A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Episode 32: Guilt and Shame, LENGTH OF SERVICE & Latinx VOICES and Education

October 07, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 32
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 32: Guilt and Shame, LENGTH OF SERVICE & Latinx VOICES and Education
Show Notes Transcript

Questions for the Week:

  • Language is used to shame and guilt people in modern culture. Whether it’s an app or a message, people are shamed for doing one thing or not doing enough of another. This happens in church too. How could this be changed?
  • What do you think is the ideal length of a worship service? Personally, I like shorter services. But that's just me. Further, do you think there is an ideal length for any of the parts of a church service (ie. sermon length)?


Special Guest:
Rev. Ruth-Aimée Belonni-Rosario Govens, Executive Vice President of the Presbyterian Pan American School, Kingsville, TX

Guest Question:
How can we better acknowledge and incorporate Latinx voices in theological education? Further, as people of faith, how do we better advocate for better inclusion of Latinx voices in secular education?

Resource Roundup:

Presbyterian Pan American School

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to a matter of faith, a Frisbee 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

Speaker 2:

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

Speaker 1:

And I'm your host Simon dune

Speaker 2:

Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions. I'm doing good Simon and good to see you. Yeah, it's a good fall. We're in. Yeah. Good .

Speaker 1:

Yep. Yeah. Yeah . For our, for our listeners, I did a , uh , a running race over the weekend and it was beautiful. Uh, this past weekend here in New York, it was cool. It wasn't too hot. It wasn't too humid. And it was just prime conditions for just being outside. And I'm, I'm so grateful when I'm able to just spend long hours outside and not be dripping in sweat. And I don't know , it feel just energized by being outside, if that makes sense.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah. We were outside a lot this weekend too, and yeah, just kind of went to the park and we went to the national museum of American history, which is a lot, and I wanted to see Julia child's kitchen and it wasn't there. So that was very disappointing. Yeah. I'm a big cooking. I'm a big like television cooking person on a garden is where it's at for me. And we went through it. It was actually really interesting. And we probably should talk about this one day on the podcast, but the biggest exhibit was about war. It was interesting Where it says a lot and I was very, you know, to see something that took up a lot of space within a museum. That's all about war and at all . And I think they CA they did a somewhat good job of not trying to glorify it, but I also think there was a tinge of that in some way. It was interesting. So one day we should y'all should write about that. Somebody sent us a question about that because that's , I was very taken aback by that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. But that is really interesting. Well, you know, there are so many times when I think we are surprised by what we see in a museum in the news or on the internet, and sometimes we're not surprised. Yeah . And I think our first question for today is maybe getting at some of the things that we probably shouldn't be surprised about. So the first question reads languages used to shame and guilt people and modern culture, whether it's an app or a message, people are shamed for doing one thing or not doing enough of another, this happens in church too . How could this be changed? How could this be changed? Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It , and I always have to be careful. And we talked about this a little bit of like a month ago really? Um , because this is like episode 32, right? Yeah. 32. Yeah. And we talked about this, especially when it comes to the vaccine, you know, but I think what we're talking , I think what this person is talking about here is like, yeah. Through ads and through modern culture and , and the things we see on television and , and all this other kind of stuff. And I do think in some ways, I don't know if it's very healthy, but I think in some ways there is a tinge of shame and ordered to kind of catapult somebody into thinking about something. And I don't know if that's very healthy. It probably isn't. Um , but I do think, and Simon and I were just talking about this, like I had, I just ordered a , I'll just order some boots for the fall. And I had like saved up for these boots. And I got a message from like the customer service department was just like, what you ordered too many. And because you ordered too many, like our prices are gonna go up or shipping is going to be outrageous and all this other kinds of things. And I was just like, oh my God, kind of on one side of my brain, I was just like, oh, I have messed this thing up for this company. And on the other side, I was just like, I have been saving up for this. And I want to surprise my partner with some boots. And I was like, you know what? I am not going to be shamed into . I'm not going to be shamed into like, you know, doing this and then this album . Yeah . And I was also telling Simon, it must be like the week of like advertisement shame, because I then got a message on my email saying, look, you haven't taken a class for Duolingo. You should be really, basically you should be really disappointed in yourself. And I was like, oh my God, like these ads that like tug at your heartstrings, and it's just like the SPCA commercials. Like you should look at these and look at these poor animals, your , to be ashamed of yourself, if you're not supporting them and like poverty porn, like things like that. Like, and if you don't know what poverty porn is, it is kind of like making you feel it is really taking advantage of someone's and poverty situation in order to kind of, and sense of a frame of guilt or shame, or , um, yeah. As using their situation in order to guilt and shame you in order to give. So, yeah. I don't know how to change it because advertisement are good at it. The advertising world kind of knows where the vulnerabilities are and the mentality of individuals. And I also know the church is good at that too specifically, sometimes in fundraising and donation, things like that. So that's very interesting when we're talking about ads and like things on the internet.