Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of five columns written by Ron Byler, Mennonite Central Committee U.S. executive director, to mark 100 […]
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. “Living Undocumented”
This week Netflix released its new documentary series on living undocumented in the United States. The story line follows several folks’ journey with immigrating, trying to find work, raising a family and staying connected to people back home. Some stories have a happy ending; others do not. The tension of not knowing, living in fear and struggling with loss is palpable throughout this series. This is a must-watch.
2. Botham Jean and forgiveness
A little over a year ago, Botham Jean was a young black man sitting in his apartment eating a bowl of ice cream. Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer, walked into Jean’s apartment believing it was her own, thinking Jean was a burglar. Guyger shot and killed Jean, who was unarmed. Last week, Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Before being taken away, Jean’s brother Brandt Jean asked if he could hug Guyger. In this article, Anne Branigin reminds readers that Brandt Jean’s act was a personal one, not a political one. The act of one black person does not absolve all white folk or condone white supremacy. Forgiveness is beautiful but also messy. Branigin reminds us that projecting our needs onto the personal actions of others is unproductive and unhelpful.
3. When Grief Gets Physical
Recently I’ve been discovering the physical side of grief. Aches, pains, oversleeping, insomnia, all of this contributes to the side of grief that isn’t often talked about. It’s easy to write off these physical symptoms as “psychosomatic,” but the mind-body connection is strong and deserves attention. This article from Psychology Today explores when grief gets physical.
4. “Serving God, Serving All”
This year I started as campus pastor at Goshen (Indiana) College. The theme of campus ministries this year is “Serving God, Serving All.” Our chapels and other ministry activities are based on acts of service. How are you serving God, as Mennonite Church Canada once put it, across the street and around the world? What are ways you as an individual, as a group or as a congregation are living out Jesus’ call to serve others?
5. Mental health and the church
I’ve been trying to be more intentional about highlighting mental health on this blog, and this month I came across a United Church of Christ website based on mental health resources. Pastor Megan Snell writes a letter to the church on the subject of mental illness. She encourages congregations to preach about it, to have books in the library about it, stop using words like “crazy,” include “depression” and “anxiety” into prayers and liturgies, and stressing the importance of sharing our stories. You can find pastor Megan’s blog here.
Joanne Gallardo is pastor of faith formation at Berkey Avenue Mennonite Fellowship in Goshen, Indiana.
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