A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Episode 16: Name Tags, The Church Website & DO WE NEED A HERO?

June 17, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 16
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 16: Name Tags, The Church Website & DO WE NEED A HERO?
Show Notes Transcript

Questions for the Week:

  • What are your thoughts on using name tags at church? I know that it is meant to make it easier for visitors feel like they can talk to members, but I'm not sure how I feel about them. 
  • My church is a bit behind the times in terms of technology and communications. We have a Facebook page and a barebones website. How do we increase our social media presence, particularly with limited resources?

Guest:
David LaMotte, Author, Singer & Songwriter
https://www.davidlamotte.com/ 

Guest Question:

  • I see people in my community and my church who are troubled by various injustices that we see in the world. But I feel like they're also all waiting for someone to come along who has that "special" gift to get changes started and get things moving, and then they'll do something. Am I the only one observing this? And is this the correct approach? Further, I'm a young person who is constantly told to "wait" until I have my skills and my life figured out to participate in any cause for justice. But I don't want to wait. Am I just being impatient?

Resource Roundup: Juneteenth

00:03 – Simon Doong

Hello, and welcome to a matter of faith of presby podcast, the podcast where we respond to your questions and comments on issues of faith, social justice, and church life. Don't be afraid to write in and ask your question. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us. And it just might be a matter of faith,

 

00:21 – Lee Catoe

Whether it be faith in God, faith and others or faith in yourself. We are brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unfound, the interactive journal on Christian social justice for the Presbyterian Church USA. I am your host, Lee Catoe.

 

00:39 - Simon Doong

And I'm your host Simon Doong.

 

00:41 - Lee Catoe

Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions. 

 

00:45 - Simon Doong

Well, hello, everyone today and Hello, Lee. How are you doing?

 

00:48 - Lee Catoe

Good Simon, how are you doing?

 

00:51 – Simon Doong

All right, you know, it is sunny. It is not too hot. And I will take it.

 

01:01 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, it's not too too hot here. It's been raining all night, and pretty much all day. So. But I'm really grateful for that because of the pollen allergies have been really bad this year. And I'm not the only person I don't think I think they're just they're just terrible this year. Yeah, I felt bad. I'm glad the rain has come to wash it away.

 

01:21 – Simon Doong

Yep. I've been feeling that as well. And I'm grateful for a little respite because of the rain.

 

01:27 – Lee Catoe

Indeed. Indeed. Yeah. It's been. It's been a good week, though. Good. Been a good week.

 

01:34 – Simon Doong

Good. Well, that's good to know. And speaking of things that, you know, let's get into the first question for today. So the first question reads, “What are your thoughts on using name tags? at church? I know that it is meant to make it easier for visitors to feel like they can talk to members. But I'm not sure how I feel about them.” Lee, how do you feel about using name tags in church?

 

01:59 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I think for me, I think they can be good and not so good. I am I am personally, I like not named no name tags, because it then kind of forces you to actually, you know, interact or to kind of ask someone their name, which I think is also very, it could also just be like a great thing to kind of make a habit of like asking someone their name. and inviting them to just Yeah, tell them who Tell, tell them who you are. And, and I think it's just a way to just begin just yeah, conversation and relationship. And I think name tags kind of make that too easy. But also get that it's it's accessible. And but at the same time, I remember once having to wear a name tag and a band, and forgetting that I had my name tag on. And I went to the grocery store. And this whole time I was there, I had this name tag on. And I didn't know it. And so I was shopping and getting all my stuff. And when I went to the checkout, and when I went to the checkout station, at the end the grosser the person was just like oh, thank you, Lee, that was Have a nice day. And I remember I felt a multitude of things, I felt very strange that I had this name tag on the entire time. And then that someone I didn't know knew my name. But I also felt like, Oh, that's nice. Like, you just saw my name and said have a guy's day and named me. And that was very nice. But I also know that people can get very far like people can get very, like passionate about about name tags, like it's like, almost like, and we want to use them to be inclusive and for people to not always have to, to make an effort to be like, I've seen name tags and include pronouns, which I think is awesome. But also know that people can be a little too much, if that makes sense. It's like if you don't wear a name tag, you're kind of judged. And I don't know if I like that. That's more exclusive. So I'm kind of on the fence about I think if we're if we're using them in ways that are inclusive, and on there, we put our pronouns because we want to be affirming and we want to to really be welcoming towards people on all spectrums of all all places in the gender spectrum. I think that's a good way to use them. But yeah, I'm on the fence Some days I like it and some days I don't I don't know about you, Simon.

