About L. Celeste Gardner

I have been annealing for a long time now.


Celeste performing “The Red Shoes” in a basement somewhere in Long Beach, CA 1990.

The journey began with a flannel graph story about Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and continued in ways that will be familiar to anyone raised in an Evangelical Free Church in the 70’s and 80’s. In the undergrad years important shifts in thinking and faith occurred through the study of art and theater and hanging out with a group  at Biola University, then known as “Christians United for Reformation.” The picture above is from a performance art piece done in Long Beach, CA in 1990, based on Hans Christian Anderson’s The Red Shoes. As part of the piece a friend cut off my hair, which led to insights I’ll write about another time…

Raising two kids, divorce, and grad school – that third leg of the journey would not have been survived without fellow travelers and theological reflection skills learned in a program called Education for Ministry. In the last decade my deepest spiritual companions have been members of Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission, as well as my husband, a creative and deeply spiritual author and teacher.

The article I wrote for the journal Liturgy may be found here. It is about language and liturgy in the Haitian context and is based on the research I did for my MTS thesis from Duke Divinity School. I continue to be interested in how political and social dynamics are manifest in worship settings.

When the political landscape began to get hot here in NC with Moral Monday protests, I found myself hungry for spaces for reflection. Concurrent with that I had begun exploring the relationship of death to faith and dead bodies to liturgy. Wanting to share my thinking about that was the impetus for starting this blog. More broadly, I hope that this will be a place to get hot and cool slowly in order to be strong and flexible as our society wrestles more openly with many things that matter.