“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
Since March of last year, the Presbytery has been engaging in the important work of anti-racism. We know that this is not a simple, short or straightforward journey, and yet we feel it is essential work for our time. As with many things in our lives these days, the plans we had for 2020 for larger Presbytery-wide opportunities for connection to this work needed shifting in response to the sudden global health pandemic. And yet, we see the need for this work more than ever. This pandemic has laid bare how white supremacy culture kills people of color, with our African American siblings dying at an estimated twice the rate of whites in the United States. Monday, we saw the horrific video from Minneaplis of the death of George Floyd, an African American man who gasped for breath as a police officer drove his knee into his neck while handcuffed. We wonder to ourselves, is this what God would have for us? We know in our hearts that we can be more than this as disciples of the risen Christ, but how do we take the next steps on a journey that feels fraught and pain-filled?
We would like to invite everyone in PSNE into a summer of reflection through a book study. Our primary text will be The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh who teaches social psychology at the NYU Stern School of Business. Below is a TED Talk from her introducing her book and the ideas in it. All are welcome to this book study, whether you are the leader or participant in one of the many ministries we share together. Information about this book study can be found on our website at this link and we ask that you fill out this short registration form. Our goal this summer is to ask this question:
As those who regard themselves as good people, how did we get here and how can we be made new?
The reading and learning schedule is on the PSNE website. Each week we will offer three ways to engage the text: a written blog, a video and a podcast. We know that there are many modalities of learning and abilities to connect, and so we want to make this as available as possible for everyone. There will be a few live sessions sprinkled throughout the summer.
We hope and pray you will share this opportunity widely in your congregation or ministry setting and that you will join us this summer as we deepen discipleship and connect our conversations.