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, even if you think about safe, we all have these, these Fitbits and these fitness trackers, right. Or your app for your gym membership, which will remind you, oh, you haven't worked out today. You have not consumed enough water today. You did not stand or walk enough. And I think that in some ways, those things are really helpful in terms of accountability, right? Those things can be really helpful, but there is also a difference between reminding people and when of something important or of something that they maybe need to remember versus reminding someone in a way that is guilting them or shaming them into a specific type of behavior, or to make a certain choice or a certain decision, you know, for, for myself, I actually, I got rid of my fitness tracker recently. One because the battery died. But also because I was like, I think I'm moving enough at this point. I don't know if I need to be reminded every time, get up and walk and stand. I know that on average, I try to make an effort to, and that's just me. And maybe the fitness tracker helped me start to develop that sort of habit. And if that's where people are at, that's great. I think it's really helpful to have reminders, but in the same way, a reminder can, can be kind of aggressive or it can try to prom , like you were saying, provokes some sort of emotional response, and this may seem really trivial. But when you see someone in church who you haven't seen in a bit, there's a couple of different ways to approach that situation. You can go up to them and you can say, oh, I haven't seen you in a while , but that can be can , that can be understood in multiple ways. It could be you haven't been here, what's wrong or, oh, you haven't been at church shame on you, even if you don't intend it that way, that may not be the most welcoming way to try to engage that person. Maybe you should just say, it's nice to see you, or we're glad to have you and just leave it at that, as opposed to, haven't seen you in awhile and sort of like, you know, dangled this question, mark over someone's head about what they are or aren't doing and their reasons for being, or not being at church, if that makes sense. So I do think that language really does matter. And the way that we try to , uh , understand this distinction between reminding versus sort of guilt and shame, it's a fine line. And , uh , as you were saying, lead the advertisers, they tend to sort of go on the , uh, on the guilt and shame side more often than the reminding side.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I see it a lot with like young people too in the church. It's just like, I really disliked the, the whole notion of like the church is dying and now young people, we need to get young people in the, save the church and, and all this kinds of thing. And it almost is like, it is putting on the shoulders of young people to save something. But it's also a tangent of shame and guilt saying that young people aren't doing church when many of them are doing church in different ways and finding ways of spirituality and , and non-traditional forms. And, but it is kind of this like guilt and shame kind of radiating from those comments, because are you guilting us for not being a part of the church or guilty and young folk for like shaming young folk for leaving when the church has done a lot of things to kind of evoke that. And so I do think there is like a tinge of shame and guilt within the church in general, and within like a broader narrative of the church. Like I T I say, I played all the time. I've gotten saved like 20 times when I was younger, because I felt so guilty of the things that I did. And we don't even really, we don't really believe in getting saved in the Presbyterian church, like, but I grew up kind of a Baptist adjacent. And so there's a lot of shame and all that guilt within that. And just, and that , and this is out to the Presbyterians out there. We don't, our narrative of Christianity is not the broader narrative of Christianity. When people think about Christianity, they do think about getting saved. They do think about guilt and shame and all this kinds of thing that a national narrative has cultivated. Like that is what people think of. If you are not brought up in the Christian Church and you have a tinge of cultural awareness, that's what you think about that is what we've cultivated. And so I think it's a lot bigger than what a lot of progressive parts of fate make it out to be and how we can change it is offering another narrative and being serious about how to broaden and widen our scope and getting our faces out there and getting our voices out there to offer a different narrative. And that does podcasts like this one and other podcasts, because that is what people are listening to. And other forms of media and getting into the faces of, you know, a broader swipe of people. It is, that is what people think Christianity is. I was just listening to a podcast right before this. And it was two comedians that are very, very, well-known not a clue like their narrative, that one of them was brought up Methodist. The other one was brought up pretty conservatively, but hearing them talk, they were like, it's there . They were like, we don't know of any really progressive churches, like where is that? They asked , like, where are those voices? Like they're few and far between. And actually there are more voices like that than people realize. And so people don't know, and these are people in the mainstream. These are people that travel. These are people that were grew up in the church and their awful experience with church got them kind of away from it. And now that national narratives and that global narrative, what Christianity is, has taken over when there are so many people of faith that are inclusive and welcoming and have a healthy theology that isn't centered on guilt and shame. So I think in order us first to change it, we have to be aware that our , this narrative isn't out there very widely spread that we think it is. So I think as for one being self-aware and then doing something to change that, and I don't know how to make that happen until we get serious about the vehicles in order to spread that message.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, it seems to stand in contrast to the message behind ads or just messages in general around guilt and shame seemed to stand in contrast to the message of Jesus, which is about you are enough. You know, it doesn't mean don't try to be better, but the fact that you are enough in the church and God loves you as you are. Um, that, that, that, doesn't the , the message around shelter and game around ,

