Hi, everyone! My summer (into fall!) reading list includes a lot of "required reading" this year, from the Bishop, the NECoRR, and in my work toward full membership in the Order of Deacon. My stack of "books to read" books is a lot taller than this, but here are a few required reads along with two that I am looking forward to reading for my own growth.
The Color of the Law:
This book is chosen by the New England Conference Commission on Religion and Race, of which I am a member. Richard Rothstein, a well-respected authority on housing policy, takes a deep dive into the ways that decades of local, state, and federal policies have had the effect of segregating our citizens by race, resulting in discriminatory patterns of housing, education, employment, etc., that continue to this day.
Methodists and the Crucible of Race:
I am reading this book (currently) as a part of the work for my Fruitfulness Project for full membership in the Order of Deacon. In it, Peter C. Murray contributes to the history of American Christianity and the Civil Rights movement by examining how the Methodist Church (called the United Methodist Church after 1968) dealt with racial conflict. He traces American Methodist history from when White Methodists literally pushed African Americans Methodists out of their churches to form Black Methodist denominations; to the schism over slavery that established separate Northern and Southern denominations in the 1800s; through the period of reconciliation and compromise to unify Northern and Southern Methodists, as Southern Methodists demanded (and got) a raciallly segregated church. The resultant Jim Crow church formalized and codified humiliation for African American Methodists and embarrassed their White allies within the church for more than 30 years, until the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision awakened many White Methodists from their complacent belief that the church could conform to the norms of the South without consequences among its national membership. Eventually, segregationist policy was abolished, again with significant costs to African American Methodists.
Faith After Doubt:
This book is Bishop Devadhar's recommended book for 2021. I am currently reading this, and its themes are quite familiar in my ministry at Main Street UMC and in the wider community.
Edited from Amazon: Using his own story and the stories of a diverse group of struggling believers, Brian D. McLaren, a former pastor and now an author, speaker, and activist shows how old assumptions are being challenged in nearly every area of human life, not just theology and spirituality. He proposes a four-stage model of faith development in which questions and doubt are not the enemy of faith, but rather a portal to a more mature and fruitful kind of faith. The four stages―Simplicity, Complexity, Perplexity, and Harmony―offer a path forward that can help sincere and thoughtful people leave behind unnecessary baggage and intensify their commitment to what matters most.
I See Satan Fall Like Lightning:
I have long been interested in Rene Girard's approach to atonement theology. I'm looking forward to this, though it'll be a dense, academic read.
Edited from Amazon: An anthropologist, Girard holds up the gospels as mirrors that reflect our broken humanity and reveal the new reality that can make us whole. Like Simone Weil, Girard looks at the Bible as a map of human behavior, and sees Jesus Christ as its compass, pointing us in the right direction regardless of where we start. The title echoes Jesus' words (Luke 10:18): I saw Satan falling like lightning from heaven. Girard persuades the reader that even as our world grows increasingly violent, the power of the Christ is so great that the evils of scapegoating and sacrifice are being defeated even now. A new community, God's nonviolent kingdom, is being realized.
I have had this on my shelf for years. As an admirer of Sr. Joan Chittister, I look forward to picking this up, especially after such a difficult year.
Edited from Amazon, as I've not yet read it: Everyone longs to be happy, yet many wrongly believe that happiness comes from having enough money, fame, personal comfort, worldly success, or even dumb luck. Happiness all too often seems to be an elusive, arbitrary thing -- something that is always just out of reach. Joan Chittister sees happiness differently -- as a personal quality to be learned, mastered, and fearlessly wielded. In Happiness she embarks on a "great happiness dig" through sociology, biology, neurology, psychology, philosophy, history, and world religions to develop "an archaeology of happiness." Sifting through the wisdom of the ages, Chittister offers inspiring insights that will help seekers everywhere cultivate true and lasting happiness within.
The Church is OPEN!!!
We welcome you to worship with us in the sanctuary whenever you feel comfortable joining us. We continue to wear masks, physical distance and filter the air to mitigate the risk of indoor gatherings.
You can just show up on Sunday morning if you like (or register in advance if you prefer).
If you have any questions or need assistance in registering, please contact the main office at (603) 882-3361 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The family has requested that the Celebration of Life Service be postponed until they have had time to prepare and feel ready to make arrangements.
Upcoming Missions Project: NSKS School Supplies
It's a great time to purchase school supplies for the Nashua Soup Kitchen's Backpack Drive!
Backpack donations (see link below) can be dropped off at 2 Quincy Street; Monday, August 2nd-Friday, August 6th between 9 am - 4 pm. Please pull into the soup kitchen parking lot. Donations can be brought to door #2. They will be happy to unload for you. If you have a large drop off and would like to schedule your delivery, please email email@example.com or you can leave them in the lobby at the church and the Missions Team will deliver them. Church office hours are Monday - Thursday 9am-1pm.
Please use the following link for a complete list of needed school supplies:
It's time for another Vacation Bible School with Main Street United Methodist Church! This year's VBS Care Package theme is Compassion Camp: Changing the World with Lovingkindness! With the VBS Care Package, families may complete the activities in their own time. The VBS Team will distribute the care packages on Sunday, August 15th. We look forward to sharing another meaningful and memorable week with your children!
Looking for creative musicians, joyful singers, playful poetry readers...we are once more inviting the congregation to participate! This year, summer music will be virtual, so we will be using pre-recorded videos. If you are interested in singing, playing an instrument, or reading poetry, email Emily Adamsat firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to contact the office if you will be attending. We don't want you to miss out on your share of delicious blueberry pancakes and other goodies!
Take MSUMC out to the ballgame!!! Friday, August 6th is the date! If this is something you would like to be a part of, please contact the main office, email@example.com , so that we have you on our ticket list. Our numbers are growing and now tickets have been discounted to $5/each!! Don't miss out, this is going to be a spectacular nightof fun, fellowship and fireworks!!
Pastor's Sabbath Days: Pastor Kelly: Tuesday Pastor Kristy: Friday
Days to Reach Pastors Pastor Kelly: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Pastor Kristy: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Mainstreet United Methodist Church · PO Box 1517 · Nashua, NH 03061-1517 · USA