Week of June 8 | Holden 2020 | Sustenance for our journey
From the Holden Village Executive Directors
Chuck Hoffman + Peg Carlson-Hoffman
We (Chuck and Peg) are white and cis-gender. We claim our identity here and the limitation of perspective that accompanies it. We are committed to taking affirmative steps to listen, learn, and act.
Now is the time to listen and learn to the lived experience of Black, Indigenous and People of color. It is also time for Holden to examine its history of privilege. Because Holden Village is an Educational Renewal Center serving an audience that has been predominantly white, it is our responsibility (Holden’s) to bear witness to what is happening in the world, to elevate the voices of Black and Brown people, to change the course of inequities, and to break down structural prejudice in all forms where it exists, within Holden and in white and Christian U.S. culture.
Below you will find more voices well worth contemplation and conversation.
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
Dr. Anthony Bateza
Theologian, Teacher, Author
Anthony Bateza earned degrees from Iowa State University (B.S., 2002), Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (M.Div., 2006), and Princeton Theological Seminary (Ph.D., 2017). Dr. Bateza is a specialist in Martin Luther, moral theology and Christian ethics. His research examines Luther’s understanding of human agency and his relationship with the virtue tradition. His other scholarly interests include the broader Augustinian tradition, the impact of Luther’s thought on 19th century philosophy, and questions of race, identity, and social justice. Anthony is an ordained pastor in the Lutheran Church (ELCA). He lives in Northfield, Minnesota, with his wife, Cynthia, and two young children, Austen and Magdalene. In his free time, he enjoys cycling, board games, gardening and cooking.
Rev. Dr. Gary Mason
Methodist Minister and Director of Rethinking Conflict
Rev. Dr. Gary Mason is a Methodist minister and directs a conflict transformation organization based in Belfast called "Rethinking Conflict." Prior to this he spent 27 years as a Methodist clergy person in parish ministry in Belfast and has played an integral role in the Northern Irish peace process. He was instrumental in establishing the Skainos project, which is a world-class urban center developed in a post-conflict society as a model of co-existence and shared space. It is acknowledged as the largest faith-based redevelopment project in Western Europe. Mason is a close adviser to Protestant ex-combatants on the civilianization efforts of paramilitaries. He was instrumental in facilitating negotiations with paramilitaries and government officials, and in 2007 his contribution was formally recognized by the Queen. In 2009, Mason’s church was the stage from which Loyalist paramilitaries announced their weapons decommissioning. Mason has lectured in political and academic forums throughout Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the U.S. on lessons from the Irish peace process. He has been interviewed on CNN, BBC, ITV and various radio programs. He holds a Ph.D in psychology from the University of Ulster, completed his theological studies at Queens University, and a bachelor’s in business studies from the University of Ulster.
Threat of Blackness: Four Black FLUMC Pastors Speak Out
The voices of black people and (other people of color) are historically and too often unsolicited, silenced, or discounted because of the discomfort felt by others who hear or read them. READ ARTICLE
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole. READ ARTICLE
Courage in Fearful Times: Letters in Fearful Times Part 5 by Anthony Bateza
Anthony Bateza explores the works of Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Case for Reparations and Between the World and Me. Bateza tells us that part of the task (in becoming anti-racist) is creating spaces where white people don't talk, but listen to the folks (black, indigenous and people of color) around them. "It's not just enough to work behind the scenes" when uncovering and challenging racism. As Coates says, "Good intention is the hall pass through history."
Honest History: Facing inward will be the way out by Gary Mason
Racism and sectarianism have been twin evils running through the history of humanity and the church, and they call for prophetic courage to deal with the problem. READ ARTICLE
Summer Faculty Voices
Courage in Fearful Times
With ANthony Bateza
Fear is a contraction, it is something that pulls you in, but it is also something that you can control and shape. Fears make you aware of things you want to protect. You want to make sure that those fears are signaling in the right way: they are pointing to things that are actually good and should be loved. And that they aren’t overwhelming you to the point that you pull in upon yourself, that you hide, that you choose an inaction or reaction. LISTEN NOW
Fear Not – Struggles and Suffering
with Gary Mason
Even when life disturbs, disfigures, or destroys, God whispers if you do what is right, it will go well with you. God's definition of wellness isn't about health, finances, job security; it's not about life being fair. LISTEN NOW
Summer Faculty Book Recommendations
Dear Church: A Love Letter from a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the US
by Lenny Duncan
Lenny Duncan is the unlikeliest of pastors. Formerly incarcerated, he is now a black preacher in the whitest denomination in the United States: the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Shifting demographics and shrinking congregations make all the headlines, but Duncan sees something else at work – drawing a direct line between the church's lack of diversity and the church's lack of vitality. The problems the ELCA faces are theological, not sociological. But so are the answers.
Part manifesto, part confession, and all love letter, Dear Church offers a bold new vision for the future of Duncan's denomination and the broader mainline Christian community of faith. Dear Church rejects the narrative of church decline, and calls everyone – leaders and laity alike – to the front lines of the church’s renewal through racial equality and justice.
It is time for the church to rise up, dust itself off, and take on forces of this world that act against God: whiteness, misogyny, nationalism, homophobia, and economic injustice. Duncan gives a blueprint for the way forward and urges us to follow in the revolutionary path of Jesus.
“It is our duty and our joy that in this time and this place we join the angels and archangels, the witnesses of the resurrection in their never-ending hymn of justice. The banquet that is about to be laid out by the sovereign God is a feast of equity. But make no mistake: it will be like the night this same God was arrested. God will take this church, lift it up and give thanks, and then break it. He will turn and face us, saying to those whom we have oppressed, ‘This is my body, broken for you.’ ”
– Lenny Duncan
“Lenny Duncan’s Dear Church is a text that I have needed here at Holden. It a reminder of the prophetic work of justice that we are called to in this place that seeks to make new the church and the world. Duncan reminds us who we are and where we came from, without letting us forget the hurt and pain we have inflicted, and continue to inflict. This February this text served as a compass as we engaged in worship that created a Holy discomfort. This book has been empowering and reassuring as we continue to engage in the discomfort of living out the summer theme of living through this new thing being formed.”
– Rachael Meadors, Holden Village Staff
A This is an Hour of Change
This is an hour of change.
Within it we stand uncertain on the border
Shall we draw back or cross over?
Where shall our hearts turn?
Shall we draw back, my brother, my sister,
or cross over?
This is the hour of change, and within it,
We stand quietly
on the border of light.
What lies before us?
Shall we draw back, my brother, my sister,
or cross over?
– From the Jewish Prayer Book
Mishkan T’Filah: A Reform Siddur
All Things New
Photo by 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.