30 June 2020 | Resources from Pastor John

Dear Friends,

As I pay attention to the ways that racism and white supremacy shape my life, my thinking, my relationships, and my faith, I am seeking to hear and share the voices of persons of color and indigenous persons. I will use this post as a way of sharing articles, websites, and other resources.

In reading and thinking about these messages, I know that I won’t agree with all of what they depict or conclude. You probably won’t, either! But agreement is not the point: the point is to listen to perspectives from outside our experience, to hear with respect, and to deepen our commitment to wholeness and dignity for all persons. In other words, the point of this work is to strengthen our devotion to Jesus’ gospel of radical, transforming grace.

I hope you’ll join me in this hard and holy work.

Pastor John

30 June 2020

A number of worthy books can help to deepen knowledge and awareness of white supremacy and racism:

    • Several years ago my book study group read Nell Irvin Painter’s The History of White People (2010), which traces the development of the concept of “whiteness.” Painter’s definition of racism is incisive and useful: “The belief that races exist, and that some are better than others.”
    • Our study group also read Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (2014), recounting Stevenson’s representing a man who insisted he was falsely convicted of murder. The deep and byzantine patterns of race and class prejudice in the legal system make this a gripping and infuriating account, even as Stevenson’s work left me inspired. A recent movie based on the book is available to watch for free.
    • Here’s a curated list of anti-racism books from the public library system in Massachusetts.

16 June 2020

Testimonies, commentaries, and analysis:

    • Aiming the Word Towards Hope,” by Willie James Jennings, faculty member at Yale Divinity School. Prof. Jennings writes about the usual construction of left-right-center in US life misses the deeper impulses behind the way we live our politics, religion, and secular life. Instead, he asks: “How do we learn to imagine life freed from the power of fear and aimed toward a life-joining hope?”

Film, Poetry, Art:

    • 13th, a documentary directed by Ava DuVernay, analyzing the criminalization of black Americans that followed the Civil War, made possible by a clause in the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, and leading to the social catastrophe of mass incarceration. Available on Netflix (and probably elsewhere, as well).

11 June 2020

Testimonies, commentaries, and analysis:

Other resources:

3 June 2020

Testimonies, commentaries, and analysis:

Other resources:

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