Speaker 2:

Uh , silt and games . That's over , we're going to , we're going to, we're going to language matters and Schilt , and game might be the next, we might have to play up that Shilton game. I love that

Speaker 1:

Guilt and shame do not, in my opinion, sit well with the message of being enough, that it comes from Jesus. And if we are always pushing a narrative that someone is not or needs or always needs to do more, even if that is true, that they , the people could always be better. That is different than forcing it down someone's throat or reminding them constantly of being inadequate. So, yeah . Yep . Progressive churches. We gotta be in , we gotta be in the space,

Speaker 2:

Gotta be out there. It just has to be done because I think it is, I think it does vary . It's going to be at the detriment if we don't take, if we don't realize that our voices are not plentiful and the mainstream arena, and we need to be realistic about that. There are great voices out there and doing great things. I don't want to discount that, but I do think the most, really the most progressive person, a fate that I know of that's out, that was like, this, what we're talking about is Mr. Rogers, or you have William Barber as well. You'd like to poor people's campaign. But I do think what we're saying is like to change people gravitate toward culture media, like pop culture, anything like that, that is within the daily lives of people. And I'm not saying everything has to be integrated in fate, but I do think that there are morals and values that we as progressive people can speak to. That can be. And so just throwing that out there, but we're getting a little lengthy of this question and that actually brings us to the next question that we got in. And , and it is one of the things that people in the church I've been always talking about and arguing about, what do you think is the ideal length of a worship service? And this writer puts personally, I like shorter services, but that's just me further. Do you think there is an ideal length for any of the parts of a church service? I E sermon blink .

