A Word from DS Teresa Welborn – 8/1/19

My husband Paul and our daughter Clare and I are attending a family camp that my husband grew up attending. Making our way north each summer, we have become skilled at passing the hours on long stretches of highway. Car games, child-friendly podcasts, and audio books help. And all along the way, God’s mercies are ever before me.

This trip, we listened to “A Wrinkle in Time” and there are nuggets of wisdom of which I need to be reminded. “You don’t have to understand things for them to be true”, says one of the characters. And at another point, “We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that counts.” Other “mercy signs” are less serious but just as touching. We found a new podcast called “Smash Boom Best” where two people debate which of two things is best, such as “Cats vs. Dogs” and “Pizza vs. Tacos.” Soon my daughter was adamant about us making our own version. One of us would moderate while the other two would try and persuade the moderator judge. We laughed so hard, Paul and I always losing to Clare who is good thinking on her feet. Driving through Kansas I was amazed at the wide open spaces. Fields that go on forever. Stretches of road that were unoccupied. The hymn “There’s a wideness in God’s mercy” kept coming back to me. 

Time apart often enables me to connect with God at a deeper level. And often it forces me to pay closer attention to the things I want to avoid. The last few days I’ve been thinking about the news. How terrible it is. How unbelievable it is. How most days I want to push it aside. How the news that I don’t want to hear involves real people living in places of violence and fear that I can’t begin to comprehend. It’s sobering to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. In the last few days it has led me to times of confession and deep sorrow. 

In the midst of all that is hard and painful, I am grateful for the many United Methodists I know who are raising their voice to speak out about injustice and the many who are raising their hands to help. At a time when our country’s president continues his overtly racist remarks, I am grateful for those who have courage to speak out about the sin of racism. As a white person, it can be difficult to confess my own racism. Along with many others, I continue to seek education. A great number of resources are being used in some of our churches. If your church is currently using a resource you’ve found helpful, let me know so we can share it. 

I’ve discovered a resource through conversation with a pastor friend I know here in Minnesota. She is using video interviews by African-American author Austin Channing Brown for our morning Bible study at family camp. The interviews lead to further conversation and engagement and can be found here http://austinchanning.com. Brown is the author of I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness, a book that confronts the white, middle-class and even the church’s participation in our current era of racial hostility. 

At camp we end each evening around the campfire with at time of song and prayer. Last night we sang “Jesu, Jesu” which sings, “Neighbors are rich and poor, neighbors are black and white, neighbors are near and far away.” This is the Christian message I was taught and that I believe in. I don’t recognize the Christian message that professes otherwise. 

Stay encouraged,

Teresa 

 

“What if we believed the fight for justice was worth it, regardless of whether or not we get to enjoy the benefits?” – Austin Channing Brown