One America Voices: Blake Farley

Written by: Blake Farley

Program Coordinator

Searcy, Arkansas

You spent time in Switzerland and the Netherlands and were able to share life with other students who were on their own academic and life journeys. What about your time in foreign countries most helped you grow in your relationship with others?

I think traveling, studying, and living everyday life abroad taught me how much more I have in common with my neighbors than what distinguishes us (on the surface, at least). Previously, living in contexts that don’t share the same native languages, community patterns, and histories provided an opportunity every day to find neighborliness and friendship in different and deeper ways with my classmates, colleagues, and everyday citizens. My time in Switzerland and the Netherlands were great laboratories where I could test and observe what brings about authentic connection with the people in my life from vastly different backgrounds. I found that a commitment to compassion and hospitality paved the way for friendships and mentorships I never could have imagined! Maybe this is why I like sharing coffee, food, photographs from my travels, and deep conversations so much … It’s fun to find opportunities to show up as a source of compassion and joy for anyone, and something about sharing these simple joys too during travel or work in new places really romanticizes everyday life for me.

Although you’ve understandably had your head in textbooks and academia for the last few years, what are some of your favorite genres or subjects to read for fun? What about them draws your attention?

It’s been hard not to take reading and studying too seriously since finishing my time at university. I can get engrossed in a good mystery/thriller novel. Letting an artist pull back the curtain on characters and a plot you almost understood and surprise you is the best experience! (I’m really passionate about the way film storytelling can achieve this, too. Looking at you, Chris Nolan.) I especially value reading books on theology and religion through the lens of our cultural moment across the country and the globe too. Study is a big part of my Christian faith, and I grow in empathy and integrity by learning from thinkers, artists, and changemakers who diversely approach religion and life’s meaning through their creative writings. I learn a lot from those who highlight how beauty and grace and justice — characteristics I attribute to God — show up in the world around us today.

What made you decide to join the One America Movement team?

I’ve hoped to dedicate my career to serving communities for a long time, and the experience of becoming friends and intentionally sharing life with people who used to seem distant to me continues to be a great joy and mystery to me. Sadly, it’s common to experience animosity and division even more intensely in our closest relationships and communities today. It feels more important to me now than ever before to partner with a mission that aims to build a movement of individuals that will turn the tide and work together by new norms to tackle pressing issues that plague our country and prevent us from delighting in the distinct cultures and communities we share. The invitation to join a team of like-hearted individuals where I can bring my full self and my full faith (which emphasizes unity, beauty, and hospitality so compellingly to me) made joining the One America Movement one of the most exciting decisions I’ve ever been able to make!

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