In September we had a shared Deliberative Dialogue with the good people at Calvary Lutheran Church and their pastor, Rev. Daryl Emowrey. Together on Zoom we talked about the very real political divide in our nation that bleeds into our everyday lives, changing the way we interact with friends, family, and neighbors. In our discussion, we acknowledged that what we need more of is respectful, meaningful conversation, not more polarized positional-ism.
In light of that yearning to continue to talk about what values we hold in common, how our faith informs our witness in the political sphere, and what good we can do together, we are launching a book study of Rev. Dr. William B. Kincaid’s latest book, Letters to the Church: Encouragement and Engagement for the 2020 Election.
Rev. Dr. Kincaid writes about the unique dissonance we feel in this time. “We are left to question, ‘Is the world suddenly more chaotic and brutal than it used to be, or is this the way the world always is and we are just now discovering that?’ The question stops us in our tracks and, more often than not, we as individuals and as the church, withdraw to silence, confusion, and powerlessness.”
We, individually, as a congregation, and nationally, have been asking the same question and facing the same silence. But in the Gospels we understand that we are called not to run from our neighbor or our enemy (read: those we disagree with), but engage with them and find common ground on which to build a better world.
In light of that work, Kincaid asks, “What difference will your faith make in the way you think about and participate in the 2020 presidential election?”
Our job is not to identify a singular Christian understanding about civic engagement that we will forcibly apply to all Christians, but to ask ourselves to honestly explore, express, and discuss our own sense of Christian calling when engaging in the political space. We aren’t looking to create a Republican or Democratic church, a Socialist or Capitalist church, but a church full of people in relationship through Christ, who share a commitment to let that relationship help inform their civic lives.
Kincaid writes, “There are many red churches and a few blue ones, but most churches are purple. Most congregations include a rich diversity of views and a range of commitments that enrich the whole.” He adds, “Purple churches are well positioned to model discerning discussions on divisive topics, all the while sharing life together in worship, study, and service.”
So I invite you to read with me, to meet with me, and to discuss with me the values this book tries to help us uncover. Starting on Thursday, October 8, and running for 5 weeks, you’re invited to engage with this book study via Zoom. Also invited are the members of Calvary Lutheran Church, with whom we began this dialogue, and who, like our own congregation’s participants, expressed an earnest desire to continue the conversation.
Below I’ve posted the dates of these meetings, as well as the Zoom link; it will be the same for each meeting. Also, I’ve listed the places you can purchase the book.
If you would like to participate and cannot afford to purchase a book at this time, please reach out to me. No one will be excluded from this conversation. Thank you for bringing your voice and your honesty to our work as a congregation. When we discern together, we bless one another.
On Zoom here: http://bit.ly/LTTCBookStudyZoom
Buy the book: http://bit.ly/LTTCKincaid