Decolonize Your Spirituality & Raise Liberated Free-Thinkers with Ally Henny
Parenting Decolonized is brought to you by the Rona, Racism, and Radical Parenting Conference being held on September 23rd-25th, 2022!
This episode of Parenting Decolonized Podcast was recorded during our Conscious Parenting for Social Justice Conference back in June 2021. In this episode, Ally Henny and I talk about how to decolonize spirituality and raise liberated free-thinkers. Consider this a taste of what you’ll experience during the Rona, Racism, and Radical Parenting Conference coming up this fall!
Ally Henny is a writer, speaker, Master of Divinity, and the host of Combing the Roots, a podcast exploring issues of race and justice. Ally has been writing about race, identity, culture, and racial conciliation on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, The Armchair Commentary, since 2014. Her style is thoughtful and engaging, challenging her readers and listeners to think beyond their current paradigms to see a unique perspective.
So, let’s dive in.
As a spiritual or religious person, how do I navigate hierarchies of power?
We tend to get into trouble whenever we try to prescribe to others what they should and shouldn’t do. Makes sense, right? We’ve only lived our unique life and we have different backgrounds and experiences than others. We live in a world with countless world views, so with this in mind, how can we interact with each other and work to better understand one another without wielding our power over each other? This was a critical question Ally was confronted with in her formative years and she believes it’s a powerful way to remain open-minded and practice free-thinking.
“Having that experience, I learned the difference between what is contained in a religious text versus how it’s understood by the people who are in power within that religious context versus what the practitioners of the religion might believe versus what the folk version of the religion [is],” Ally says.
Part of colonized thinking in most religions is thinking we have all the answers and that there is no possibility of nuance.
“Abuse of power is the root of all colonization,” Ally says. So, while we can hold on tightly to the beliefs we have about our deities and sacred texts, it’s okay to embrace mystery and the possibility that you don’t have all the answers.
“One of the central themes of the Bible is love and is justice, so I have chosen to emphasize that,” Ally says. All other debates about who gets to marry whom, etc… Ally doesn’t care about that! She cares about loving people, which leads her to love all her neighbors, whether or not they’re straight, queer, transgendered, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Black, white, Asian, or anything else.
This is a simple, yet revolutionary and liberated way of decolonizing our spirituality and raising free-thinking children. Hold onto what is good in your faith and toss the rest in the trash.
From a religious perspective, how do the dynamics of our relationships impact our parenting?
Ally believes that it’s not possible to raise liberated children if not everyone in the home is free. We need to examine what our religious belief systems actually say and how they’re impacting the dynamics of our households.
Are your traditions upholding an unfair system of power in your home? A colonized mindset will focus on parents wielding power over children, creating unhealthy, oppressive cycles of abuse and power that could last for generations. Your faith shouldn’t be something you use to overpower your children, it should be something that enhances your life AND your children’s lives. Your faith should empower you to be a person of peace, justice, and wellness.
You have a responsibility to learn how to wield your power in a way that doesn’t dehumanize your children, but empowers them. We challenge you to emphasize the love behind your decisions and empower your children to make their own choices when they can.
So, what does it mean to decolonize spirituality?
According to Ally, decolonizing spirituality means being able to practice your faith in a way that imbues you with meaning, gives you a sense of peace and pride, and enables you to feel love and acceptance no matter what your identity is. Additionally, it’s about decolonizing religion to a point where it’s not used to cause harm. We’re a long way from achieving that on a worldwide scale, but decolonization starts with each one of us. Together, we can.
With all of this in mind, what small steps can you take today or this week to decolonize your spirituality and raise free-thinkers?
About Ally Henny (she/her):
Ally Henny is a writer, speaker, and the host of Combing the Roots, a podcast exploring issues of race and justice. Ally has an M. Div from Fuller, with an emphasis in Race, Cultural Identity, and Reconciliation. She hopes to pastor a church someday. Ally has been writing about race, identity, culture, and racial conciliation on Twitter, her personal Facebook profile, and on her blog, The Armchair Commentary, since 2014. Ally is a dynamic and engaging speaker who is able to draw connections from history to speak to current issues. Her style is thoughtful and engaging, challenging her listeners to think beyond their current paradigms to see a unique perspective. She has the ability to speak to and engage a variety of audiences. Ally is more than a speaker, she is also an excellent teacher who is able to appeal not only to her audience’ s hearts, but also their minds.
To connect further with Ally:
Visit her website: https://allyhenny.com
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/allyhenny
Follow her on Twitter: https://twitter.com/thearmchaircom
Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/allyhennypage
Follow her on TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@theallyhenny
Listen to Combing the Roots Podcast: https://allyhenny.com/podcast
Read the TRANSCRIPT here.