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YRLF Alumni Testify: Keaton Andreas

Published on March 24, 2013 in Young Leaders

Keaton Andreas, a former CLUE-LA Young Religious Leader Fellow, is an alumnus of Texas Christian University and Fuller Theological Seminary. We were blessed to host him as an intern and fellow from 2010-2011. He is currently the mid-Atlantic organizer for Bread for the World.

Like Keaton, many young people of faith have discerned a vocation for social justice ministry and developed their craft with us at CLUE-LA through our summer Ziegler Young Religious Leaders Fellowship. Click here to apply; applications close April 5th. I

My name is Keaton Andreas. I’m a small town boy, born and raised in the sleepy town of Duncan, OK. I grew up in church and I quickly became passionate about my faith at a young age. I had strong spiritual experiences and wanted nothing more than to be “completely sold out” for Jesus. I sought after being a missionary with my life, even through my college experience at Texas Christian University.

Once I started my Master’s degree at Fuller Seminary I had developed a growing unrest with the traditional missionary model. I knew that my true desire was to be a holistic healer of people. A person that addressed both the physical and spiritual aspects of a person’s well-being. What good is being “saved” if your every living day is already hell? That is when I discovered studies in both community organizing and development work. It is also how I became connected with CLUE. I was a part time intern from September 2010 to June of 2011 and went full time from that same June to the following August. During my year at CLUE I was able to learn what it truly meant to stand alongside a group of individuals in their suffering. I witnessed first hand the empowerment given by helping people realize that they have power and are able to stand up for what is right.

When you are on a picket line, regardless of your faith, G-d listens. It does not matter if you are a humanist, a Christian, a Jew, Muslim, etc. The collective cry for justice represented by a picket line is both a prophetic mandate to those committing the injustice and an act of healing empowerment for those participating. I grew up in a model where faith was praying privately, evangelizing the “lost,” and singing. When I was an intern at CLUE I was finally able to learn that worship sometimes looks like walking alongside somebody as they discover their ability to fight against poor working conditions. Worship sometimes looks like challenging people of faith to speak truth from their tradition against acts of injustice. Finally, I discovered that worship isn’t always something done inside a church building or in a formal setting. Instead, true worship takes place among the people who struggle everyday to maintain the fight for safe working conditions, fair wages, and fair policies. In their words and in their actions G-d lives and breathes. I had the distinct pleasure of being with the people described above as well as the CLUE staff who have made it their professional endeavor to involve others in the mission. It shaped who I was at the time and who I am still becoming. It was an unforgettable experience.

 

Want more information? Check out Nina Fernando’s reflection here. Apply here!

 
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