It’s Hispanic Heritage Month. Next month is Indigenous Peoples’ Month and Thanksgiving (or not). We’re moving toward All Saints Day – and the traditions of Advent and Christmas are just around the corner. It’s a good time for a critical look at history – what we’ve learned, what our ancestors actually handed down to us, what we really ought to ‘unforget’, and how a clearer eye on the past can lead us toward a more relational future.
As we prepare for Indigenous Peoples’ Month and Thanksgiving (or not), Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future (Broadleaf) is a ‘sojourn through history, myth, identity, and spirituality’ that ‘helps us… honor treaties …see the land as a relative… and unravel the history we have been taught’.
Learn more from Indigenous Voices through books in our lib guide.
Keeping on the theme of unforgetting histories, Shifting Climate, Shifting People (Pilgrim) draws the clear lines between marginalized peoples, climate change-induced migrations, and ‘the disparate impacts of climate change on nations impoverished by colonialism’.
History is not just an ‘out there’ abstraction: congregational rituals and traditions stem from and participate in the systems and mores those histories bequeathed us. Nothing Gained Is Eternal: A Theology of Tradition (Fortress) might be a great resource for All Saints and/or Reformation preparations as it ‘pushes back against sentimental and triumphalist interpretations of Christian patrimony’.
Reformation preparations might also include looking ahead toward emerging ways of being church: The Holy and the Hybrid: Navigating the Church’s Digital Reformation (Fortress) suggests ways to ‘build communities that serve as the hands and feet of Christ simultaneously online and offline’.
Voices of Lament: Reflections on Brokenness and Hope in a World Longing for Justice (Baker) might inspire an All Saints Sunday of looking back to look forward.
If history, tradition, systems, and unjust relationships have trapped your youth in grief, anxiety, or despair, The State of Religion & Young People 2022: Mental Health – What Faith Leaders Need to Know (Springtide Research) reveals that religion and spirituality help mental health and shares how you can play a vital role in young people’s mental well-being!
If it’s your Littles who are anxious, introduce them to The Worried Wiseman (Church), who will guide children and parents in ways to ‘think about how we make the journey through life together and how we find calm and hope even when things feel uncertain.
[And if you’re ready for Christmas, introduce it to your really Littles one ‘surprise’ at a time with Lift-the-Flap Christmas Stories for Young Children (Beaming).]
It’s not easy, but when we investigate our history and traditions, are open to critiquing what our ancestors handed us, and center the voices ‘traditionally’ pushed to the margins, we can move together in reconciled relationships toward a much more joy-filled tomorrow.