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Adult Spiritual Formation

PREVIOUS CLASSES & RESOURCES
Focusing on Race & Social Justice

Bible Study: Reading the Bible with Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley

Led by Jessica Groen

In this December 2020/January 2021, course we took a closer look at various passages of the Bible along with the interpretive scholarship of Rev. Dr. Esau McCaulley.   The two sources we’ll use are a publicly offered webinar course offered through Nashotah House Theological Seminary called "The Bible and Theology in Color” and McCaulley’s recently published book titled Reading While Black. Our session time was used to read and discuss Bible chapters together, discuss specific passages of his book, and view relevant selections from his course videos.   Participants interested in accessing the full series of lectures in McCaulley's Nashotah house course can use the link below to receive access to those.

Book Study: Stand your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God by The Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas

Led by Jessica Groen

 

In October/November 2020, we studied and discussed of a 2015 book by the Rev. Canon Kelly Brown Douglas.  The book explores the social and historical frameworks that have developed a stand-your-ground culture in United States.   As a theologian and a Black mother responding to the killing of Trayvon Martin, Douglas argues that ideas of American exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny have been harmful to Black Americans, especially because stand-your-ground culture receives a stamp of approval by mainstream religious groups.  Douglas highlights how the Black faith tradition provides purpose and hope for seeking God during a time of crisis. 

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Excerpts from The 1619 Project

Our discussion of August 18, 2019 issue of The New York Times Magazine called The 1619 Project.  This Project was created with the goal of re-examining the legacy of slavery in the United States and timed for the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Africans in Virginia.   

 

The living artists, writers, and scholars who contributed to this magazine issue and the broader project received the primary focus and place of honor as our course teachers.  We spent time to appreciate, in general, their broader life work, but also the courage and care they offered in wrestling with a particular topic or event of US Black history to make their individual contribution to the Project.

 

The course presentation, including links to further resources is available below, as well as link to The 1619 Project.

Power and Purpose of Protest

We examined the reasons for and history of protests and non-violent resistance, from an article from Anti-Defamation League. 

“Why Bring it Up?” Raising Race Conscious Children

This session was an introduction to a parenting resource: a website called Raising Race Conscious Children.  We discussed “Why Bring it Up? Pushing Back Against White Supremacy” in which a parent describes their process of using multiple daily interactions to help children start noticing how majority white culture is presented as the default culture.

"Slurs and Biased Language"

The article “Slurs and Biased Language” provides a list of open-ended questions that caregivers can use as discussion starters with children, and ideas of how anyone could respond when in the presence of slurs or biased language being used to target someone.

A Church of Readers

 

Whether it’s One-Book-One-Church, Discovery Book Discussions, or CATS (Church at the Train Station), the people of Flossmoor Community Church read a lot of books. If you’re looking for something to read, try one of these recently discussed titles:

•  Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

•  Benediction by Kent Haruf

•  The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers

•  The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma

•  CITIZEN: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

•  Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee

•  God, Improv, and the Art of Living by MaryAnn McKibben Dana

•  The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

•  Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

•  The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach about Jesus’ Final Days in Jerusalem by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan

•  Meeting in the Margins by Cynthia Trenshaw

•  Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

•  The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

•  Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

•  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

•  Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving

•  The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso

•  Pachinko by Min Jin Lee            

 

 A master list of all the books discussed with each book’s themes is available below.​

Favorite novels over the years have included:  

•  The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

•  Jayber Crow and Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry

•  The Known World by Edward P. Jones

•  Mr. Ives’ Christmas by Oscar Hijuelos

•  Samurai’s Garden by Gail Tsukiyama  

•  Wonder by R. J. Palacio.

In nonfiction, the group recommends Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup and everything by Barbara Brown Taylor.

The Discovery Book Club has met since 1995 and has had extended discussions of books that helped us learn about the Bible, our faith, and our faith in action. We've also met as a book club to discuss novels, memoirs, and nonfiction books that illuminate and help us understand issues that our church is exploring, supporting, and working to comprehend and interpret. We chose these books to give us a view into areas that we might not personally experience. We select titles that immerse us in the lives and experiences of those who represent areas we want to understand better.

 

Books with Extended Discussions:

Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving - race relations, self awareness

A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community by John Pavlovitz   - hospitality, church, authenticity, faith, doubt

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine - microaggressions, racism

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo - racism, self- awareness, what can we do to combat racism

Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans - Bible Study, lectio divina, interpretation, healing

 

One meeting book club discussions:

Becoming Nicole:The Transformation of An American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt - LGBTQ, transgender, empathy

Beartown by Fredrik Bachman - rape culture, accountability, greed, fear

This is How it Begins by Joan Dempsey - LGBTQ, respect, handling conflict, church and state separation

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa - redemption, fear, prejudice, leprosy

Hum if You Don't Know the Words by Bianca Marais - apartheid, hatred, tribalism, motherhood

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - Black Lives Matter, racism, gun control, socio-economic issues

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones - racism, incarceration, wrongful conviction, marriage, love, independence

Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teaching of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer 

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan 

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