A new year, when so many conversations seem cyclical, reviewing the repetitive silliness in our nation’s capital, the redundant articles and analyses in media, the […]
Here are five things worth paying attention to this week. These are designed to expose you to a perspective you may not normally come across in your daily lives.
1. Other ways of worship
In my congregation, summer is a time where worship service attendance tends to be down. People are on vacation or spending time with family and friends. As pastor, a lot of folks tell me, “So sorry we won’t be at church.” I think summer is a great time to explore other ways of worship. Do you sing together with your family when you’re spending time with them? Does taking a hike or being by the water bring you closer to God? Is alone time in the morning gathering your thoughts a space where you can see what God might be showing you? There are many ways to worship God, and while community is important, don’t forget that even when you’re not in a church building, you can still connect with the Holy.
2. Vacation Bible School
’Tis the season for Vacation Bible School. This coming week, several churches in my area will be coming together to help children “dig” into the Bible through music, lessons, drama and fellowship. Whether or not you are associated with a Vacation Bible School program, in what ways are you seeing to the spiritual formation of young folks in your congregation? Are you asking children what they’re learning in church and Sunday school? Pay attention to the ways children connect with God this week.
3. Tears and privilidge
For black and brown women of color, it takes a lot of courage to confront someone from the majority culture who is acting offensively. Doing so is not without its hidden struggles. This article in The Guardian discusses the tears of white women and how they’re often used as a weapon against women of color when they’re confronted with their inappropriate actions. One Arab woman tells the story of how her hair was frequently touched by a female coworker, even after she was asked to stop. After telling HR and her supervisor, the woman of color was deemed unfriendly, “threatening” to coworkers and asked to leave her position. This week, think of ways we can listen to each other before becoming defensive.
4. The Rachel Divide
Former civil rights activist Rachel Dolezal is the subject of this new documentary on Netflix. Dolezal served as president of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the NAACP until 2015, when it was revealed that she was Caucasian. This documentary attempts to get inside the mind of Dolezal, with many interviews, including her children, her closest former allies and Dolezal herself. The Rachel Divide could be accused of painting Dolezal in a sympathetic light; however, it’s made clear throughout the film how disturbed many people of color were/are at her attempts of cultural appropriation. This film does its best to present Rachel’s version of events, her opponents’ version of events and eventually lets the audience decide who is Rachel Dolezal.
5. Orange fluff
If you’re Midwestern, you know just how far reaching Jell-O can be. Growing up, I don’t think I ever attended a potluck that didn’t have some new Jell-O invention or a tried and true dessert that combined the sugar of the gelatin with some form of fat. This recipe is no exception. My favorite of all the recipes is the concoction of many names, Orange Fluff. This can be as fatty (whole milk cottage cheese, anyone?) or fat-free (by using fat-free whipped topping and cottage cheese) as you would like. If you choose small curd cottage cheese, a food processor is not necessary, unless of course you want to forget you’re eating cottage cheese.
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Church, Goshen, Indiana.
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