 

04:59 – Simon Doong

I agree. about using them for inclusivity. And I think that's really important. I do think that they can also be helpful for folks who have trouble remembering people's names and putting names to faces, I do think that they serve a purpose for that. But I'm also on the fence kind of like you Lee with regard to walking in if I am someone who does not have a name tag, and a lot of other people do that does feel a little strange, that can feel a little off putting. And it's, it's in the name tag is meant to make people feel welcome. But if I walk in and don't have a name tag, it's just further making it very apparent who is a member and who is not, which it's supposed to help encourage people to become members. So because they get to know, folks, but it can have a, it can have unintended consequences as well, I think. And I think that really just depends on the person who's walking in who is not a member, and may be new to that congregation or to that space. I also think that I'll just say this for myself, I am terrible at remembering to put my name tag on when I go places. So it's another thing that I have to remember, as part of the Oh, this is part of the the Sunday morning church outfit church dress code to give a call back to one of our previous episodes, and I almost never remembered the name tag, even though it's at the church, and I don't have to do is walk over and pick it up. So I think that it really depends on the way that it's used. And the way that it is intended to be used. I do like when there are the the name tags, and that are blank, and people can just write it and stick it on themselves. So that way everyone could have a name tag if they wanted it. And then if you just choose not to that's fine. As opposed to members only getting a name tag, I think that that's a middle ground where people have the option to try to identify themselves in the ways that they would prefer if they want to do that. And if they choose not to that's okay. So, name tags. You know, it's an interesting conversation, especially in the age we're in now with virtual worship, because people may be joining various church communities to resume and the way that you put your zoom name as well, it's a lot easier because everyone's been doing it. So in some ways, name tags are already a part of the the the newer ways that people are worshiping together. So maybe they're not as old fashioned as as I'm making them out to be either.

 

07:44 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I wonder if name tags make it easier for people to, to kind of not make the effort to remember somebody's name, if that makes sense. Like, does having name tags really kind of just make the naming process easier? I guess I do think and fake names have big significance. Like people in people in the Bible, their names always mean something. But they're always like, named in the Bible, like somebody's name somebody or there are people without names that we could also use our imagination as to what their names might be. But I also think like being named by someone else, someone else saying your name, or someone else, signing your name, or someone else writing your name, however, we kind of make names known to one another. And for one another. I do wonder if it aids and the fact that up, it's just there. And now we don't have to make an effort and to remember that. So I wonder about that too. Like the intentionality behind it. Are we just trying to make it, you know, naming people kind of more accessible in a way that's like, less intentional. So I wonder about that too, because I do think the naming process is a part of our faith. And then that like, are we making like that process of naming easier when it shouldn't be made easier? If that made any sense? that don't make sense.

 

09:32 – Simon Doong

Did you just make name tags a theological issue? Lee?

 

09:35 – Lee Catoe

Yes, of course. 

 

09:38 - Simon Doong

Do you mean to tell me that name tags are a matter of faith?

