Sunday, May 21, 2017
by Rachel Lyons
Old St. Pat’s celebrates Pentecost as a central part of who we are and whose we are. We strive to be a mission-centered church, an environment where agents of change can thrive. We connect what happens on Sunday with our daily lives. In this Sunday’s Gospel from John, we hear about the Spirit that will dwell with the disciples (and with us) after Jesus is not physically present. This Advocate, this Holy Spirit of Truth, is with us always and finds us wherever we are. On Sunday, June 4th, we will certainly greet this Spirit as we celebrate Pentecost with our Christian neighbors in North Lawndale and experience the amazing hospitality and worship of their churches. We invite YOU to show up and allow yourself to witness the love of God pouring out and overflowing in west side churches. More details are on page 5 So plan to engage in Kinship – aka LOVE in ACTION – this Pentecost and sign up with your OSP family to worship at one of four churches in Lawndale.
One reason this witness of praying together is so powerful is that Sunday morning remains one of the most segregated times of the week. We say we are the Body of Christ, yet we remain separate by race and class and status. The deep roots of segregation and racism in our country keep us apart. But we also know that as the church we have a particular role in bringing people together and repairing this harm. A recent book by Michael Eric Dyson, “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” addresses race head-on and speaks to the trauma caused by white supremacy. Here’s an excerpt from a New York Times book review of Dyson’s work, including the reviewer’s experience of visiting a Baptist church with his own family:
One Sunday in 1984, my father did something unexpected, at least for a white man in Georgia. He drove us past the little rural church we usually attended and kept going 40 miles south, all the way to Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist — home parish of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., and an epicenter of the American civil rights movement.
Reading Michael Eric Dyson’s “Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America,” I was often reminded of that morning, when I was first exposed to the righteous anger, wry humor and unflinching honesty of a black pastor, determined to guide and teach his flock. While Dyson is best known as a writer and sociologist, he is also an ordained Baptist minister, and his new book draws both its impassioned style and its moral urgency from his years in the pulpit.
At a time when one video after another has forced us to acknowledge that unarmed African-Americans are regularly killed by the police, Dyson desperately wants his readers to confront the sources of that violence in our nation’s longstanding culture of white supremacy. But he also knows how many political arguments and sociological studies have fallen on deaf ears. And so rather than a treatise, “Tears We Cannot Stop” is a fiery sermon, and an unabashedly emotional, personal appeal. “What I need to say” to white America, Dyson writes, can only be said in “a plea, a cry, a sermon, from my heart to yours.”
The result is one of the most frank and searing discussions of race I have ever read. This is a book that will anger some readers, especially those who reject Dyson’s central premise: that if we want true racial equality in America, whites themselves must destroy the enduring myths of white supremacy. […] Dyson is all too familiar with the claims of innocence and the kneejerk defensiveness that will surely greet this book, and yet he sets out to conquer such denial not only with the difficult truth but also, astonishingly, with love. “Beloved,” he writes, in the voice of one ministering to the sick, “your white innocence is a burden to you, a burden to the nation, a burden to our progress. It is time to let it go, to let it die in the place of the black bodies it wills into nonbeing.” […] For again and again Dyson makes it clear that more than white guilt, he seeks action, and more than condemnation, he wants change. He wants readers to wake from their sleep of ignorance about “what it means to be black in America.”
We look forward to seeing you on Pentecost as we worship with our Christian family on the west side and take action towards undoing oppression and fostering kinship.
For the full book review by Patrick Phillips, visit https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/books/review/tears-we-cannot-stop-michael-eric-dyson.html