It’s Election Day – and even with ‘only’ local ballots, the vision Jesus embodied of God’s Beloved Community opens our eyes to new perspectives on leadership, personal action, and global engagement.
The best place to start with social transformation is hope! Hope Is Here! Spiritual Practices for Pursuing Justice and Beloved Community (WJK) offers not only a book full of communal, small group, and/or individual practices, but also free, downloadable guides for congregational reflections; Scripture references and prayers to support study, devotion and preaching; and tools to develop congregational commitment – all available here.
Spiritual practices open our eyes to new possibilities and develop resilience in the midst of social upheaval and communal reorientation, as revealed in Ashes to Action: Finding Myself at the Intersection of the Minneapolis Uprising (Augsburg Fortress).
Find additional Contemplative Activism resources in our lib guide.
Get inspired for activism by contemplative leader bell hooks’ Spiritual Vision: Buddhist, Christian, and Feminist (Fortress); get ready to welcome a BIPOC leader with, Call to Allyship: Preparing Your Congregation for Leaders of Color (Augsburg Fortress).
Hearing – and trusting – BIPOC leaders, lay people, and neighbors requires white-bodied Christians to see the traumatic impacts ‘traditional’ biblical interpretations have had on all marginalized communities. One approach is Redeeming Violent Verses: A Guide for Using Troublesome Texts in Church and Ministry (WJK; discussion and reflection guides are available here); another is found in The Gospel of Peace: A Commentary on Matthew, Mark, and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence (Orbis).
To see God’s Beloved Community spread, this work must move from the super-local to the global: Decolonizing Palestine: The Land, The People, the Bible (Orbis) is ‘a timely book that builds on the latest research in settler-colonialism and human rights to place traditional theological themes within the wider socio-political context of settler colonialism as it is practiced by the modern nation-state of Israel. Written by a native Palestinian Christian theologian who continues to live in the region, Decolonizing Palestine provides an insider’s perspective that disrupts hegemonic and imperialist narratives about the region.’
Deeply transformational work requires profound sustenance. Cook some up in The Just Kitchen: Invitations to Sustainability, Cooking, Connection, and Celebration (Broadleaf), ‘where meal preparation is as much an act of resistance against injustice as marches and protests’.
Serve each meal with a side of thanks. Singing Fierce Gratitude: Daily Poems of Abundance, Generosity, and Gratitude (Pilgrim), ‘is a reminder to savor, to feast, and to share the abundance of God’s goodness’ as it ‘challenges our resignation to the mundane with revelations of delight’.
Find additional resources Thanksgiving and Gratitude for all ages in our lib guide.
As nourishing as spiritual practices of hope, action, and gratitude are, a little break can be good for the soul, too. Let even your entertainment be informed by – and shape – Beloved Community: Through the Lens of Whiteness: Challenging Racialized Imagery in Pop Culture (Skinner), is an ‘essential resource’ for ‘recognizing, analyzing, and confronting the perpetuation of racism in our visual world’.
Put what you learn into practice while viewing the 100 Spiritual Movies to See Before You Die (Pilgrim), ‘perfect for book clubs and movie junkies, for adult Sunday schools and spiritual-but-not-religious conversations’, it includes discussion questions, Bible quotes, and religious terms… for engagement with each film’.
Find additional Pop Culture-related resources in our lib guide.
This Election Day, let the local lead to global – and vice versa. It’s a Great Idea to get out and vote and encourage your neighbors, members, and loved ones to do so, as well. See here for ISAIAH’s super helpful tool – and don’t forget to VOTE!!