 

09:43 – Lee Catoe

Yes, they are a matter of fate. Indeed, they are. And and we can also talk about how wasteful they can be, but how unsustainable they can be. But I've often wondered if we are just kind of perpetuating this idea. Because it is hard for me as well to, to not remember someone's name, but I think it would be easier. Instead of a me just like approaching the same person with a name tag, it doesn't matter how many people with a name tie, I can meet you over and over again. But I have to get to know you, I have to like understand like, where you're where you're from, like what your context is like, there has to be something in my mind to trigger for me to remember who you are. But that that takes relationship building, or that takes like a moment of like, yeah, a moment of interaction, to truly like, take your name in as to what that means. And sometimes name tags can just make it like a piece of paper, or a name as just writing. But for me, names are, are a lot deeper. And a lot of that has to do with fate. Names weren't just names in the Bible. And if you were named, or if someone knew your name, like a lot of people knew who Jesus was a lot of people knew this, like disciples are followers of Jesus. So yeah, it's definitely theological, I think. But I don't know if people think about that. They might. I don't know.

 

11:18 – Simon Doong

Well, I think that's something for folks to take away from this, this question in this discussion. What does your name mean to you? How would you want to express that when you walk into your congregation are our place of worship? And how do you want to be identified? And how do you think others want to be identified? And how can name tags best facilitate that for both inclusion and accessibility? 

 

11:45 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, well, I think we, we covered names. So we received another question this week. And this an assignment this one is about social media. So we may get, there's no telling where this is gonna go. But, uh, so the question says, “My Church is a bit behind the times in terms of technology and communications.” They are not alone. That's the first thing. They're not alone that the question continues, “We have a Facebook page and a bare bones website. Also, you're not alone? How do we increase our social media presence? Particularly with limited resources?” Simon, do you have experience in this?

 

12:33 – Simon Doong

Yeah, well, I don't want to pretend to be a social media guru. But I do use social media, for work and somewhat for personal reasons. And as you said, Lee, this, this church is not alone there. I'm just gonna be honest, there are so many bad church websites. And when I say bad, I don't mean they look bad. They may look bad, too. But like, they're, they're not easy to navigate. The user functionality isn't really there, the way that information is, is displayed, and communicated on each page is hard to find. Colors are hard to read, make things hard to read. Some of them are great as a browser, but they're not good if you try to find a website on your phone. So and especially with limited resources, I think the biggest thing, one recommendation I would have is look at another churches website that you really like and maybe reach out and ask them how they did that. Who did they, maybe they contracted with someone are paid someone to do it. And you may not be able to pay what that congregation pay. But you may be able to find something that is better than what you have for the cost that you're willing that you're willing to pay. It also helps if you have someone in the congregation who is interested in these things, that does not mean tap on all the young people to do your communications and social media. But if there are people who have passion and interest in doing this, they might be able to help. And with regards to Facebook pages, Facebook pages are great for putting out simple messages such as this is the time for worship this week. Here's the guest preacher. This is the topic. Here's the scripture verse for the lectionary for this week, things like that the post doesn't need to be particularly long, you could put a nice graphic every now and then people usually really like graphics on Facebook. And if you're branching out to other media, like Instagram, people really like graphics. So I think doing a couple of those will help just increase the overall look and interest that people might have. But do you think Lee

 

