faith AND issues
In Faith and Issues, a discussion group led by The Rev’d Dr. Katrina Wagner, we explore how our faith informs our understanding of current issues and how these issues relate to our faith. All are welcome. Read and join the discussion! Meeting time: Saturdays at 9-10:30 am for now via Zoom; in normal times downstairs at St. Andrew's.
About Faith and Issues:
The idea around forming a reading and discussion group grew from some heartfelt exchanges during a few coffee hours. It was clear that in order to discuss and faithfully respond to many of the serious topics that surface daily in our world it would be useful and enjoyable to set aside some dedicated time to read and to share our thoughts. Everyone is welcome! Currently our group is comprised of a number of “regular” attendees as well as many others who attend when time permits and/or the topic is of particular interest. The process of choosing books has evolved easily, each one seeming to suggest where we’d next like to focus. Most recently, we have been wrestling with the challenges of the climate crisis and gathering helpful information on organizations and readings, particularly as these pertain to the well-being of life in New Hampshire.
May you know well the Peace of God that lives within you. — Katrina Wagner
Here are some of our recent readings:
• The Last Week — Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crosssan
• The First Christmas — Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crosssan
• Strangers in their Own Land — Arlie Hochschild
• Hillbilly Eulogy — J.D. Vance
• Acts of Faith — Eboo Patel
• Tattoos on the Heart — Gregory Boyle
• The Book of Joy — His Holiness the Dali Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu & Douglas Abrams
• Faith Works — Jim Wallis
• Climate Church, Climate World — Jim Antal
The First Christmas by Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan
Read with new insight the two very different birth stories in the Gospels of Mathew and of Luke. Consider each as an overture introducing the main themes that will follow in writer's story of the life and teachings of Jesus. Consider each as a parable, a teaching story with truths, not facts. Highly recommended by members of the Faith and Issues group.
Climate Church, Climate World - How People of Faith Must Work For Change by Jim Antal touched off a discussion of this most pressing issue of the world faces. It raised the question "What should we at St. Andrew's be doing?", a question which we raised at the parish meeting resulting in renewed attention to this issue by the vestry.
From our study we decided that at the forefront of our thinking should be "Are we being good stewards of God's creation?"
In 2018, the Faith and Issues group discussed the book Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, by Airlie Hochschild. The author, perplexed as to why the poor in a state like Louisiana would vote for right wing candidates, spent time over five years in Louisiana getting to know the people and observing how they experienced the political and economic scene. Louisiana is a major producer of plastic and other petrochemical products which have resulted in deadly pollution of air and water. Proposals for more plants are presented to these people as a “Do you want jobs?” or “Do you want a clean environment?” choice. This false dichotomy has given industry a free hand; regulations have been allowed to go unenforced. In this state which provides few social services people rely heavily on churches for their safety net. Many of these, mostly non-denominational, churches are caught up in culture war issues like abortion and provide no leadership on the broader social issues of economic and environmental justice.
The book doesn’t sound entertaining but it is. It is worth reading. Airlie Hochschild is featured in several YouTube videos which I recommend. The book left a lasting impression on me.