Hello Dangerous Readers!
I’m feeling that we haven’t done a very good job of upholding our promise in this project. We meant to launch each month with a post about the coming month’s book that contains resources and questions to frame your reading. Clearly, that didn’t happen this month. Nor did we do much with the “Do” part of our mission with February’s book.
The best explanation I’ve got is that in late February a personal crisis collided with personal reserves depleted by physical illness and our political turmoil and upheaval–and I pretty much shut down and went on auto-pilot, doing mostly only what had to be done. That I was able to make that choice felt like just another example of white privilege in action, and I suppose it was. I suppose it’s progress of some sort that I can recognize it as that, but mostly it has felt like a failing to watch myself numb out and retreat from the world.
Still, resistance fatigue is really a thing. I’ve seen a lot of writing about how the work we have ahead of us to create justice for all Americans is like a marathon, not a sprint, and that we have to take care of ourselves if we want to be able to stay in this fight for the long haul. I much prefer a different metaphor I encountered recently: The idea that this work is not an individual race of any length, but a relay. As the Rev. Jeremy Smith puts it:
“Seeking justice is not as short as a sprint. Seeking justice is not as linear or individualistic as a marathon, dependent on this one race. Justice is a relay, building on other’s work, looking to set the best effort for the future, and running the NOW with gladness, effectiveness, and faithfulness until the baton is handed over.”
In the past month, I have not run my best race, but at least I’ve kept hold of the baton and have moved forward in the ways I’ve been able to, small as they are. (For me, that means I’ve been reading the March book and will finish it before the end of this month.) Maybe that’s been the case for some of you, too? If so, maybe a few pieces that have helped me also will help you.
I found solace this past week in “What If All I Want Is a Mediocre Life?” which poses this question: “What if I just offer the small gifts I have to the world and let that be enough?” and this one, too: “What if I embrace my limitations and stop railing against them. Make peace with who I am and what I need and honor your right to do the same.”
For me, part of that peace-making is accepting that I’ve got some wiring that makes the business of resisting challenging–because the business of just living is challenging. Jill Seeger Salahub of A Thousand Shades of Gray has just published “Activism for Introverts and Highly Sensitive People,” with suggestions for how those of us who are introverts can are for both ourselves and others (along with a list of links to other resources on the same topic).
Seeing the shifts and changes in my own understanding that have come from reading only two of our books so far this year, I’m trying on the idea that this project is worth doing even if it doesn’t live up to our wildest dreams for it. Maybe it’s enough just as it is, or maybe it will be in admitting our own individual limitations that we can create a space for something bigger than any one of us might make alone.
Ready to accept the baton?
So, what I’d like to do with this post is offer the baton to any of you who are reading along with us. I still haven’t done research on good resources to build our background knowledge of events and people referenced in The Girl with the Tangerine Scarf. If any of you know of any, please share links in the comments to this post. If you’ve got ideas for good discussion questions to get us started, please share those, too.
I’m finding my way back into the fray of the world, but I could sure use a hand–your hand. And heart and mind. On Friday, we’ll launch our discussion of our March title. I hope you’ll join us and share anything that will help all of us move forward together.
Photo from Hacking Christianity