14:44 – Lee Catoe

I do agree with Simon and that not all young people are social media? People? Not all young people are technology people. So yeah, I want to echo that timestamp. But I do think that often times we make things harder than they need to be. And we think we have to have this immaculate website, we think we have to have like all these people on on Facebook and all these kinds of things. And I always tell people, so this is the type of work that I do a lot I have in my other life while I still do this, sometimes I did design websites, and I did I did manage social media accounts for churches and for organizations. And I always, always started off telling people that, you know, what is the reason behind this, like, a website and a Facebook page isn't going to necessarily increase your membership, it's not going to, to kind of Yeah, basically increase the people that are coming to your church, which I hear a lot like, Oh, we need to be on social media, we need to do this, we need to do that. Because we can get our word out. And then more people will come and all this kind of stuff. And I try to reorient people and say like, you know, why are we using Facebook or a website? Is it to, to bring people in? Or is it to show people what we're doing, you know, for the kingdom of God and, and what and what we stand for and what our communities are doing, and kind of using these platforms to kind of show that we are bringing about what we think the kingdom of God is on the earth. And so I think it is a reorientation, so I always ask churches to kind of think about that, but the reasoning behind it. But I think the main thing I always tell people is to keep it simple. I mean, you know, your capacity, if you're limited resources, making a simple website, it doesn't need to be hard. Like, it doesn't need to be elaborate, there are templates out there, there are ways to just make it easier to use week, I'm not going to tell you a specific, specific hosting thing to us, because we're not sponsored by anything. But I do think there are many things out there that makes it so much easier to do this. But I would definitely have the conversation as to why I do think churches need websites to be honest about who they are. Because there are people out there looking for communities, there are people out there who are moving and are wondering what communities and churches are out there. But I do think a website can give the impression. That's just the world we live in. But luckily now aesthetically simple, as better, minimal is better, but also the honesty behind it. And I say that we are in the month of, of pride. And I've read so many church websites where they say they're welcoming and affirming and all this kind of thing. But in reality, in some ways the churches not so I think, before a message is put out there before anything is put out to the public or are on the internet, have a really deep discussion about who you are as a church, because people are looking for places and what you put out there. That is what they're going to believe at least at the start and have an expectation. So I think being honest about where our churches as well, yeah, because I think that goes a long way. 

 

18:30 – Simon Doong

I really appreciate that you mentioned simplicity and honesty. And I'm going to add one more technical bit of advice for folks, which is that make sure more than one person has the login information and knows how to actually access and use whatever platform or tools that you're using to manage your website or your Facebook page. Because more than one person being able to do that is really helpful. You don't want things to get slowed down, because only one person has it. And they're not around or they're not available. And so just keep that in mind. And with regards to being honest. Absolutely. Think about how the way that you're portraying yourself out on the internet reflects who you are as a congregation. I think that's beautiful Lee and really well said.

 

19:23 – Lee Catoe

And also just to add one more thing, and I think I said this as I was responding to this, but like I just want to reiterate that Facebook, social media is not going to bring people into your church that is like it might virtually and it might bring it might intrigue people to get there but that should never kind of be the like Facebook and social media is not going to be the savior for the church. I think what people put on social media is not always when it gets out and we also have to talk about that. eruption that's within social media, even in a website hosting Domain Services, all these kinds of things technology, we also have to have that conversation about equity within those spaces. It's like, I never tell people or churches to put a lot of money into Facebook or social media, it is an, it is almost a necessity now because of the world we live in, but also just want to reiterate that that is not going to be the savior, because it is in what in and of itself, it is corrupt. And it is not equitable. And it is not something we should be putting that on, that this is going to save our church or just because we have a website or social media that's going to make our church better. And people are going to come flocking here, the work that that has, if you want that to happen, that has a whole nother conversation about reordering. And the idea of the church is that we're, we're not consuming which we don't necessarily want people to come in, but how can we go out and meet people where they're at. And I think that is how social media can also be utilized is that, you know, if there are people out there, who are lonely and isolated, and have nowhere else to turn, and they come upon, I don't know your Twitter or, or they know that you are a loving, welcoming space, and they just need to reach out and you and that is a way to be with someone to be with someone out in the world quickly and a way to, to kind of meet them where they are. That sort of social media and the church can mix. I don't think social media and the church can mix in order to gain people within the walls. So I just wanted to reiterate that that social media is not going to technology is not going to save this church. Social media is not going to save the church. Yeah. Just to reiterate that. That's a misconception I think.

 

22:07 – Simon Doong

So joining us today for our guest question and response segment is, I would like to call him a friend of mine and a friend of the of the Presbyterian Church USA and a lot of Presbyterians is David Lamotte, and author, singer songwriter. And we're really excited to have David with us today. David, thanks for being with us.

 

22:29 – David LaMotte

Thanks for welcoming me and for being my friend.

