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Archive for Brian McLaren

Resources to Respond to the Divide & Reestablish a Shared Reality

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Most of us, myself included, are experiencing anxiety as we reflect upon the upcoming election.  Now, even as we grieve the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, there is a fast-tracking of a new conservative justice. 

How did we become so divided?

How did our relationships become weaponized? 

How did we come to accept such lack of integrity in our leaders? 

How did we create worlds based on radically different sets of facts, and how do we reestablish a shared reality? 

Here are a few resources that I find helpful in answering these questions, and more importantly, in responding constructively. 

  1. Brian McLaren (yes, the same author of the Great Spiritual Migration that we are reading!)  provides a short video on Kitchen Table Logic, describing  the emergence of a new electorate that represents the deep disruption we see today. He notes, “You may think, as many people do, that there are only two kinds of voters in American politics, Republican and Democrat or Conservative and Liberal. You may even add a third category, Independents. Whatever your current understanding, I think you’ll benefit from this alternate way of seeing American politics in 2020: there have been four kinds of voters in recent elections, but now, a fifth voter element is emerging, and that changes everything.”

  2. Netflix movie called “The Social Dilemma.” It does a brilliant job of outlining the complex challenge we now face with social media companies selling you and me (their real products) to advertisers. Their business model generates more profit when we are angry, divided, and divisive. We spend more time on their platforms in that state and, often unknowingly, click on more ads.

  3. If you haven’t already seen the film, Suppress the Vote, you might appreciate this film from Netflix: “All In: the Fight for Democracy”  The film offers a  primer on the history of voter suppression in the United States. The film features Stacey Abrams in her failed bid for the Governor’s office in Georgia. It serves as a warning that what happened to her could be a sign of what is in store for our future.

My intent is not to make us more anxious. It is to make us less naïve, more aware of the sophisticated strategies at work, and to empower us with a consciously loving, powerful and faithful response. 

We are in this together, keep the faith!

with love, Pastor Laurie 

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Prayer for the week: 

Grant us, Lord God, a vision of your world as your love would have it:
a world where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
a world where the riches of creation are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
a world where different races and cultures live in harmony and mutual respect;
a world where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love…
May it be so through our lives, in honor of those who have come before and those who will follow after us.
Amen.

– adapted from the UCC Prayers for Justice and Peace

 

Our Story: We Are in this Together

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay


Can you believe it? This weekend is Labor Day! Where has the summer gone? Where has 2020 gone? I imagine far fewer of us are “getting away” for Labor Day weekend, so perhaps you’ll have time to remember the unique origins of how and why the US decided to change Labor day from May 1st, ’International Worker Day, from the rest of the world, to a sleepy weekend at the end of the summer. 
 
As is so often with history, there is a political battle for who gets to tell the story. In fact, it often is HIS story (a white wealthy, male landowner) telling the story.  Far too often, history is  told by the winners, while the voices of the marginalized and the oppressed are hidden. We are wise to learn from these hidden histories, so as not to repeat it. 
 
Related to our stories, and the importance of hearing everyone’s perspectives about OUR stories, I want to share with you a beautiful quote that Nancy Taylor lifted up  in our bible study today. The context was that we were lamenting about how hard it is to connect with people, including beloved friends and family members, because we are so far apart on issues, (especially when our stories and the media perpetuate the belief that we are separate).  We were discussing what is at stake when we fail to remember that we are all in this together.  The quote is by Michael Meade, D.H.L., is a renowned storyteller, author, and scholar of mythology, anthropology, and psychology (follow the link or see text below). 
 
Last week in our McLaren discussion I challenged each one of us, as hard as it might be,  to seek to connect with someone with whom we are are far apart on issues, and seek to empathically connect with them. I look forward to our continued conversation about this!
 
May we be moved to go out to the margins and the edges of life, and in doing so, find each other. 
 
with love, Pastor Laurie 

“There’s an old Irish myth about how when the center falls apart, when there is no big unifying story that can be told in public so that everyone remembers, yes, we all are in this together, when that happens, when the center cannot hold, the old story says then it’s time for each person to go to the margins and the edges of life. Because the center when it’s missing does not completely disappear. Rather, the elements of the center are then found at the margins and edges of life. And so it becomes a time for each person to go to the edge that attracts them and at the same time causes them to be fearful.

And the old story says that if each person goes in the direction that is both attractive and fearful to them, they will find that at the edge of their life a thread, and if each person would then pick up that thread and begin to pull it back towards the center, then the unifying center can be remade from the weaving together of many individual threads of life. In the greater myth that serves life, not death, no one has to be heroic and do it all or claim that they are the only one who can do it. Each person is just responsible to find their thread and find a way to weave it back into life. And the key to this narrative of the great way is that no one can be excluded for any reason, not because of their age, or their origin, or their race, or their economic disposition. Because each person has a life thread that has vitality and meaning and creativity in it.

And the point isn’t to indulge in some kind of magical thinking that would say that no one is going to die on this troubled path that we all share at this point. And certainly, the point cannot be that we’re all going to go back to life and business as usual. The understanding of the bigger myth right now is the world as we knew it is already gone. The point now is to be inhabiting a bigger, unifying living myth in which the words that we are all in this together have genuine, heartfelt meaning. We are in a time of radical change throughout the world, where life and death are struggling on a daily basis. And that requires each of us to change and come out of the crisis as greater souls not smaller people.”

– Michael Meade

 
 

The Great Spiritual Migration Discussion

Sundays,  August 9th through Sunday, September 13th,   11:30 AM – 12:30 PM 

This Sunday after worship, the Spiritual Life Team will continue the discussion of  Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration. Our leader will be facilitating the discussion focusing on the theological migration, from belief in a violent God of domination to a non-violent God of liberation.
 
For those of you new to this discussion, the book describes a movement of progressive congregations and leaders. With favorable reviews from such as Richard Rohr, Joan Chittister and Diana Butler Bass, McLaren offers three propositions. He believes that among Christians and people of other faiths there are three migrations:

  1. there is a spiritual migration from reliance on a system of beliefs to developing a way of life (the way of love) 
  2. there is a theological migration from belief in a violent God of domination to a non-violent God of liberation 
  3. there is a missional migration from organized religion to organizing religion. (the way of love and justice) 

We are looking forward to a lively discussion! 
 
Prior to this Sunday, please read/review Brian McLaren’s book, The Great Spiritual Migration

 If you’d like to order a copy, please do HERE!

We look forward to sharing the journey together. 
 
Pastor Laurie  and the Spiritual Life team
Pastor Laurie  (421-2646)  revlauriemanning@aol.com

Zoom link:  https://zoom.us/j/716026467
Meeting ID: 716 026 467
Dial in by phone 1-669-900-9128

Pastor Laurie  and the Spiritual Life team
Pastor Laurie  (contact via office 510-531-8212; office@skylineucc.org  – email is best during shutdown)