Another week draws slowly to a close! Sometimes it feels like time has taken on another sensibility. Many moments and days seem interminably slow (will we ever be through this?) and then others seem to pass like a flash in a cycle of news, online meetings, multitasking, figuring out, not figuring out, and finally, hopefully, sleep. I hope you are resting, finding quiet in the midst of the noise, and enjoying moments here and there to give thanks for the strange and unanticipated rhythms that, though painful, are teaching us much. Here are a few things for your consideration:
*For a solid three minute read, check out this list of “Principles” for facing our new reality orginally published by UNC professor Brandon Bayne. They were created for his students, but I found them super relatable in my own personal and professional life and potentially helpful for the difficult navigation churches face as well.
*In terms of direct, scientifically-based and data-driven information on COVID and the potential outlook, this rare interview with the current director of the CDC seemed grounded, helpful and informative. Even as he asserts “this virus is going to be with us,” this article adds hope to the equation as folks in Germany seek to find ways to test COVID immunity in order to get people back in the work force and available to address issues on the front line.
*As we seek to understand and find ways to support those further marginalized by this health crisis, the New Yorker delivered an excellent piece considering the additional challenges and fears that undocumented folks in our community are facing during this time
*If you have 3 minutes, please please watch this short video filmed by a community organization in Belfast. It’s short and sweet and the framing really buoyed my spirits this week, thinking of the abnormally empty spaces created by physical distancing as “the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness in our lifetime.”
*For some reason (maybe it was the lovely Belfast video), the work of artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada stuck with me this week. He’s one of my favorites, and the way he uses sand, rock, dirt and other natural features to lovingly create a portrait that can only be seen from an aerial view seems like a solid metaphor for the work we are all currently undertaking. As people of faith, we know there’s a bigger picture, but our call these days may be to cultivating our small part faithfully while we wait, with hope, for the aerial view. Take three minutes to learn more about Rodriguez-Gerada’s work in Belfast, or to see an example closer to home, check out this raw footage of his work in San Antonio.
*And finally, if you have 20 seconds, love Chris Farley, and need a solid giggle, watch this tiny TikTok meme posted by one of our pastors this week.
*Our own Mark Yaconelli delivered this quiet, lovely podcast which entertains the wonderful question of how we differentiate between loneliness and solitude during these days. Pulling from the The Hearth archive, he pieces together community stories that speak to a moment such as this. Carve out 30 minutes or so and give it a whirl.
*A music writer from The L.A. Times posed a challenge to readers everywhere to recover the art of deep listening. Almost sounds like a Christian kind of thing! The full article is a long read but probably a thrill for music aficionados. The challenge he sets up is worthwhile: Pick your favorite album and stop everything (he suggests burying your cell phone but that might be a bit too far), and regardless of the medium (Spotify, cd, cassette or vinyl), listen to the tracks of your favorite album in order and entirely. Experience the album, if you will. Something to consider! He actually suggests listening to three albums back to back (but I’m thinking he doesn’t have kids)*If the album thing just isn’t going to happen, but you still need pep in your step, listen to our new 787 Collective playlist “Distanced but not Down.” It is fun, uplifting, and family friendly. With a few built-in quarantine jokes to boot.
RESOURCE: Finally, a few resources that cropped up on our last calls to share with anyone and everyone in your community that might benefit:
For small assistance grants (up to $200) to provide immediate relief to students and their families: https://myscholly.com/relief/
For parents with pre-k children needing ideas and learning options for their kids: www.seesaw.com
For stories, volunteer opportunities, and information for COVID-related news and community matters: https://www.speakupaustin.org/atxforatx
For non-profits impacted by Covid-19 in need of tech support and training: https://www.techsoup.org/
For churches needing or seeking pre-designed and delivered on-line content for programs or curriculum: https://www.rightnowmedia.org/
Okay, lovely people, hang in there! Rest well, and tune back in this next week.
Peace and grace,