So much change is loose in the world, and it’s been too long since we last wrote. The effect of this change, and how it feels to each of us in our individual lives on any given day, is rife with both difference and similarity. I’ve taken heart in some of our recent Tuesday conversations, in which we’ve explored both beauty and anxiety, as well as what it means to be agents of hope in a world bludgeoned daily by natural disasters, racial injustice, political turmoil, and the constant bearing down of this pandemic. This newsletter has been a solid three weeks in the making, challenged by other work commitments and the demands of homeschooling, but like all of you, I persist! And like many of you, I am still processing the recent events regarding Justice Ginsberg’s death as well as the verdict yesterday regarding the legal accountability of law enforcement in the death of Breonna Taylor. As stories and perspectives in both situations continue to unfold, we will pay attention. For now, let us hold with intention these thoughts and ideas from the past weeks:
*The NY Times had me at this quote: “Nourishment is a prerequisite to equity.” That alone is much to unpack and a clear call to action in ways both big and small. The quote is from this article which I loved, loved, loved about feeding the revolution. It’s a longer read, but well worth it and full of ideas for faith communities with large, functional kitchens and a heart to serve the common good or support those working for social change.*Body nourishment is essential, and soul nourishment can not be forgotten in times as emotionally taxing as these. In this beautiful essay for Vanity Fair, the mammoth talent Jesmyn Ward writes beautifully about the complex intersections of these times in her own life as she grieves the death of her husband and reminds us of the deep and abiding need to bear witness in and for our communities. She uses a phrase I’d never heard but we all need more of in our life: “respair.” According to the Oxford English Dictionary, respair is a noun and a verb meaning “the return of hope after a period of despair.”
*The heart of our project began with a commitment to listen to the lives of young adults, and our own Sopphey Vance published a brief but compelling piece on our blog about “Universal Human Needs in the time of COVID” that provided great theological reflection and a solid call for both thought and action on our part.
*KUT just began this podcast project, and I am anticipating that it might be a rich resource for all of our faith communities searching for ways to engage, support and serve the younger folks in our community impacted by COVID. It highlights the stories and voices of people in the music industry affected by the pandemic from musicians to bartenders, and according to the producers, is also a testament to hope and creativity in a time of challenge. I can’t wait to check it out!
*I’m a sucker for a good counter-narrative, and this article from The Guardian caught my eye. It provides some follow up to the great gamble that Germany, under the leadership of Angela Merkel, took during the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe, allowing 1.7 million people to apply for asylum in the four years that followed. It’s exciting to find stories the encourage hope and alternative possibilities/narratives about immigration, particularly during an election year and in light of our shrinking immigration quotas and increasing restrictions on asylum seekers.
*A friend shared this article with me which highlights the often hard and very personal work of showing up as our full selves for friends and colleagues of color as we all seek to make this world a more racially just place. It’s also a reminder of the rich complexity of race and identity in America, and that this works exists on a non-binary continuum with each individual bringing their unique story, self, and perspective to the work.
*Oh and this piece from Maria Popova at Brainpickings is timely…
*Two quick posts from the Good News Movement spreading some serious bits of wonderful during difficult times. I’m not a social media person but this account may be worth signing up for. Here are two links that hopefully will work for you (sometimes I have to cut and paste them in my browser): Chef Cade reminding us that wild hearts can’t be broken, at least not when it comes to making cookies and Ms. Cosgrove, revealing how so many of us (and our kids) feel about homeschooling.*And finally, a short but gorgeous poem by Joy Harjo to gently whisk you into your weekend. To borrow Harjo’s words, may you “open your whole self/ To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon/To one whole voice that is you.”
Wishing you beauty, joy and restoration this weekend and onward-