Speaker 1:

So I know everyone has their own thoughts about ideal length of anything related to church. And part of that has to do with the context that we, that we grow up in as well as just our own personal preference. Um, and as well as the, sort of the culture of the congregation, that we are faith setting that we might've been raised in. I know for me, 45 minutes to an hour was kind of what I was, what I was raised doing and, and, and , and sort of a suburban congregation. And if church went longer than that, people started leaving , uh, pretty much right after the sermon ended, if, if it went longer than that. But then , uh , for quite a few of the services that I've attended here in New York church regularly goes an hour to an hour, a half easily. And that's just sort of a very, I mean, not all services and not all churches, but I've been to quite a few where that's very normal for the church service to go that long and, you know, church services and worship services and other cultures, sometimes we're on the longer side. First I know in some traditions, church is an all day thing you show up in the morning, you're there until the evening. And so it, it really depends, I think, on where you're coming from and what your expectations are as well as what the expectations of the congregation is. But for me personally, I like 45 minutes to an hour. And I think that it's fine if it's even shorter than that, I can do an hour and a half. I do an hour and a half service regularly, but I find that it helps for me to be participating in the service to keep myself engaged throughout it. And I think this is interesting also because when folks had to transition to primarily virtual worship, I don't know if , uh , what your experience has been Lee or for our listeners. I generally found that everyone's services got shorter when they were virtual, because they had to be put together there wasn't like a lot of necessarily interaction sometimes, or sometimes there was still interaction, but depending on how the service was done, there was just less gap time. And the result was that the service was much tighter. Also people didn't want to be on zoom because we're already on zoom so much. So people generally erred on the, on the side of , um, shorter services or the shorter compared to their usual in-person services. But now, like I know some congregations are in sort of a hybrid model where they're live streaming, the actual live in person worship. And so that means they may be back to their full service lengths . And if you're watching it virtually, you're just, you're watching it. And sometimes that may be a lot if, especially if maybe you started attending a congregation virtually during the, the heart of the pandemic here in the United States and just don't, it's still ongoing, but earlier on, and then now some churches have reopened and they're back to their usual length of service, but you're still attending on zoom, which means that you're looking at your screen for longer now compared to previously. So again, there's no perfect answer, but it is certainly interesting to think about in terms of culture and a tradition for , for each congregation. What do you think Lee , is there an ideal length?

Speaker 2:

I don't, yeah. I don't think there's an ideal lane because I do think it is very contextual. I mean, there are different traditions. I mean, even in, I mean, even within the tradition of the Presbyterian church, I mean a lot of black churches, Hispanic churches , um, like Korean churches, a lot of, I mean, it really does depend on the context because depending on, you know, culture and tradition, worship services can last God up to like three hours. Like it really just depends. And I do think it is all about the interaction too. Like if you're just a lot of, I mean, a lot of white churches, it is normally somebody just standing up there talking, and that's not very, that's not very interactive for me. And so I don't want to stay, I don't want, I wouldn't want to sit there for like an hour over an hour if I'm just sitting there listening to somebody, you know? Um, but I do think it really just depends on yeah, the tr your tradition. And it's really interesting. Cause one of the, one of the more interesting things I learned in like church history was kind of this, you know, like the great awakening and all this kinds of things, like church services would last, like days, you know, like it would just like go on and on and on. But it was because, you know, people were like in like invited into this experience and, you know, it was very kind of Pentecost, subtly and very like spirit led. And, and there are, I mean, there are churches like that today. And so, yeah, I really do. And I , I do think it also depends on where you're talking about worship. Like what , what do you mean by worship? I think a lot of things can , can pertain to what a word, what worship can be. And I think one of the more lengthy services I've ever been to was just like a service that was just all music. And for me, that was very engaging and very interactive and yeah, it was, it w it didn't seem like it was as long as it was. And that for me is a good worship experience when you're not sitting there thinking about the time. I mean, when you're sitting there, and I know a lot of it has to do with, like, you need to like, listen like B and it's on you to be engaged too . But I do think it has lot to do with leadership and kind of this just like, we've always done it this way to you. And so at this thing , it depends on a lot of different things. Um, one of the things that I think about just like you were saying, Simon is where the, where the digital world is going to take us because, and the work that Unbound does, we're thinking about how do we incorporate worship, but do it in ways that is accessible. Like maybe 15 minutes, if that, you know, online, that's very different social media. It's very different , um, to engage with people, to have some kind of experience during their day, or to provide some space for someone to just take 15 minutes out of their day and have some sort of spiritual kind of experience. I think those, I think that leads to more creative ways of doing worship as well. Um, I don't think people should be so concerned about the link , but I do think it needs to be , um, thinking needs to be thought of, cause I think some people have egos too. It's like, I got this degree and I got this to say, and I'm going to be up here and I'm going to say what I need to say. And I don't think that's very helpful, but because I've seen that, but I also know like if you drove across town for 30 minutes, you didn't drive across town for like a 15 minute service, just, you know, so I get, I get that, there's those elements of planning and things like that, but I am very interested to see where the digital forms takes, takes us. And I mean, churches, there are a lot of churches that already headed the game on that. It's just us mainline churches that are just now getting on board. It's funny because you know, there was a joke or something about how mainline Progressive's always made fun of televangelists and now yeah. I'll tell evangelists now, you know, you're all on the screen. You're all like PR proclaiming the gospel from the T like from screen . So you've jumped into this boat, but, but we're way behind, you know, like it's, it's just also, it's, it's also contextual. Um, but I wonder about that too. And those televangelists shows would go on for hours.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, they would. And I appreciate what you said about attending sometimes attending a worship service that maybe it was all music. I know that I really appreciate today . Worship services. Would some people consider that a worship service? There's no sermon, there's a reading or a reflection, a scripture text and the music and that's about it. So again, just to think about what, what we consider worship in addition to what type of, you know, that affects what we think about the length of it as well. I would say where the spirit is that can be worship . So that can be in a long, that could be in a long service. And that could be in a short one. And it really just depends on how you are engaged and how you are engaging with the content. So, yeah. Oh, and with regards to the question about par length of parts of a service, I'm just going to say this, I think sermons are great at like 15 minutes, max. I know I've sat through sermons that have gone 20 to 40 minutes and they were powerful, but they were also very long and it's just hard to , for me personally, it's hard to sort of stay engaged for that length, but some people really appreciate, like I came here to hear this person speak and I am hearing them speak. So there is, there is an element to that as well, but it can be done in a way that as you were saying, Lee doesn't necessarily have to stroke an ego, but it's about the message

Speaker 2:

And just read the room. You know, I feel like that's something else. If you're like, just read the room, like there is, there is a way to feel the energy from a room and if it's time close out, you know, like that is another thing that I wish I wish there would be more flexibility and worship to kind of, you know, see where people are and see what people are doing. Sort of just go on with , uh , just kind of just going with the motions and doing it just because you always did. So I think that's also something else too, but yeah, again, it's all contextual and yeah . Also look out for some Unbound worship soon. We'll see what that comes up and when

Speaker 1:

Stay tuned folks. So joining us today, we have a very special guest. We have the Reverend Ruth Ima Bolani Rosario. Govins the executive vice president of the Presbyterian Pan-American school in Kingsville, Texas, Ruth Ima . It's so great to have you with us today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Thank you for joining us. And we have a question for you sent and by our wonderful audience out there, and the question reads, how can we better acknowledge and incorporate Latin X voices and theological education further as people of faith ? How do we better advocate for better inclusion of Latin X voices in secular education?

