Last week as I walked through the Union Square subway station I saw the walls filled with post-it notes of encouraging messages left by our fellow New Yorkers. Seeing public displays of art like this reminds me of the reasons why I love this city. Whether it's in the face of terrorism, police shootings, hurricanes, or blizzards, New Yorkers know how to come together to promote justice and heal our neighbors like nowhere else.
We did our own wall of post-its at Forefront Brooklyn on the Sunday after the election. Jonathan asked us to write down what was holding us back right now and the vast majority of people wrote down words about fear. No matter who you voted for in this election, the fear and uncertainty you may have right now is a very real thing. It's incredibly important that we all remember to take care of ourselves when anxiety and emotions like this run high. This is the time to do something you love, to eat well, and care for your body. This is the time to allow yourself space to heal so that you'll be ready to stand for others when you are called.
hile post-it notes and Facebook posts can be a good outlet for healing, for sharing your feelings, and promoting love, the real work for justice starts right here in our local communities. I've been so encouraged by the leaders in our church who've already begun to find outlets for their feelings and beliefs through stepping into action and engaging in generous conversations in their local communities.
We're about to head into the season of Advent, a time to help usher peace into the world. As Christ followers we are called to stand for love of our enemies, for the lowly and the oppressed, to give voice to the voiceless, and to bring light wherever there is fear. Click the button below to find a list of resources for civic engagement at the local level. Keep reading for a list of resources we're gathering from people in our community who are connected to groups and ideas that encourage us all to get educated and to channel our feelings into grace-filled action.
So take care of yourself, yes, and then take action to usher in the reality you wish to see in the world. Do the work to learn more about people who have different views than you by reading books and listening to podcasts. Learn practical steps to engage in loving conversation with family and friends this holiday season. Join a small group and attend neighborhood meetings together to stand for the rights of all your neighbors. Our God can do infinite and unimaginable things, but only when we partner together.
Recommended Reading & Listening:
NPR put out an article suggesting we help bridge the political divide by reading a book that's "not for you." We love that idea. Here are just a few titles our staff is reading. We encourage you to pick up a book or listen to a podcast written by someone who believes differently than you and to learn more about the intersection between politics, the economy, racial justice, and faith in America.
Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
The American Bible by Stephen Prothero
The Civil War as a Theological Crisis By Mark A. Noll
This American Life podcast episodes 600, 601, and 602
Revisionist History podcast episode 9 - A Generous Orthodoxy
RESOURCES TO HELP YOU HAVE CONVERSATIONS OVER THE HOLIDAYS:
Ashley Putnam, a leader in our Brooklyn community who also works for the Mayor's office, is co-starting a group called "Ally Be Home for Christmas." Join them for a meeting in person or check out the many excellent resources they're sharing in their Facebook group, like this one.
Our friend, Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis put together a simple four question tool to help you start care-frontational conversation at the holiday table.
Check out our Six Words series (especially parts 4, 5 & 6) for sermons on why we believe in building just and generous conversations across the divide.
"4 Self-Care Resources for Days When the World is Terrible" by Miriam Zoila Perez
"How to Cope with Post-Election Stress" by Julie Beck
"Self-Care Tips for Those Who Are Terrified of Trump’s Presidency" by Karen Attiah