August 17 BeHolden All Things New


Week of August 17 | Holden 2020 | Sustenance for our journey


A More Truthful Story

As we walk through these politically charged days, it is important that we address racism as a theological issue, spread hope and optimism about the future, move from anxiety to love, and embrace new, redemptive ways of being in the world. In order to do the work that we need to do, we must articulate a more truthful story of our shared history.

In this issue of All Things New, Chris Scharen will be exploring the roots of white privilege through his own family story. 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
Executive Directors


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

scharen__Chris.jpgRev. Dr. Chris Scharen

Practical theologian and pastor @st_lydias
Writer @afterlauraingalls
Novice poet and mandolin player
Making home in Harlem with Walt the bulldog

AudioArchiveLOGO_July-200.jpgLittle House in the Big Woods

"What I want to do is complexify the story and claim it in its complexity because the invitation to white people is to step out of the myth of how we talk about ourselves and step into the particularity of our story. In order to make the transition in which white people become the minority in this country, we need to tell truer stories about our history."

In his exploration of how white Americans can tell more accurate stories about their histories, listen to Chris Scharen describe his family's history as a descendant of the Ingalls Wilder family and some of the important but often forgotten context for the popular Laura Ingalls Wilder books.


After_Laura_Ingalls_Photo.jpgAfter Laura Ingalls: Telling more truthful story, so we can build a more hopeful future.

“One doesn’t begin an investigation of one’s whiteness lightly. Yet for the rest of my now middle-aged lifetime, the United States of America will continue its path through a dramatic transformation that will soon see white people become the minority. One way this plays out is reactionary, sparking a culture of fear and resentment among white people that Donald Trump so effectively tapped in becoming the ‘first white president’ (Nell Irvin Painter). Another way this plays out, suggested near the end of my friend Robby Jones’ excellent book, The End of White Christian America, is to ask, can white people do the work to shift from expecting to decide who gets a seat at the table, to simply taking a chair at the table along with everyone else?’ To make this shift, I’m convinced, people who believe themselves to be white (an invented category, more on that to come) must tell a more truthful story about our past. This site, and the book it will lead to, is my effort in doing this.”
– Chris Scharen


Summer Book Recommendations

The_End_of_White_Christian_America_Book.jpgThe End of White Christian America

by Robert P. Jones

For most of our nation’s history, White Christian America (WCA) set the tone for our national policy and shaped American ideals. But especially since the 1990s, WCA has steadily lost influence, following declines within both its mainline and evangelical branches. Today, America is no longer demographically or culturally a majority white, Christian nation.

Drawing on more than four decades of polling data, The End of White Christian America explains and analyzes the waning vitality of WCA. Robert P. Jones argues that the visceral nature of today’s most heated issues – the vociferous arguments around same-sex marriage and religious and sexual liberty, the rise of the Tea Party following the election of our first black president, and stark disagreements between black and white Americans over the fairness of the criminal justice system – can only be understood against the backdrop of white Christians’ anxieties as America’s racial and religious topography shifts around them.

More Resources for Your Journey

Podcast150.jpgRe-forming Intercultural Relationships
with Stacy Kitahata, Claire Smith, and Rediet Muluget

"Whiteness perpetuates itself by denying its existence. That is one of the biggest hurdles to try and overcome. Continue to name whiteness, even when we're uncomfortable talking about it. Avoid the temptation to spin off into generalizations about society or political agendas and own that part of ourselves."





Table Blessing

To your table
you bid us come.
You have set the places,
you have poured the wine,
and there is always room,
you say,
for one more.

And so we come.
From the streets
and from the alleys
we come.

From the deserts
and from the hills
we come.

From the ravages of poverty
and from the places of privilege
we come.

we come.

We are bloodied with our wars,
we are wearied with our wounds,
we carry our dead within us,
and we reckon with our ghosts.

We hold the seeds of healing,
we dream of a new creation,
we know the things
that make for peace,
and we struggle
to give them wings.

And yet, to your table
we come.
Hungering for your bread,
we come;
thirsting for your wine,
we come;
singing your song
in every language,
speaking your name
in every tongue,
in conflict and in communion,
in discord and in desire,
we come,
O God of Wisdom,
we come.

– Jan Richardson

Photo Chuck Hoffman

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.