A book by Prof. Frederica Harris Thompsett, of the Episcopal Divinity School, We Are Theologians, asserts that Christians are fully capable of engaging in the quest to understand HOW God relates to humanity, including the question of what "The Atonement" means. The Rev. Katharine C. Evans leads the Grace Discussion Group as we listen to some of the Christian Church's historical reflections on this topic and work to articulate our own.
Rector Regina Walton summarized key points from our four week series "Addressing Hatred and Violence: perspectives and Hopes of the Abrahamic Faiths". Regina noted that Rabbi Moshe was incorporating a universal Abrahamic viewpoint when he observed "if we can break it, we can fix it". Regina suggested Karen Armstrong's Fields of Blood as a worthwhile read. A recent Pew Foundation Study found that New Hampshire and Massachusetts have the fewest adults, about 33%, who are strongly identified with religion...and recent trends point toward more states becoming more like our two states...that is, with fewer citizens strongly identified with organized religion. On Sunday, and throughout the series, the question arose several times: "is religion a major cause of violence, or are nationalism/economics/politics major causes, with religion an excuse?" "Would a 'closet Republican' feel comfortable at Grace Church?" Rev. Walton asked.
To Regina's question "what are we going to do beyond just talk about this problem?" there were many spirited replies: "continue to learn", "stay in relationship", "remember to live out our baptismal vows", "lovingly call someone out who is acting mean-spirited", "stand with a person in a head scarf", "act so that everyone is in my tribe", "remember we are all children of (the same) God", "be open to my own (alienated) brother", "realize my vision and my perspective are limited", "try to become aware of my own biases", "try to enter into other worlds/worldviews (refugees, the incarcerated, try to understand the New Jim Crow perspectives)", "make personal contact with new acquaintances", "ratchet up evangelism by helping others to see the good-feeling we have toward others and toward each other", "be an active defender of goodness", "pass on to the Diocese, our suggestions for our own behaviors".