Every year on Good Friday, we read the Passion of Jesus Christ according to Saint John: two chapters of the Gospel from Jesus’ arrest in the garden to his last breath on the cross. This Lent, we are walking slowly through this heartbreaking, terrifying, and beautiful piece of the Gospel, taking one to four verses each weekday (using the Common English Bible (CEB)). We read the tiny section of the Passion, share a short reflection and a question to ponder and pray with. Then we end with the same prayer every day, the collect for mission by Bishop Charles Henry Brent found in the Book of Common Prayer. New videos go live every weekday at 6:30 am (eastern time).
If you don’t wish to follow the reflections as videos, you can download the text here and print it out at home to read each weekday of Lent.
In this series of our Sunday morning Adult Forum, we watched and then reflected on a series of talks by Bryan Stevenson, Robin DiAngelo, and Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo. You can view the videos and discussion prompts below.
Week 1: Bryan Stevenson We Need to Talk About Injustice
1) What did Stevenson say that you found surprising, confusing, or convicting?
2) Stevenson connects the mind and the heart. How do you think that connection allows us to feel hope in the midst of “dark and difficult things?” How does our faith inform this?
3) Havel: Hope — “An orientation of the spirit…a willingness to sometimes be in hopeless places and be a witness.” Tell a story about how God oriented your spirit in this way.
4) We cannot be fully human until “we pay attention to suffering, to poverty, to exclusion, to unfairness, to injustice.” What about these things lessens our humanity?
5) When Stevenson identifies the “TED Community,” we can substitute “the Church.” What can the Church learn from Bryan’s wisdom?
6) “Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.” How does this help us understand the concept of “dignity?”
Week 2: Robin DiAngelo Deconstructing White Privilege
1) DiAngelo draws a distinction between racism as “individual acts of discrimination and prejudice… and if you did those acts you were a bad person,” and racism as a “deeply embedded system” in American society, a “system of unequal power.” How do you see these two definitions operating in our society?
2) DiAngelo uses the example of women’s suffrage needing to be granted by men to explain unequal institutional power. What other examples can you think of?
3) DiAngelo: “I can live my whole life in segregation…and I could easily never have any consistent, ongoing, authentic relationships with people of color, and not one person who guided me ever conveyed that there was loss.” How does this reality impact your life?
4) “One of the most effective adaptations of racism since the Civil Rights era…is the Good/Bad binary” – that only bad people can be racist and if you’re a good person you can’t possibly be racist. How does this binary affect your interaction with racism?
5) Tell a story about the first time you realized that your race mattered for how you moved through the word. How old were you?
6) DiAngelo has made a lifelong commitment to do her very best to challenge the system of racism. How would your life change if you made a similar commitment?
Week 3: Priya Vulchi and Winona Guo What it Takes to Be Racially Literate
1) “We want us all to imagine the community as a place where we not only feel proud of our own backgrounds, but can also invest in others’ experiences as if they were our own.” Share a story when another person’s racial experience has changed the way you look at the world
2) “You’d think after 12 years somebody in or out of the classroom would have helped us understand – at a basic level at least – the society we live in.” How would our education system need to change to address this deficiency?
3) “The Heart Gap: an inability to understand each of our experiences, to fiercely and unapologetically be compassionate beyond lip service.” How does compassion open us up to receive the experience of others without judging?
4) “The Mind Gap: an inability to understand the larger, systemic ways in which racism operates.” How does understanding of racist systems help you challenge them?
5) “Without investing in an education that values both the stories and statistics, the people and the numbers, the interpersonal and the systemic, there will always be a piece missing.” What piece is missing for you when you consider how God might be calling you dismantle racism and work for equal justice?
6) “We need to all work together to create a new national community, a new shared culture of mutual suffering and celebration. We need to each begin by learning in our own local communities, bridging the gaps between our own hearts and minds to become racially literate.” Reflect on the concept of the “melting pot” and how it differs from the vision these two young speakers are putting forth.
The Players’ Tribune
Utah Jazz player Kyle Korver offers a powerful perspective of awakening to privilege as a white man in a sports league that is comprised overwhelmingly of black athletes. His distinction between guilt and responsibility is the most important thought in this article.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
Comedian and host of The Daily Show Trevor Noah’s memoir about growing up in Apartheid South Africa. His commentary on race from a South African context offers a counterpoint to the conversation about race in the United States. The book is compelling, poignant, and incredibly funny.
Living into God’s Dream by Catherine Meeks (editor)
This collection of essays is a wonderful entry point into the work of dismantling racism, challenging white supremacy, and building the Beloved Community in our churches and in the country.
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
The seminal work about mass incarceration, this book is an incredibly well-researched study on the effects of the War on Drugs on poor communities of color. Please read this book.
The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois
The seminal work of turn of the twentieth century essayist, journalist, and professor W.E.B. Du Bois, who writes in ardent, striking, beautiful, and indicting prose about the “Veil” that exists between races in the United States. His writing will at times reduce you to tears and make you wonder in revulsion at how little has changed in a hundred years.
What Truth Sounds Like by Michael Eric Dyson
An interesting book that’s hard to categorize: Dyson uses the lens of a meeting between James Baldwin and Robert F. Kennedy to discuss race, power, and truth-telling then and now.
The schedule for the adult Forum Hour is here! Winter and spring 2019 includes an exploration of Epiphany; discussions about the Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s Season of Racial Reconciliation; the Parables of Jesus; Sabbath; and more. All this happening in the Undercroft below the church on most Sundays at 9 a.m.
The schedule for the adult Forum Hour is here! Fall 2018 includes a Bible study about Bible study, the history of the Episcopal Church, and a slow Advent walk through the first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel. We’ll also hear from our teen pilgrims about their summer pilgrimage to Maine. All this happening in the Undercroft below the church on most Sundays at 9 a.m.
The schedule for the adult Forum Hour is here! Winter and spring 2018 includes a visit from Fr. Sonley Joseph from St. Luc’s School in Haiti; discussions about our lives of faith; the Book of Acts; Preparing to Become the Beloved Community; and more. All this happening in the Undercroft below the church on most Sundays at 9 a.m.
The schedule for the adult Forum Hour is here! Winter and spring 2017 includes a look at the concept of Religion, a study of the sacraments, a sweeping look at the story of scripture, and a missional conversation about how Christ’s love is marked on us. All this and more happening in the Undercroft below the church on most Sundays at 9 a.m.
The schedule for the adult Forum Hour is here! Fall 2016 includes a study on parables, a look at October’s Jewish High Holy Days, an overview of early church history, and Advent prayers. All this and more happening in the Undercroft below the church on most Sundays at 9 a.m.
Each week during the Bible Study, called “Genesis to Revelation,” we spend about an hour chatting about the chapters we’ve read. We’ll read about three chapters a day, which means we shall finish the entire Bible sometime around the beginning of 2017. Yep, we’re reading the entire thing — that’s why it’s called “Genesis to Revelation.” Now, we aren’t reading it in order because if we do we’ll all give up somewhere in the book of Numbers (that’s only four books in, by the way). If you’ve always been curious what’s in the Bible, this is an opportunity to dive in head first and swim from Genesis to Revelation.
The study meets Thursdays at 8:15am in the Undercroft.
Week of May 12-18
Thursday: Ecclesiastes 1-3
Friday: Ecclesiastes 4-6
Saturday: Ecclesiastes 7-9
Sunday: Ecclesiastes 10-12
Monday: Song of Songs 1-3
Tuesday: Song of Songs 4-6
Wednesday: Song of Songs 7-8