I Am Wilshire: Karen Keen.
Hometown: Santa Cruz, California;
Present City: Rowlett;
Education: M.S. education (counseling); M.A. exegetical theology; Th.M. biblical studies; Ph.D. dropout (ABD; Old Testament emphasis);
Profession: Biblical scholar and spiritual care provider at The Redwood Center for Spiritual Care and Education
Tell us about your work or volunteer life.
Since I was a kid, I always wanted to serve in ministry. I’m grateful I can do that full-time now. My passion is making biblical scholarship accessible to everyday people, particularly as it relates to real-life questions and social issues. I do this through teaching classes and writing books (most recently, The Word of a Humble God: The Origins, Inspiration, and Interpretation of Scripture). I’m also trained as a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition and love helping people find God in daily life.
What brought you to Wilshire and when?
Sally Gary and I became members in December 2022 after visiting off and on for about a year. We first learned about Wilshire when looking for a church that would marry us (in 2020). The pandemic prevented a church wedding, but we found a faith community that welcomes us!
Where are you engaged at Wilshire?
I love volunteering at the library, teaching in Sunday School classes, and praying in the Prayer Room. At past churches, I’ve often found myself coordinating prayer ministry, and I hope that is an area I might serve Wilshire in some way. Prayer is a mystery. Sometimes it seems like God is present, and other times prayer can feel like a desert. But I truly believe that sitting with God and listening does something to us. It attunes our hearts to the things of God and enables us to follow the Spirit’s guidance in the day to day.
Tell us about your faith journey.
I grew up in the Baptist church (Conservative Baptist Association) where I picked up my deep love of Scripture. Realizing in my late teens that I am gay was traumatic. But through that pain, I came to know how deep and wide is God’s love for each of us. The faith life is one of ebbs and flows, yet I keep showing up at the table because God has captivated my heart. And because my siblings in the Lord — YOU — are the ones that remind me what this life on earth is all about.
Something interesting most people would not know about you?
I’m an introverted nerd who loves people but has never quite figured out the art of small talk. But if you like geeking out on the Bible, theology or existential questions, I’m your person.
*If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming I Am Wilshire feature, contact Carolyn Murray(email@example.com)