Our next book discussion is Colin Woodard’s book American Nations: A History of the
Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America. The book is an illuminating
history of North America's eleven rival cultural regions that explodes the red state-
blue state myth. North America was settled by people with distinct religious,
political, and ethnographic characteristics, creating regional cultures that have been
at odds with one another ever since. Subsequent immigrants didn't confront or
assimilate into an “American” or “Canadian” culture, but rather into one of the
eleven distinct regional ones that spread over the continent each staking out
mutually exclusive territory. These intranational differences have played a pivotal
role at every point in the continent's history, from the American Revolution and the
Civil War to the tumultuous sixties "blue county/red county" maps of recent presidential elections.
We will be reading and discussing Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild. The book focuses on the white middle class in “red” America who feel they have been left out of the American dream in the last several decades; the people who voted for Donald Trump.
Renowned sociologist Arlie Hochschild spends time in Louisiana bayou country—a stronghold of the conservative right, and gets to know people who strongly oppose many of the ideas she famously champions. Hochschild draws on her expert knowledge of the sociology of emotion to help us understand what it feels like to live in “red” America. Along the way she finds answers to one of the crucial questions of contemporary American politics: why do the people who would seem to benefit most from “liberal” government intervention abhor the very idea?
The Social Issues Forum continues its exploration of racial injustice with the study of The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander, a companion piece on racial injustice to Just Mercy, which we recently completed.
The Social Issues Forum Fall program, which will begin in mid-September, will focus on the issue of racial injustice in the criminal justice system. As we did for the Spring session, we will meet in small groups in people’s homes at different times to accommodate everyone’s schedules. What is new this Fall is that we are partnering with St. Paul’s Cathedral for this series. There will be four discussion groups, one of which will be led by Linda Sheridan, a member of St. Paul’s. Meetings will be in the facilitators’ homes with options of weekday mornings, weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons before the CCP worship service. Members of both churches are encouraged to join any of the four groups.
We will be reading “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer and author who has represented the poor, the oppressed, the imprisoned, and those with no hope. Stevenson tells stories of deep-seated and widespread injustice as well of instances of human compassion, understanding and justice that offer hope. The current plan is to cover the book in four sessions, with the option of continuing with a second book “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander, which focuses on the racial prejudice and injustice of our legal system.
So that we have some idea of interest, please email John Owen at jrowen18(at)gmail.com if you would like to participate, and indicate which of the three meeting times you prefer. There will be sign-up sheets available soon.
Paul Jordan will be leading a four-session examination of Not in God’s Name by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. Rabbi Sacks explores how the three Abrahamic based religions have used their faith to justify violence. He examines how humanity has coped over the ages with living with “others”. Sacks rejects the suggestion that religion itself is what causes violence, though he does believe that if it is to be solved theology must play a part. Sessions will be held at Paul’s home on either Friday or Saturday mornings or Wednesday evenings. The group is limited to 10 participants. Please contact John Owen (495-0710, or jrowen18(at)gmail.com) if you are interested and indicate which times work for you.
We've begun the Social Issues Forum, a study of issues which impact our lives and communities. The topic for the Spring 2016 series in April is end-of life issues focusing on Atul Gawande’s book Being Mortal. We will address issues such as: attitudes about aging in our culture, questions of increasing dependence and the need of assistance from others, what options would you consider when you can no longer take care of your basic needs, and how to have end-of life conversations with family members.
Last year, we at Christ Church helped support an Interfaith Worship Service focused on Gun Violence. This year we continue our efforts to elevate the level of dialogue around sensible gun control laws. We believe progress can only be made by bringing the values that guide our respective faiths into the discussion of what laws should control our firearms.
Recent police actions resulting in the deaths of Black Americans have caused a rising chorus of indignation and anger by tech-savvy, young Black youth and other people of color. The Black Lives Matter Movement in our country is asking us to become aware of how our privilege and power as White Americans plays into the daily oppression felt by people of color her in Vermont and across the country. In September, we began a study to dig deeper into BLM and CCP. We have indicated that we would like to learn more about ourselves and how we might intentionally address the issues that inextricably connect ourselves with the oppression expressed by the BLM. Here are some of the resources from our September 27th discussion.
What would it be like to be “known through” while engaged in prayer?
How important are words to prayer?
To whom are you addressing prayer?
How much of your personal prayer is “asking for something?”
How important to you is personal daily prayer? What about group prayer in church?
Could intercessory prayer be regarded as simply “seconding the motion?”
What would Body Prayer mean to you?
Click here for a calendar of CCP events.