 

22:32 – Simon Doong

And so David, we've got a, we've got a little bit of a question for you. So the question for today reads, I see people in my community in my church, who are troubled by various and justices that we see in the world, but I feel like they're also all waiting for someone to come along, who has that special gift to get changes started and get things moving? And then they'll do something? Am I the only one observing this? And is this really the correct approach? Also, I'm a young person who is constantly told to wait until I have my skills, and my life figured out to participate in causes for justice. But I don't want to wait, am I just being impatient? David, what do you think I know that you've done some speaking and writing on these topics, what do you have to say?

 

23:28 – David LaMotte

My first question is, how much time do we have? These are great questions. And I have a lot of thoughts on this. And I also am excited to learn from you guys, as we kick these ideas around a little bit. So yeah, I think that there are narratives. In our society, there are larger stories, I'll say, even meta narratives, so big stories, that we fit all our little stories into their meta Nord narratives out there, around how change happens, how it should happen, and how it does happen. And that we have some stories that are out there that are really deep in our culture, they're woven into our entertainment, they're woven into our, the way we teach history, whether or not it's how history happened. And, and we've been soaking in them our whole lives, to the point where we've absorbed them without even being conscious that we've ever heard these stories, right? That stories that we don't necessarily examine. So examples are things like racism, right? So I've, I've grown up in a society that is pretty well soaked in racism. So I've absorbed a lot of that racism without ever meaning to and, and in spite of the fact that I spend a lot of time and energy opposing racism, it doesn't mean that I'm free of racism myself. I can't be my friend Diane Johnson out in California is a facilitator extraordinary person says, I'm not sure what fish talk about, but I'm pretty sure it's not water. Right. If this is the thing, you've been soaked in your whole life, you don't even notice it. I think we have another That meta narrative around how change happens. And that is what I think of as the hero narrative, which I think is exactly what you're naming Simon that, that we expect problems to be solved by somebody extraordinary. Who does something dramatic in a moment of crisis where things are happening urgently. Right. And that's how the problem gets solved. And my argument, my defense for the argument that this is our cultural answer to the question of how do you make a big change is to drive to the nearest multiplex theater that has a dozen movies on the screen up there, and look at those titles, and ask yourself, how many of them have that plot, there's big problem, there's an urgent moment of crisis, somebody who's really special, either they're really smart, or they're really brave, or they're really strong or whatever, they have superpowers, or they're just really special people, rises to the occasion, in the moment, just responding to this crisis, fixes the problem, and then we roll the credits. And that's just never, ever, how a large scale problem has been fixed in the history of the world, it's just simply never happened, that a hero in the absence of a movement has changed the course of history. Without a lot of people involved. Right? It just doesn't happen that way. That's not to say that people don't do heroic things they do. And it's wonderful, and we should celebrate that. But those heroic things are very seldom on a large scale, right? That they're heroic. The the function of a hero is actually not to fix the problem, the function of a hero is to inspire the rest of us to get involved. And when the rest of us get involved, then we can address big problems, big problems, like environmental catastrophe, racism, on and on. Those are the kinds of things that need movements. And the fact is movements change the world. And a movement is a whole bunch of people doing a little bit each, not one person fixing it all for us. Right? So movements without heroes are fairly rare. But heroes are function or have a function right in inspiring a movement. It's useful to have a big charismatic character at the front. But there are movements without heroes, like you look at the Arab Spring or the Arab awakening, as it's called. In other countries, sometimes, that was a large scale movement that overthrew the governments of several nations, and had no charismatic, charismatic leader at the head of it, right? A movement or rather a hero without a movement, effecting large scale change. Find me an example. There just isn't one. Right? Except in fiction. So we prefer hero narratives, I will I'll make the argument that there's an upside to the hero narrative, which is that if you're not the hero, you don't really have to do anything. If you're not the hero, your job is to clap for the hero. 

