This can be a challenging time of year. Even when resisted, connection is key – through it, amazing things happen: social transformation, creation’s renewal, individual well-being, and collective joy. We look at connectivity and mental health across the generations; how connecting the Word, humans, and creation can reshape us all; and maybe a financial bonus for climate care work!!
As we approach the third week of Advent, many of us might appreciate someone Inciting Joy (Workman) – and since much of the book focuses on, ‘what brings us together’ and ‘what we love’, let’s take a look at lasting ways to bring joy to others:
Mama’s Days (Reycraft) relates the story of a young girl who ‘spins a tale about a misunderstood dragon as she navigates her way through her mother’s unpredictable emotions’; a helpful tool for parents and children journeying through mental health challenges.
Springtide Research shared three recent articles around how congregations and leaders can support better mental health in Gen Z-ers, including:
- 3 Ways to Help Gen Z Deal with Holiday Stress
- Learn Why Connection Matters for Mental Health
- How Adults Can Help Young People Discover Their Purpose
Extend that affirmation throughout ‘the diversity of the entire LGBTQ+ community’ with Called Out: 100 Devotions for LGBTQ Christians (WJK) and empower folx ‘for the work of transforming the world’.
Dig in deep to social transformation with Walter Brueggemann’s new Bible study series: Deliver Us (volume one) focuses on the exodus narrative and its articulation of divine liberation that leads to ‘a wholehearted transformation of social identities and relationships’; Our Hearts Wait: Worshiping through Praise and Lament in the Psalms (volume two; both WJK), ‘traces how the language of the psalms offers a template for liturgies that shape not only our collective worship and communities, but the worlds they create and sustain’.
For a truly transformative Bible study, check out Speak with the Earth and It Will Teach You: A Field Guide to the Bible (Pilgrim), which ‘attends to the theological wonder of God’s first book: nature’.
And just for fun: if your congregation is proud of your nature-renewing work, why not apply for IPL’s annual national contest recognizing ‘Cool Congregations’? There are six entry categories, including a new Electric Vehicle Leader. Projects completed from 2020-2022 are eligible. The deadline is December 15, 2022. Enter to win up to $1000!!