Greetings from Church of Peace!
Our condolences to the family of Bonnie Giese. Bonnie passed away on Tuesday.
Don’t forget – we meet for this Sunday’s worship at Taylor Park for Outdoor Worship, followed by a picnic/pot luck lunch! Bring a dish to pass, along with lawn chairs. Sub sandwiches, water, plates and utensils will be provided. Friends of Taylor Park will sponsor a free swim from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., for members of Church of Peace.
On Tuesday, the Ladies of Peace has their outing to Neenah and Oshkosh; they’ll leave from church at 9 a.m. Contact Bonnie for questions or to RSVP: 922-6734 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be Bible Study next Tuesday.
September Messenger articles are due on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Aug. 26, there will be a Youth Trip to Fondy Sports Park at 6:00 p.m. More details will be upcoming.
The following is Jack’s Musing:
I recently finished a book titled, “The Bone Tree.” It is written by one of America’s great young writers, Greg Iles. The book is not for the faint of heart. It is an eight- hundred-page novel. That is not what disturbed me. I love reading a long novel and getting lost in story and characters. What made me queasy reading the Bone Tree is the subject matter, which is the deep-seated racism in the Southern states of our country and the on-going deep-seated racial tension present in America for hundreds of years now. Mr. Iles talks about prejudice and bigotry in a manner I understand. For example, I would love to see prejudice and bigotry abated. I would like to see the love and grace promised in the gospels and the book of Acts, where strangers, foreigners, and all kinds of human beings are reconciled to one another by love and grace alone. It began with Jesus and carried on with the clowns (the disciples) following him around the Levant (holy land).
So, I do not know if I recommend reading Iles’ book to you. If you are ready for a turbulent ride that will disturb you, wake you at midnight thinking and not letting go until dawn, then by all means read it. It is dark, unrelenting, passionate, at times confusing, beautifully written and unremittingly driven to its final conclusion. I loved it. Funny thing, in a recent New York Times column, one of my favorite writers, Nicholas Kristof, wrote about racial preferences. He said, that within a fifth of a second the human brain processes racial preference. And, the preference for our group is generally noted first. This is so for different races. However, when different races are well integrated it is less so. There is a test site that will help you determine your preferences and how skewed your preferences might be. The link is below. https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/takeatest.html
I visited some friends two years ago on the south side of Chicago and experienced at firsthand the ugliness of racism. The reason for the visit was a celebration of their son’s success. While there, someone started talking about “niggers”, “jigs” and “jungle bunnies.” The reason for this horrible language was an attempted mugging of the wife. In a moment, my friends had lumped an entire race of people into racial stereotypes. I protested. I was angry enough to take my bags and leave their home. Later, I tried to point out that it was an individual and not a race of people that had attempted robbing the wife. When I left, we were awkward with one another and the relationship is still not fully healed. But I simply cannot and will not tolerate racial slurs and the denigration of people not like me. I believe that family was expressing slurs that keep hatred and division alive. They are Bible-believing racists. Good news has not yet transformed them.
Since being your transitional interim pastor I have been amazed at the grace you have shown to take risks and entertain change. I compliment you for this.
Back to this book, The Bone Tree. If you do not want to spend a week reading it as I have, you may want to visit the public library and at least read parts of it. I recommend pages 737 through 758. This passage left me emotionally drained but convinced that it was the best reading I have done this year. In these pages, Iles describes the funeral of a Caucasian journalist that takes place in a black church and the responses of the congregation. I believe you will be as deeply moved by it as I was. It speaks of the action that we, as followers in the path of Jesus, are called to walk. Actually, it is not a Christian thing at all. It is something all sentient humans can and should be about. Healing human wounds in a diverse society can only be done when our hearts are involved. That is not for the faint of heart.
Maybe I’m naïve, but I believe with deep passion that every time we speak truth to power something positive changes in our world. When we take baby steps, we are learning to walk. I want to walk with my neighbor. Don’t you? Again, thanks for who you are and what you are becoming. Jack