As our 4-part series called Masterpiece comes to an end our new series calls for us to utilize our new discoveries for the benefit of the greater good.
Getting along with each other is challenging at times. Hopefully, each of us left our study of the book I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) with a few ideas on how to cooperate in the midst of disagreement.
Between the intense levels of isolation brought on by the pandemic and the use of divisive tactics by candidates running for political office, the pressure to dismiss and disregard is greater than ever. Nevertheless, I’m hopeful that we can learn from Jesus how to cope while working for the common good.
September is traditionally filled with “back to school” themes and realities even though school systems adopted a variety of schedules over the past few years. School and books really are the “peas and carrots” of conventional wisdom.
For September our Book Club focus is on parables told by Jesus in the 13 chapter of the Gospel of Luke. Our study is informed and guided by the book Who Can We Be Together? authored by Candace Simpson with help from Nora Asedillo Cunningham, Ashley Ellis, and Andrea Reilly Rocha Soares.
Our book is written as a study guide and represents a response by its author and contributors to the purpose of an organization founded and run by women of the United Methodist Church. Over the past year this group voted to rename their organization as United Women in Faith. The vision of this group is “Turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world.”
But as Candace Simpson writes, “It’s not easy to build and sustain communities, especially when there are forces that drain us, exhaust us, and even push us to act uncharacteristically.” Scripture in general, and the parables shared by Jesus in particular, offer opportunities for each of us to respond to this challenge of building community.
The purpose of United Women in Faith is found in the opening pages of our study guide:
The organized unit of United Methodist Women shall be a community of women whose purpose is to know God and to experience freedom as whole persons through Jesus Christ; to develop a creative, supportive fellowship; and to expand concepts of mission through participation in the global ministries of the church.
If you prefer to avoid groups or live too far away, I encourage you to join us via Zoom for our Wednesday gatherings. Alternatively, you can call in by phone, be heard, and hear what others say by calling (929) 436-2866 — enter the meeting ID, 282 039 5568#.
We are a diverse group, delighted when new people join us. I hope that you will join in on our discussion.
You can contact our office with questions, by phone or simply type your question on our website’s homepage — FlintAsbury.org.
Candace Simpson. Who Can We Be Together? A Biblical Exploration of Luke 13. New York: United Methodist Women, 2022.
Sarah Stewart Holland and Beth A. Silvers. I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2019.