Speaker 3:

So first of all, you ask a question, how do we acknowledge and incorporate Latino Latina Latinex voices ? The , one of the things that I would say is, first of all, it requires to be for institutions to understand, and to acknowledge that the world had changed knowledge , that there's not just not one voice out there. So I acknowledge that the traditional white male it's no longer the sole voice , um , particularly when it comes to love . I would say that one of the most important ones , one of the crucial things that the, all I go to kitchen, you still understand that there is diversity within what he's , what is identified as Everest . And here's what I mean the same, how I say it. It's the same, the same structures , the same, the same ways the traditional indication and patient sets aside . This is where we going to teach the same system, same race in which you, in which you make decisions, it is the same systems that you apply to non whites or other emerging communities. And what are the things that I repeatedly, I continue to say, look, it's not just one person. Latinex is not the south American . You know , I'm not because a lot of is a lot of light-skinned means that somehow , uh , it's the, you know, is the emergent who , whatever you want to call it. And that was one of the most crucial things that I can say. It continues to be an impediment because the diverse voices and , um , diverse voices within the Latino community continues to be silent. Because if you don't sound like your weight, if you don't look a certain way, then, then you cannot be loving. Let me give you an example. Um, and I'm going to use a personal example, something that I've used multiple times. So when I speak about , when I speak about theology , when I do it from the perspective of an Afro Latina woman heads tilt a little bit, right? This is I won't, how is that possible? How do you marry the two? And I used to get questions when I first got to, when I first arrived to this country, or are you black or are you Rican ? Right ? And I'm like, well , there's no distinction. I can decide whether I'm going to put , when I'm going to put in my, my blackness to the site and where I'm going to put in my Oregon hat on is just doesn't work that way. So, you know, if we going to say that God taught, the only way I can relate to God is by being all those things at the same time, the better way I can say that the one , the one way that we can acknowledge any voices in feeling better is to do away with labels, labels were created in this country or to differentiate to the other, but you will have to create so many labels. You know, you have the indigenous community and then you have women. And then you , uh , Afro after women, after Latino women. And then you have meals. I mean, it's just, it's , it's a life and needs to understand that the world had changed. And we definitely need to be open to consider the reality that we can control those voices. I mean , um , you know, the preferential option for the poor and till this day, some people could not , it was not considered that theology, you know, talk about me doing theology . No, you know, somehow God doesn't, doesn't speak through me. Or, you know , the holy spirit is not what it means so that I can help others. Um , understanding come closer to, I mean, it sounds very basic institutions, institutions of the organization, one to incorporate Latino voices into the curriculum and to their space, they need to understand that this is not just one way of doing things and it's not even, you know, black and white, this is not, this is not , uh , know we, we, we add to the history and richness of the country. And I think the only thing that I would like to say, if you want to incorporate Latino voices, you have to step out of yourself and think about all those students that are hungry, that are hungry to learn about something older than being norm that are desperately seeking to see themselves and to see all the experiences that they have had with them that they can see they read or birth . Um, they don't , they read, they read, you know , old distributional , um , voices. So,

