Week of August 10 | Holden 2020 | Sustenance for our journey
Vulnerability and Solidarity
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. taught that before we go out to witness for justice, we need to be sure that we are honest with ourselves and others and that we do so with love and respect, especially for those with whom we disagree. This takes a high level of spiritual development and surrender. Imagine the spiritual surrender necessary by those who have been oppressed for hundreds of years yet continue to work peacefully for social and earth justice. When we can change from inside — from the power position to a position of vulnerability and solidarity, we have the potential to gradually change everything.
In this issue of All Things New, you will find Mark Washington and Michael Coffey leading us in hard conversations on racial divides. Rachael Meadors and Aana Vigen offer us insights to understanding our history. Wherever you are reading this, we hope that you find inspiration and sustenance for these days of uncertainty. May you be safe, may you be well, and may you be held in love.
With good courage,
Chuck Hoffman + Peg Carlson-Hoffman
FOR THE JOURNEY
There are many invitations afforded us in times such as these. Invitations to listen, to engage, to be open, to love and remind ourselves that we don’t own the answers. In the spirit of our Summer Conversation, All Things New, this summer will be a different kind of summer. Holden will continue to be a light — just in a new way. In this new world we’re all inhabiting, we're sharing insights from some of our originally scheduled summer faculty.
Featured Summer Faculty
Rev. Dr. Mark Washington
Rev. Dr. Mark Washington has been the City Manager of Grand Rapids, Michigan, since October 2018. Previously, he was the Pastor of Vision of Hope African Methodist Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas, and the Assistant City Manager of that city.
Rev. Michael Coffey
Rev. Michael Coffey is the Pastor of First English Lutheran Church in Austin, Texas, and author of Renounce, Resist, Rejoice: Being Church in the Age of Trump (Wipf & Stock, 2017) and Mystery without Rhyme or Reason: Poetic Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary (Wipf & Stock, 2015)
Michael and Mark will discuss the necessary and difficult work that white people and congregations must do to learn about, reflect on, and confront the racism in white culture, including the white church. They work to create a conversation where there is no need for shame or denial, but openness to exploration and honesty. “We will seek to learn how we can speak the truth in love within the white church.”
"The work to be done around racism is uniquely a white people's problem. It is not an equivalency. We have to do this hard work together and not expect persons of color to do this work for us. However, we invite persons of color to help us, to listen in, to expose false assumptions, and support and encourage us. White guilt is not helpful to addressing racism. It's another insidious way of turning the conversation back on ourselves."
Poetry for Your Day
"To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time."
— James Baldwin
Originally posted on his blog: Ocotillo Pub, Michael Coffey shares his poem This Whiteness.
Summer Book Recommendations
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
And Other Conversations About Race
by Beverly Daviel Tatum, Ph.D.
Walk into any racially mixed high school and you will see Black, white, and Latino youth clustered in their own groups. Is this self-segregation a problem to address, or is it a coping strategy? Beverly Daniel Tatum, a renowned authority on the psychology of racism, argues that straight talk about our racial identities is essential if we are serious about enabling communication across racial and ethnic divides. These topics have only become more urgent as the national conversation about race is increasingly acrimonious. This fully revised edition is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of race in America.
More Resources for Your Journey
Rachael graduated from Augustana College in 2018 with majors in Women's and Gender Studies and Psychology. She served the Village as a long-term staff member, working in a number of areas including Worship Assistant, Programming and Education Assistant, and Garbologist.
"If we stop at reading books, watching documentaries, and having safe conversations with the people we most know, then we will not be able to help much in the cause for racial justice. We all need to be part of this work for the sake of our world, our relationships, and our own moral formation."
History Matters: Owning (Our) White Christian History (Justification of Colonization & Slavery & Implications for 2019)
with Aana Vigen
"People like to think that those who owned slaves or those who colonized the West and moved Native Americans off the land were not so much rooted in Christian faith and that it wasn't as important to them as others. That's not true. We have to own the fact that in White Christianity, we have very deep roots that are justifying of these practices."
I am accused of tending to the past
I am accused of tending to the past
as if I made it,
as if I sculpted it
with my own hands I did not.
This past was waiting for me
when I came,
a monstrous unnamed baby,
and I with my mother’s itch
took it to breast
and named it
She is more human now,
learning the languages every day,
remembering faces, names and dates.
When she is strong enough to travel
on her own, beware, she will.
— Lucille Clifton
This series, All Things New, will explore in part the conversation originally scheduled for summer. In this new world we all inhabit, may you find sustenance for your journey.