Kaya Oakes: The Importance of Being Humble and Vulnerable

Sister Julia Walsh and author Kaya Oakes discuss the importance of being humble and the value of vulnerability in discipleship, in this episode of Messy Jesus Business.

“Sometimes discipleship is a place of vulnerability…and that’s something we should be more comfortable with.”

Season 3, Episode 2: of Messy Jesus Business, hosted by Sister Julia Walsh



In Season 3, Episode 2 of Messy Jesus Business, Kaya Oakes talks honestly about the mess of isolation she experiences at times as a Catholic living in the most secular region of the country.

“It’s been this wonderful gift, but it is also isolating sometimes, because people don’t know what to say in response if you’re Catholic,” she explains.

Sister Julia and Oakes discuss what it means to her to be a layperson in the Catholic Church. They also talk about the humility required when offering one’s prophetic voice through teaching and writing. And they explore the vulnerability of discipleship.

“That’s what discipleship means to me sometimes is to be willing to say, “This is very, very personal and very important to me and it’s very vulnerable for me to talk about it,” Oakes explains.


Kaya Oakes is the author of four books, most recently, “The Nones Are Alright, and, “Radical Reinvention.” Her fifth book, “The Defiant Middle: How Women Claim Life’s In-Betweens to Remake the World,” is forthcoming from Broadleaf Books in November.

Her essays and journalism have appeared in many national publications. She was the co-founder of the award-winning arts and culture magazine, Kitchen Sink, and is currently on the editorial board of the ground-breaking religion website, Killing the Buddha.

Oakes has spoken on topics related to religion, writing and feminism at Universities throughout the United States. She has also spoken and led writing workshops in church basements, community centers, homeless shelters, and in senior centers. She was one of a select number of international journalists who traveled to the Rome and the Vatican in 2016 to study writing on religion in politically turbulent times.

Since 1999, Oakes has been a faculty member in the College Writing Programs at UC Berkeley, where she teaches creative nonfiction, composition, and research writing. She has also been a distinguished visiting writer in nonfiction at St. Mary’s College as well as guest faculty at Bellarmine University and The Jesuit School of Theology at the Graduate Theological Union. She is also a trained spiritual director. She was born and raised in Oakland, California, where she still lives.

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is produced and hosted by Sister Julia Walsh, and edited by Charish Badzinski.

Email us at messyjesusbusiness@gmail.com



Twitter: @messyjesusbiz