I guess maybe the difference between me and a lot of people I know is that I'm always thinking about "how things are." I'm always wondering about what it's like to be alive right now, as compared to a hundred or a thousand years ago. I'm always trying to figure out the way in which we are wrong about everything. I'm trying to wrap my head around the perfect way to understand and communicate how we, as a species, can become more kind and generous and peaceful. I am still holding onto a belief that we don't have to be killers, we don't have to judge and condemn others, we can be merciful, we can be beautiful, we can be loving. All of us.
Maybe this is the same thing, but I'm always trying to deepen my understanding of Spirit. How She moves in this world, why She gave birth to All That Is, why She put us, you and I, right here, right now. I'm always trying to communicate to the person sitting across from me, or listening to my recordings, or looking at my pictures, or reading my words, "Please let this experience in. Please feel Her in this moment."
I like to think that She in Her Grace is actually All of Creation in the Act of Creating Herself, so when I fully open myself to the motion of Her Creation, I can create truthfully.
I was born in 1961 in Lafayette, Indiana to Margaret and John Herder. I have one sibling, a brother, John, two years younger. Except for one year in Chicago I have lived on the northside of Indianapolis all my life.
I grew up very active in a Presbyterian church. I was groomed to be a church musician. This was the matriachal tradition in my family. When I was young, the church was the only place I felt I belonged.
I became aware of my lesbianism in my teens. At the time (the late seventies), lesbians were viewed as little better than pedophiles. As a matter of fact, the first thing the church did after I told a minister there that I was gay was forbid me to work with the children, something I had been doing all my life. More about this is available in the 3rd margaret area of this website. In the end, it was easier for me to walk away from the church, from all I thought I would be, than it was to walk away from the truth of my gender identity and sexual orientation.
And life went on.
In my 20s I explored musical expression in a secular context, playing in an all female rock and roll band, Software. I worked a lot. I went to school for a while at a local college (IUPUI) with religious studies as my major and the new field of women's studies as my minor. I enjoyed my friends and worked hard. I am still very grateful that, unlike most of my lesbian friends, my family never shut me out.
Basically, for the next 15 years, I did what I could to keep myself from feeling. The societal view of lesbianism led me to internalize a lot of self-loathing and despair. I put a lot of effort into trying escape these feelings, using drugs and alcohol, working a lot, generally doing my best, but really just skimming the surface of life.
In 1992 I quit drinking and started taking better care of myself, physically and emotionally. I realized I had been ignoring my spirituallity for a long time, probably since I left the church, and began to find my way back to Spirit.
I've worked hard to look honestly at my experience and my presence here. I want to learn to savor every moment of my life. I'm trying to learn to devote myself more fully to a peaceful and loving existence.
I treasure my life with my partner, Lisa DeWeese. I am content when we are home together.
I feel that I move toward Spirit when I am in my studio creating music, walking around with my camera, participating in ritual with trusted friends, or off in the woods backpacking and being alone in nature.
Since 2012 I've worked for Christian Feminism Today, a gender justice organization which emerged from the progressive evangelical movement of the 1970s. Formerly known as the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus, the organization has been actively advocating for women's and LGBTQ equality for decades. I am honored to continue the work begun more than 40 years ago by some of my personal heros, including Virgnia Ramey Mollenkott, Nancy Hadesty, and Letha Dawson Scanzoni.
1979 Composed and produced a Christian rock opera, Morning Light, which was performed at several churches throughout Indiana. The show involved a cast and crew of over 50 high school kids.
1980 - 1986 Performed with the all original - all female rock band, Software. I played keyboards and guitars, sang lead vocals and composed much of the material. Other notable Software members include Kara Barnard and Susan Colin.
1997 Released my first solo CD project, alone..., under the artist name of 3rd margaret. I composed each track, played the instruments and sang every note. I engineered and mixed the CD. Each physical copy of the 11 song disc was created and assembled by hand. One track, I Am the Fire, had the singular distinction of being on both Pagan and Christian charts simultaineously on mp3.com.
1997 - 2002 Was integrally involved with presenting the Spirituality Series of the National Women's Music Festival. The series brought many notable women of spirit to the festival including Jade River, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, Phyllis Currot and Ruth Barrett.
2000 - 2005 Engineered release CDs for The Indianapolis Women's Chorus (To Sing is to Fly and Cradle of Fire), The Grand Rapids Women's Chorus (Where I Live), The Indianapolis Men's Chorus (Making the Season Bright), and Kara Barnard (Fret Hopping in Brown County). Also engineered live shows and recordings for a variety of groups and individuals. For more info check out the website of my music and audio engineering business, Softsound.
2000 - Now Created websites and managed the web presence for a variety of artists, musicians, not for profit organizations and businesses. For more about my web design work, please visit the CircleWebWorks website.
2002 Worked as the Musical Director for the initial Indianapolis presentation of Julie Forrest Middleton's Winter Solstice Singing Ritual. I wrote short musical transition pieces to back some of the speaking parts and provide starting notes for the songs. These parts are available for download in the music area of this website.
2005 Began crafting choral arrangements performed by the Indianapolis Women's Chorus.
2010 Was a plenary presenter at the 2010 EEWC- Christian Feminism Today gathering.
2011 Two of my photographs were selected to be a part of the "Social Currency" exhibition at the STUTZARTSPACE in Indianapolis.
2011 Created the audio track for Stephanie Lewis Robertson's "The Infinite Moment of Now" exhibition at the Indianapolis Art Center.
2012 Created the audio track for Sofiya Inger's "Story Dome" installation at the Indianapolis Art Center.
I'm trying to get away from thinking that achievement is important. I list all this here because I feel like it's expected. For a long time I acted as if my life should be oriented toward the goal of adding things to my resume. I actually think this can lead one away from Spirit. For me Spirit is most evident when I am in stillness, not working to achieve.
2013 A photograph and text piece, "Surrender," was selected to be included in the Risk of Faith exhibition at Chritian Theological Center.