Six New Things – Week of June 03, 2024

Pride. Juneteenth. Summer. So much joy. Yet May ended in violence and tragedy*. Can we be moved to greater empathy for siblings who suffer violence and tragedy regularly? Can we be moved to action to end violence and create peace? Let’s try.

ONE

Grief is an unavoidable suffering – especially challenging for our Little Ones. Abuelo’s Flower Shop (Beaming) celebrates ‘the beauty of intergenerational love while gently teaching readers about grieving the loss of a loved one’: the ‘perfect resource for navigating difficult conversations about grief’.

Find more support for Pastoral Care with young ones in our Grief, Death, & Dying lib guide.

In instances of Collective/Community Grief, please see here.

TWO

For congregations ready to engage in potentially divisive discussions – and the road to peace – find support in The Ministry Lab’s Toolkits:

  • Start with Courageous Spaces: Congregations that Listen, Lament, & Repair Toolkit with:
    • guidelines for facilitating safe(r) spaces for difficult conversations
    • support for age-appropriate discussions with children & teens
    • curricula, training, books, audio, and video to prepare leaders in healthy facilitation
    • mindfulness and spiritual practices to ground discussion groups and leaders
    • worship materials to encourage full-congregation awareness and engagement
  • Our Israel & Palestine: Learn, Pray, Advocate Toolkit empowers all ages to:
    • engage Biblical/Christian perspectives
    • challenge Antisemitism and Islamophobia
    • hear from vetted speakers
    • include all ages in discussions with intergenerational and children/youth resources
    • engage the whole congregation in worship & prayer
    • advocate and work toward lasting peace

Keep an eye out for our upcoming Courageous Spaces series – interactive, in-depth, experiential learning for congregational leaders to develop competence and confidence in facilitating difficult discussions for the entire community.

THREE

We created those Toolkits to affirm and encourage communities who want to follow Jesus’ radical call to peace, reconciliation, and mutuality.

Dig deeper into current political contexts with A Great Disorder: National Myth and the Battle for America (Harvard University), ‘a bold, urgent work that helps us make sense of today’s culture wars through a… reconsideration of America’s foundational myths and their use in contemporary politics’; and End Time Politics: From the Moral Majority to QAnon (Fortress), a look at Jerry Falwell’s ‘dispensationalism’, which has ‘found its savior in Donald Trump, God’s man for undoing the conspiracy and restoring unregulated capitalism and an imagined American Christian nation’.

Let Diana Butler Bass, Kristin Du Mez, Robert P. Jones, and Jemar Tisby, PhD, guide you and yours through the maze of religious and political interconnections with their new The Convocation: A Newsletter and Podcast from Four Writers on Religion and Public Life.

And find additional resources in our Politics and Social Structure and Christian Nationalism lib guides.

FOUR

This is hard work.

Nurture your own spirit and soul with Looking Inward, Living Outward: The Spiritual Practice of Social Transformation (Upper Room), a ‘practical guide’ – based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount – that ‘connects acts of contemplation with action, providing biblically based and spiritually grounded practices for living into the beloved community today.’

Find more spiritual support in our Contemplative Activism lib guides.

FIVE

For a more light-hearted, yet ‘meaty’ approach, check out Swole: The Making of Men and the Meaning of Muscle (Beacon), ‘a witty incisive, poignant exploration of male body image, from the history of the gym to the politics of superheroes to the world of manfluencers’.

Find more on Confronting Misogyny and Toxic Masculinity in our lib guides.

SIX

Raise up the next generation with a healthier body image and sense of self with Yale Divinity School’s Pride Month Resources:

Find additional 2-SLGBTQIA+ affirming resources for all ages in our lib guide; see also our Worship: Pride lib guide.

~~~

*I refer to the Thursday, May 30, shooting in Minneapolis, in which three people were killed and four others injured. The shooting took place one block from the Minnesota Church Center, where several judicatory offices are located and where The Ministry Lab once resided.

While the victims, their families, and all the witnesses are in our prayers, from our small place in the world, we hope, pray, and are attempting to work toward a more peaceful community for all.