 

28:06 – David LaMotte

Yeah, buy the action figures, exactly, by the action figures clap for that. And, and also, you know, I see this happening in churches where a congregation wants the pastor to fix things, and wants to clap for that pastor and say, way to go, Pastor, but doesn't necessarily want to get in there and do the work. Right? And and that's because we're poisoned by this hero narrative. A congregation that's really engaged and sees a problem and says, what are we going to do about that is a really different place to be than a guy aggregation that is expecting the pastor to fix it for them. And to be fair, there are plenty of pastors and activists who have bought into this hero narrative themselves. And or, perhaps I should say, ourselves here, because I can sure fall into this and think it's my job to fix it for everybody. Right? And that's pretty self destructive over time, as well. And then it gets really interesting when you look at through these lenses, the movement lens and the hero lens, at the story of Christianity at the Jesus story, right? Is that a hero story or a movement story? Well, depends on which lenses you're wearing, either. This is, you know, Jesus saved us all, and fixed it all for us. And our job is to praise and worship and that's it. Or Jesus was inviting us into a movement, to change the world, to show God's love in tangible ways to the people around us, inviting us into that work with him. And that's a really different way to look at what it means to be a follower.

 

29:39 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I was gonna ask you, do you think we have created the story of Jesus into a hero narrative because I remember the hymns I used to sing growing up. I grew up Presbyterian, but I also was like Baptist adjacent. And we always sang that him Jesus paid at all, you know. And that's kind of the end of that hero narrative that is done. And you need to make sure that you're just hop on board. And there's not a lot of agency there. So I wonder halfway Yeah, in many ways, have we changed that narrative into kind of a Jesus the superhero?

 

30:22 – David LaMotte

Yeah, I think it's a really fruitful thing to think about, I think it can be instructive to consider what it means to change lenses, you know, which way we're looking at this. And I sort of have come to the place where I see that as the fundamental divide in Christendom, that it's, it's not Catholic, Protestant. It's not liberal, conservative. It's really here or movement. Those are really different ways to look at, at the faith and, and they have massive implications for what it means to be faithful.

 

30:55 – Simon Doong

I think it's also really interesting because a hero narrative assumes that someone will come along that, like we were saying has that special something, they have the tools, they have the gifts, they've just got it? Right, which almost as you were saying, David then implies that everyone else is just a bystander. They don't have they don't have anything to offer. Already. It's they are in a position of scarcity. And they need this person to come along, which is not really what our faith is about. Our faith is about empowering people and building them up. Yeah, and what for myself, one of my one of my favorite sermons that I ever heard was a take on the David and Goliath story in which the pastor said that no one thought David was going to win that all he had was the slingshot, you know, his slingshot, and he won. But he didn't win. Because he was the hero. He won, because he, he had the tools to be able to, to be able to win that to be able to win that encounter, the same way that we all actually already have the tools to do what God is calling us to do. It's not just about what we doesn't mean, wait for the David, we've already got the tools. Yeah. And let's live into that.

 

