Tuesday, February 7, 2017

4 Good Links: Toward Love of Neighbor, Humility, & Hope

Dr. William Cavanaugh spent two days with a bunch of Christian communities on campus last week, and the timing could not have been better. The immigration ban was yo-yo-ing its way through the media and our news feeds, I was two weeks into despairing of a pastor's ability to write a sermon before 2 AM and a last twitter check on the night before the day of one's preaching. As my friend Greg commented the day before the first event, "There is almost no one alive I would rather hear explain the world right now than William Cavanaugh." 

I live-streamed one of Cavanaugh's talks, The Politics of Humility, which I've embedded at the end of this post. The other links are resources I have come across since then, and which I think belong to the conversation, along with a brief word from me about the connection I see.

We need each other in this moment, and we need a new imagination, increasingly even to access each other. Thankfully, God in Christ gives us both. History may repeat itself, but it is silly to pretend any of us have lived this life before. I don't think, either, that Cavanaugh pretends to know exactly what to do next. And I think that not pretending is exactly the beginning of the new imagination to which Cavanaugh points. What do you say? It'll be more fun together. 

"The Displaced Person: Reading Flannery O'Connor in the Age of Islamophobia" 

A timely grappling with "the radical command to love our neighbor as ourselves, to be like the Good Samaritan who sets aside deeply engrained bigotry to minister to the needy." Grateful to my friend and local poet Rita Mae Reese for pointing me to this article.

How to Have a Difficult Conversation: 3 Practices

In his talk, Professor Cavanaugh observed that having a conflict is a moral achievement and that our social and political moment desperately needs more conflict. This article is a good start for Christians toward taking up Cavanaugh's challenge.

How the Family is Essential for Evangelism

Cavanaugh spoke about unplugging from the rage machine, which named an emotional need nearly every person with whom I've spoken in the last three weeks has also expressed. It's also a need that is hard to know how to manage responsibly. After all, ignorance is not really bliss. Rightly, we recognize that the ability to unplug (depending on how we understand the verb) often correlates to one's level of privilege. However, Cavanaugh's example of what constitutes unplugging for him - he and his family weekly share meals, games, and social outings with a family of Muslim refugees in their neighborhood, whose friendship was arranged through his church - makes clear that unplugging need not be synonymous with complacency, apathy, and/or passivity. His family's experience echoes this video's emphasis on the family as a "little church," which opens up new imaginations for Christian faithfulness.

"The Politics of Humility," a lecture given by Professor William Cavanaugh last Friday at Upper House, co-sponsored by Geneva, Pres House, InterVarsity, Badger Catholic, Upper House, and St. Francis House.

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