and thoughtful one, and I think it’s worth tackling in more detail. I think I will write a post about this, and will share it again on this blog. Thanks again, Marianne!

      June 20, 2016
      • Marianne Shovan #

        Tara sent it to me as a screenshot and it definitely says Imperial. If you meant to say “impartial” I’ll accept that! Certainly saying he is “imperial” has a very different meaning than “impartial”. I look forward to reading it!

        June 20, 2016
      • oh wow, what a typo on my part!

        I fixed that, thanks for mentioning it. I will address imperialism and Christianity in that post

        June 21, 2016
  11. I’ve been reading your blog and I can’t believe how I’ve missed it all this time.
    Love you brother.

    July 21, 2016
  12. Roger Temme #

    I was Roman Catholic all my life and as a priest for over 25 years. I had issues with RC and finally, through my work, came to better know the Episcopal Church and joined in 2010. THe issues i had with RC, women in ordained positions and LGBT welcome, have been resolved in Episcopal church. I am at home. Thank you for your blog.
    Austin, Texas

    August 4, 2016
    • welcome, Roger. thank you for being in community and journey with me also.

      August 15, 2016
  13. Hi Kenji, I’ve been reading your blog (and Twitter feed) and was wondering if you might be interested in writing something for us at The Other Journal (http://theotherjournal.com). Our upcoming issue is on Identity, which is an important theme for many reasons (evangelical certainty vs. doubt, American politics and social change, global events, gender/LGBTQ, etc.). Would love to have you contribute something on a topic of your choosing. If you’re interested, email me at brett [at] theotherjournal.com and I can send you some more details!

    August 19, 2016

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