32:13 – David LaMotte

Yeah. Yeah. Right on and he had spent years and years developing that skill. So it wasn't a spur of the moment kind of thing that happened, right, we reduced the Rosa Parks story to a spur of the moment decision, which was not we discount the fact that she had been an activist for over 20 years that by the time she was arrested in 1955, for her first arrest. She had already been the secretary of the Montgomery NAACP for 12 years that she had traveled up to the Highlander center three months before to train in voter registration and nonviolent activism. You know, this was a very, very deeply trained activist who was really deeply engaged in movement work. And and we don't tell the story of john Robinson, and the women's political Council, who had organized that boycott a year in advance and had it ready to go and stayed up all night printing flyers so that the flyers were on everybody's doors in the morning. Without that movement work, the boycott would not have happened on Monday. And john Robinson, the women's political council called that boycott, before the miaa was formed, or anybody asked Dr. King to be involved. Right. So that happened two hours later, but it was later. So we are very quick to leave out the movement part of the story, because heroes stories are much more appealing, because my job in the hero story is to clap. And if we separate people out into heroes, and normal people, and I think most of us think of ourselves by default as normal people. And if it's heroes jobs to fix things, and I'm not a hero, then it's not my job to fix things. And that's a much more comfortable place for me to be. So so there's a lot of appeal for here a narrative. But once we start separating people out like that, then we also stop measuring ourselves against them. If they're if the just right person that you were talking about Simon, if we're waiting for that person to show up, then we're we're gonna wait a long time. Right. And I don't think we're commanded to wait. I think we're commanded to do justice now. And to love mercy now, and to walk humbly now. I think that's our work. There's this lovely quotation from Dorothy Day one of the founders of the Catholic Worker movement. One day, she was interviewed by a young Catholic reporter. And he said to her sister day, I'm so honored to spend this time with you. I've never gotten to speak with a saint before. And her answer was, don't call me a saint. I don't want to be dismissed that easily. Right? If they're saints and the rest of us local lamb, come on, I can't measure myself against a saint. I'm not what am i Gandhi, come on. Right. And we both strip away the humanity of those heroes, and strip away the agency of the rest of us. And in both cases, we're doing violence to God's creation.

 

35:12 – Lee Catoe

And I remember, so there was like a recent to kind of superhero story that just came out on Netflix, I won't say the name because we're not really sponsored by anything. But I do I do. There's always this narrative of like, the superhero. And then like the young, like partner, or like the young son of the hero, that's not really ready, that's always asked away. It's not their time, and kind of getting to like the second part of this question. And seeing now and a lot of activism that's going on, it is the young people that are on the front lines. And in the civil rights movement, it was a lot of young people in here in Nashville, there are young people that started the movement here. And so, but young people are often asked, in a lot of times in the church, that you don't have enough experience, or you need to wait to get this experience when young people have experience and have experienced a lot in there. And in our lives. We're considered young, even though again, I always say this, I don't consider myself very young. In the church world, we are young. And but we're often asked to wait until it's our time or we gain more experience. And that happens in broader society, too. But yeah, I see that happening a lot alongside this narrative, too.

 

36:36 – David LaMotte

Yeah. Lee, I think you're spot on. And and I want to push back against that. I think you're you're absolutely right, you have experienced that I don't have sure I have experienced that you don't have. So how can I learn from you? And how can you learn from me? And how can we treat each other respectfully in that in that in the work that we have to do? And I do see that generational conflict happening a lot among activists right now, old school activists who've been in the work a long time, have learned some things by messing some things up and have some things to teach great, yes. But also have some things to learn. Because there are new ways there are new tools, they're new strategies. They're new perspectives that are born of life experience, different lives teach different lessons. And so I want to just very much encourage y'all and any folks who identify as young, out there, to, to get in the work to do it, you know, and to offer your voices and perspectives because they're desperately needed, whether people want to hear it or not. So thank you for bringing that and for pointing that out. The narrative of patience is a really interesting narrative. You know, I think it is, it's both true, that lasting change takes time, and that we should be impatient in questions of justice, because lives are being destroyed today. And we can't be patient in demanding justice, at the same time that the flip side of that is, in order to stay buoyant, in order to stay personally sustainable and be able to keep doing the work. We have to acknowledge that this is messy work, rivers do not flow in straight lines. They zigzag back and forth. And that's what the work looks like all organic change. All all meaningful, lasting change over time, moves like that. It moves like a tide it moves like a wave, it's back and forth. And and so it's not inevitable that the work get done. I'm not the kind of progressive who believes that, that things will progress. Inherently, the arc of history bends because we bend it. Right? And so we all need to put our shoulders to the to the arc there. I was talking with a wise pastor and mentor, friend of mine here, Tammy forte, Logan, who's an ame, Zion pastor, and she, I was saying to her, you know, there's that beautiful, hymn freedom song, we who believe in freedom, will now rest child cannot rest, we believe in freedom cannot rest. And I said, you know, I'm sitting really uneasily with this because I'm watching all these people burning out because they're not resting right? And she said, she's she thought for a minute and she just wisely responded to me. But David, it doesn't say, I who believe in freedom cannot rest. It says we who believe in freedom cannot rest. And part of us keeping on doing the work is for individuals to step back. Take a breath and trust the community to keep moving the word forward, and then rejoin so that somebody else can step back. It's how a choir holds a really long note. People take staggered breaths at different times and it sounds like one big long note because everybody He took the time to breathe when they needed to breathe. So I was comforted by that response from her the seasoned activist.

