Biggest Blunder Stories From Today's Faith Leaders
32: Coffee with Emily Holladay
“Soy chai,” saith Emily Holladay when asked how she likes her coffee. Emily is a pastor primarily for children and families in Louisville, KY. Emily and I don’t really know each other even though we both graduated from CBF seminaries in 2013. We were often in close proximity at conferences throughout seminary we just never really ended up in the same circles for conversations. I chalk it up to her having really deep roots and me having been very new on the Cooperative Baptist scene. And each seminary tended not to mingle with the others. I always thought that was a little strange but I suppose we were all trying to really claim and live our own unique seminary’s identity. Perhaps like everywhere in life we stay close to what is familiar and safe.
Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it is like to live inside somebody else’s skin. It’s the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too. – Buechner
Emily does not strive to be in the limelight but it is the limelight that put her so unforgettably on my radar. At the annual national conference (“General Assembly”) of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Emily and a class mate of mine from the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond were the first two winners of an enormous, prestigious scholarship. A large scholarship is $1000. If I remember correctly this was about $12,000 per year for multiple years. These two Vestal Scholars were instant rock stars (in my mind). So I think of Emily, naturally, on the same level of excellence as my winning friend at BTSR.
It is about four years after that conference and I reached out to Emily Holladay to share her stories with you all on The Coffeepot Fellowship Daily Podcast. Some people really are more gifted than others. Context matters. Upbringing and opportunities matter. How much one reads matters. One’s home life, school life, faith life, and work life matter. Yet we’re all called to do the most that we can do with the gifts that we do have.
And while I’m rifting here, we are indeed all gifted. We are all blessed. Even if one of our gifts is as simple as being able to walk across the room, that is a gift. With that said, whether you feel relatively more gifted or less gifted, as people mature I believe all of us come to, in some way, want even the most gifted people to live into their gifts. In our younger, more immature selves we may have been more consumed with jealousy. But when we see someone embarrassed or timid or squashing their own gift(s) then we are all robbed of a bit of beauty and divine.
With that said, I pray that you’ll hear and enjoy how Emily is using her gifts. In particular I hope that you will follow her on your own as she continues blossoming into an amazing writer, speaker, advocate and pastor. Thanks for all that you do, Emily.