This “Meet the Author” interview with Sharon Delgado ran in the Grass Valley Union on June 28, 2022.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a spouse, lover, mother and auntie, grandmother, friend, and co-conspirator for a world of justice, peace, and the healing of creation. I’m a retired United Methodist pastor, activist, nonviolence practitioner, and author, seeking to live with grace and to be a force for good in the world. Find out about my work at sharondelgado.org.
What brought you to this area?
My husband Guari and I moved here from San Francisco as part of the counterculture’s “back to the land” movement of the 1970s. We fell in love with the natural beauty of this place. We lived in a cabin without electricity outside Nevada City for seven years, then built our home and raised our children here. We lived and worked in Santa Cruz for thirteen years, then moved back and retired here in 2005.
How did you get into writing?
I have journaled for forty years as a spiritual practice and path to self-discovery. I wrote for classes I took at Sierra College when our children were young. Later at Sac State I wrote papers for various classes, including my major, Peace/War Studies (Social Science). Because for me, personal spirituality and social concern are linked, they have always been integrated in my writing. In seminary, and later as a pastor, my writing evolved. In 2007 I published my first book.
What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?
I read the Bible daily, taking it seriously but in context, so not always literally. I also read books from other spiritual traditions. My staple diet is nonfiction, books that help me understand the social, political, ecological, and economic problems we face. Some, like The Cross and the Lynching Tree (James Cone) and This Changes Everything (Naomi Klein) have been life-changing. Novels are like dessert or like a vacation. My favorite authors are Amy Tan, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Mistress of Spices), Isabelle Allende, Zora Neale Hurston, and Barbara Kingsolver.
What is your book about?
The Cross in the Midst of Creation approaches the many challenges facing our world today from a progressive Christian perspective. It explores confusion and disagreement among Christians about the meaning of the cross, the primary symbol of Christian faith. The book makes the case that the crucifixion is ongoing as institutionalized powers like the ones that put Jesus to death are at work today in the violence and injustice perpetrated against our human family and creation. At the same time, the resurrection is ongoing as people from varied spiritual and philosophical perspectives rise in courage and move in the direction of God’s intended world. Other themes include: a critique of Christian nationalism, rejection of punitive theologies, a survey of biblical views of the cross that focus on the God of love who was revealed in Jesus, what it means to live in the presence of the Risen Christ today and to follow Jesus into the heart of the struggle for a transformed world.
What inspired you to write this book?
I was inspired to write a book proclaiming the God of compassion and love and transformative justice that Jesus proclaimed and demonstrated. It is distressing for me to see the message of Jesus distorted to support Christian nationalism, white supremacy, and other forms of domination, exclusion, discrimination, and cultural accommodation. I wanted to proclaim the “good news” in a way that is true to Jesus’ original message and relevant to the problems facing us today.
What did you find most challenging about writing a book?
At this point, I trust that if I keep my mind and heart open to the Spirit, the words will come. And they do. Creating the Index was challenging, since I have to relearn the computer program each time I write another book. Then comes the really challenging part—getting the word out about why I think it’s an important book and people should read it. (I do.)
What is your key takeaway or message you hope readers find in your book?
The loving God whom Jesus proclaimed is not limited to any one religion, for the Spirit is like the wind that “blows where it wills.” This Great Mystery, “the one in whom we live and move and have our being, the “Soul of the Universe” (John Wesley) is still at work in the world and can move us in the direction of both personal and social transformation.
Where can people find your book?
You can find it locally at The Bookseller in Grass Valley or at Harmony Books in Nevada City—let’s keep our local bookstores alive. There are copies in the local books section at the library. It is also available from Amazon and other online platforms and direct from the publisher, Fortress Press.
Please describe what you’d consider your perfect day.
A day when justice flows down like water and righteousness as an ever-flowing stream (Amos 5:24). Until that day comes, I’ll settle for a day that begins with early morning contemplative prayer, a walk in the woods with my beloved, three simple meals, reading and writing, laughing and being silly with the grandkids, taking a spin around the dance floor, and contributing my small part to what Thomas Berry called “The Great Work” of our time.