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Saffron is the color of robes that Hindu monks wear, while the cross is an essential image of Christianity.

felt like a powerful visual of the two traditions coming together—like an Easter cross draped with a saffron cloth.

Where did you grow up, and what is your religious background?

I was born in Arcadia, California, just outside of Los Angeles.

I was ordained a Southern Baptist minister on November 17, 2002, when I was 21 (! It was a huge leap of faith for the First Baptist Church community, and I am grateful for their faith in the spiritual gifts they saw in me. I enjoy teaching, preaching, and worship leadership, and I am fortunate to live in a community where I am afforded those kinds of service opportunities without holding a senior pastor role. I’d taken an Eastern Religious Traditions course at Salem College to fulfill the philosophy/religion requirement for my BA.

I was inspired by the rhythm of the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song “Southern Cross.” Saffron Cross, like “Southern Cross,” has three syllables, an auspicious number in both Christianity and Hinduism.

We chose two terms that represented each faith—but also two words you weren’t likely to see juxtaposed.

His paternal grandmother, whom we call “Granny,” was a straightforward Texan who told him, “If you don’t marry Dana, I’m gonna beat your …” Only a few folks expressed concerns, and it was mostly from my side of the equation.

Their initial worry was a misunderstanding that all Hindu sects are polytheistic and practice idolatry.