 

40:07 – Simon Doong

I love that David. And I, I think that really gives more great perspective into the collective collaborative process of movement making and making change. And it also takes the pressure off of each of us to do everything, as you were saying, and that's, there's something really comforting about that, because it takes that that pressure away, so thanks for mentioning that.

 

40:33 – David LaMotte

Yeah, it's the work of beloved community. And and it's just so easy to feel like, yeah, you know what, I've got to do this, but actually, no, we've got to do this together. Thank you, David, what a delightful conversation. 

 

40:47 – Lee Catoe

Thank you. Thank you so much for being with us on really appreciate a big fan of your work. And yeah, thank you so much.

 

40:55 - David LaMotte

Awesome. Well, it's really a treat to be with y'all. Good, good.

 

41:00 – Simon Doong

And we'll be sure to put a link to your to your website in the show notes for folks, if they want to follow you and check out some of your books and some of your great music. I think that people would really enjoy that. 

 

41:15 - David LaMotte

Great. Well, thanks, guys. They're very much appreciate it.

 

41:21 – Lee Catoe

So for our resource roundup segment this week, we wanted to focus on Juneteenth, which is a holiday that is in commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. And it is always June the 19th. And it is named Jim teens because of the date June 19 1865, when Union soldiers landed at Galveston, Texas to share the news that the civil war had ended and that enslaved people had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. But this was two and a half years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which became law on January 1 1863. So this holiday, or this time is in commemoration, and to remember freedom to remember the gifts of our black siblings, and to always continue the work of anti racism and dismantling white supremacy. And so On this episode, we wanted to focus on this day, and to offer up some resources that will help us to continue to do that work. And so if you want to know more about GMT, you can go to Jim teen.com. You can also go to the Presbyterian Historical Society and search Juneteenth, there are some resources there and to continue our anti racism work. The Presbyterian mission agency has a page on its website that you can go to it's Presbyterian mission.org slash ministries, slash Matthew 25, slash racism. And there you can have, you can find a host of different resources, such as facing racism study guide, such as watching different webinars that talk about the impact of environmental justice and communities of color. You can also go there and find and read the Belhar confession, which is a confession within the Presbyterian tradition that grounds us and anti racism work, and that we should be striving and fighting for justice for all people, especially those who are marginalized and oppressed. So all of these links will be found in the show notes on our website and on podcast platforms. So we hope you find them to educate yourself about Juneteenth. And we also wanted to say that the Presbyterian Church USA has officially made Juneteenth a holiday. And so that means that staff within the Presbyterian mission agency and other agencies will have those days off to commemorate this holiday. And so, taking the work of anti racism seriously and dismantling white supremacy seriously, all days, not just this day, but all days but take a look at those links and get to work.

 

44:47 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe

This has been the matter of faith podcast brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound. If you would like to submit a question for discussion. You can do so at faith [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you. See you next time. See you next time, y'all.

 

45:24 – Simon Doong

Thanks everyone for checking out Episode 16 of a matter of faith, a presby podcast. Don't forget to subscribe on your preferred podcast platform.

 

45:34 – Lee Catoe

And don't forget to leave us a review. It helps us to continue to do this work and to bring this podcast to you. So don't forget to leave a review.