I Corinthians 12:26 – If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
Years ago, I was helping a church craft a mission statement. We worked hard and got it down to something like this: “Open Hands, Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors”. We were having an all church meeting to discuss the proposal when one of the more outspoken members said “I have a problem with this!” We asked what the problem was, and it turned out he was uncomfortable with the idea of open doors. And then one of the old folks of the church turned to him and said, “Just who do you want to keep out?”
I’ve been chewing over all that’s been happening and wondering how we could examine what we’re seeing and hearing without getting into nasty, friendship-ending arguments. I’m wondering if one path might not be in reading stories together. Here’s part of why I’m suggesting that:
Have you ever seen or read Gone With The Wind? It tells us things that just aren’t true. GWTW tries to glorify an armed rebellion against the United States, and moreover attempts to suggest that slavery was pretty good for the slaves. But it’s a good read and a classic movie, so folks still watch it and absorb that picture of the world. GWTW is a powerful, though false, story. What about some stories which tell truth from the Black perspective?
What would happen if we read some books written by Black people, written about the Black experience? Would they give us some insight into what’s going on in our world? Would they give us a way to talk, without getting into arguments? I hope so.
Here’s what I’m suggesting: let’s all read a book. And then let’s talk about what we read, about the ways life in that book differs from our lives. Let’s talk together about the problems the people in the book experience. And we’ll see what we can learn from that.
The book I’m suggesting is Blanche on the Lam, by Barbara Neely. It’s available on Kindle (free, if you have Kindle Unlimited, $7 if you don’t), and at Amazon paperback for $14 ($12 at Alibris.com). It’s a murder mystery, and a pretty good one, mostly set in North Carolina.
We’ll talk about this at next Wednesday’s Tea With the Pastor, so if you have feedback, bring it there or send me an email.