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Thank you so much for that. I love that where you started was with the nuance and the complexity of identity, because if we would , I think people would like to think that theology is nuanced, but for theology to be properly nuanced , it must first reflect the nuances of those who are, who are , uh , thinking it, those who are experiencing it and those who are teaching it and going to move forward with it into the future as well. And I just think that's so, so important. And we, we obviously don't see enough nuance in the theological educational world. We definitely don't see it in the secular educational world either. Um, in terms of even just talking about representation, let alone getting into the nitty gritty of the distinctions of, and the complexity of identity.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for phrasing it . Um, yeah, it's um, it was really the other way, the other day about this pathology of education in the United States or [inaudible] that we can own knowledge , um, that on knowledge can be controlled . Therefore, since you can control knowledge, then you can, the current citizen, English dispenser , like, you know, like trickle it, enter everybody, you know, there is , you know , there's, there's this last group of people that have control because somehow they are smarter or they're more knowledgeable. And, you know, it's , um, research had shown that no, you can't control knowledge. I mean, that's one of the things they're afraid to talk about. You can, you can have a model of like banking and depositing information. You have to start with the people. And, you know, if for some reason, you know, he all he does in , uh, institutions of medication , they don't by and large, you know, individually. I know there's some professors that do that, but as an institution , um, there's still their policies and their way of being it stems out of , uh, we are the , uh , the gatekeepers of this knowledge. We are the owners on this knowledge, and then we have to then help out the poor insignificant , um, you know, seminarians , uh , that they , you know, to , to help them understand all these years of history. Now don't get me wrong. I, I, I appreciate it all my education , um, my traditional , um , education. I love to learn. I love learning if I can call me. And , um, the reason why I love that is because I took and I still take all of those characters , um, in their proper historical context. And then I'm able to see myself as a potential contributor to society. Um, my audience may not be , uh, the creation that I don't probably preach in Geneva. Um, my audience may not be , uh, you know, Germany , uh, you know, when I was writing , um, my orders may not be Germany when Luther was bringing in information , but if you look at this world, particularly education , we work for an educational reform and education reform is being, it's been long overdue. And I believe that there's lots of voices in this world , um, that our students are feeling better patient , excuse me. And I'm more than ready to contribute , um, in, within our own historical context to help , um, these world, this particular country, United States , um, understand model , um, and point at a God that I still loving and merciful , um, you know, and who best to do it, then, you know, people who have experienced some hardships , um, and even in the midst of hardship, you can still say, you know, I forgive you. Um, I , I think I can still, I can still have sentiments of grain , sentiments , uh , of mercy , um, and sentiments of love. Um, but yeah, but this whole concept of somehow, you know, there is I own knowledge and therefore , uh, I can impart knowledge on you very soon. This is a collaborative effort. You know, this is still like , you know, like Latinos , um , have ducked for, for so long, you know , um, you know, I've learned, let me say it this way. I have learned that I get to learn more about God when I'm in community. And when I'm in a community of people that are great libraries that come from different backgrounds, because we can do in listening to people's stories and listening to people's struggles in listening to people's , um , ideas, perspectives, the guide that I grew up knowing since I worked in my mom's womb, gets to be bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger. Um, and that for me, gives me a sense of comfort for someone who departs from the point of view, I need to own knowledge. I can understand how scary that is, but that's just my opinion. I think, I think Latinos because of the rich diversity that is repeating , um, Latino culture , um, we can actually bring that to the education, not just the curriculum, but also for , uh , within the ethos of the institutions .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. That, and , and I had actually had a conversation. When was it maybe yesterday about , um, the denomination is really having a lot of conversations about translation and language , uh, when it comes to policy theology, everything that comes out to be intentional about translations. And, you know, I had a conversation and saying that, you know, it's, it's more than just words. And even as you were, as you were responding to that question, like asking yourself, how do I say this in English? Because it is very, it's, it's very different. It's more than just words, it's culture and emotion and all these types things. And I also think that plays a lot into this. How do we really, you know, how are we really inclusive when you know, most of the time, we're just like, oh, let's just translate it to Spanish. Just to say we did when we didn't have people around the table who speak Spanish, and that is their first language, and that is the culture they are a part of. And yeah, I think, I think we have a long way to go and the church, because a lot of it is so surface level that, oh, we can have a translated and yet we don't have, we don't have the people with those experiences around the table. And, and yeah, just in your answer, it made me think about that. Like, it's so much deeper than that. And I feel like oftentimes we, we really lay a surface level approach to inclusion in many of our policies and many of the things of the written word that come out. And so I hope that one day we can kind of be less English centric in deeper ways too . And so that just made me think about that as you were speaking,

Speaker 3:

Thank you for that Allie . And when you were talking also may mean reminded me of, you know, there's a multiplicity of communication, you know, and like you said, it's not just language, you know , it's not just limited to English versus Spanish English versus , uh, you know , uh, is , is the community, the diversity of communication is not like, is not supposed to be really getting to the economies , right? Like , uh, English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Korean , um , you name it, right. Um , I mean, there's so many languages out there in the world, but you know, the communication piece when we recognize that there's just that there's more than one way of communicating more than one way of doing things. I think that's when we're going to be able to see , um, uh , in depth change, you know, cause , cause it's like, is it right now? We just read the iceberg, right? We are only dealing with what we can see about the water and we're not spending time on all those things. All of those barriers that are on during the water that are the ones who are anchoring us and not letting us move. Right. And I always, I had a friend of mine, she's a college professor and she said, every time she told me, once you're not just bilingual, like you're gonna just not know English or Spanish. You're like multilingual, you know, your husband is African-American from the inner city of Philadelphia. And I can go into Philadelphia and understand pretty much everything that people say is still English, but it is different kind of communicating. She said, you know, when you , you were trained in a very traditional, you receive a very traditional education , right. So I can talk, I can communicate to certain people. I can communicate with certain people at utilizing a language that they would understand. Right. And I am now at a Christian boarding school, high school, and I can communicate with a 13 to 18 year olds. Right. So she was saying, you're not just bilingual, you're multilingual. Um, because it's not just the, it's not just about how we define the sounds that come out of our mouth. We communicate with everything, you know, and , and it goes back to what I say about the only, only of language and you were triggered this late is if we still, even in the church, if we still believe that there's gotta be the field who are capable of owning or dictating , uh, or make sure that , uh, that something gets , um, my goodness, I don't , I release happens . And , um, oh my goodness. Or when he gets , um , you know, when you , uh, oh my goodness. Um , when you get , um, when you revise things , um, oh my goodness. I don't like when this happens, it's part of it's part where we're talking about. So it's perfect. Um, I'll, I'll figure out later, but if I don't , cause I'm not apologizing for days, but any case. So when you pointed , when you begin from the point of, you know , the point of departure is I own it, I get to beat it . Then I, I, you, you bring to the conversation a sense of superiority and whether we like it or not the whole concept medication since its inception, you know, from Socrates and all that, you know what I mean? From Play-Doh and all that stuff , it comes from education is reserved for some people, you know, and , um, and, and our church, you know, PCUSA tends to be very hard ethical and, you know, and when you look underneath the iceberg , um, this sense of over the most imputed denomination in the country, which I appreciate transmit , I appreciate it. I'm not saying that you should not be educated if you listen to the, if you listen to the message of the, what is being communicated is we are superior. Um, and because we are superior, then that gives us a sense of , uh, entitlement. And then we opened the door to oppressing others, because then we say, if you come from Columbia , if you come from better, if you come from like , by the way, and you don't have a degree that is in accordance to what I say then, guess what then guess what you are not, you know, you're not enough, you know , you , you still need to get a degree that we say great , that , uh, you should have, if you, you need to have information that we already parse out that we already reviewed in order for you to be a good indicator for you to be a good pass for you to be a good deal again. And anyway , uh , it'll came people , um, in the way that frayed invited us to do, or, you know , uh , Latinos , uh , uh, saying, you know , this is not easy because it requires genuine and authentic listening. And you know, this society, you know, we just, we just won , we won and we just want to be heard. We don't want to listen to others. Um, but I'm, you know, point naive. Uh, but it's , uh , it, it is what we, this society needs actually , um, [inaudible] , which is what a lot, the , you know, theology, if you want to call it that awake and actually contribute to one of the things. I think that she went to the , um , the dedication , you know, it's yeah, we need to stop with I'm better. Um , because that's, that's, we need to start with the whole concept of superiority , um, because that's, that's what , um, uh, influences everything that we do, you know , in the church, you know, you can talk about just languages, but the way we do things, policies, you know , uh , committee , you know, how do you select committees, you know, selection, processes , search prophecies . And again, you can have a perfectly, a perfect document. Well, balanced will read the real reason or for him home , right. Um, using the , the right Colma is the right grammar, all of that stuff. And, you know, and you can still , uh , discriminate. You can still exclude people. And he's in the , is in the exclusion that we don't get to see, sorry. Eighties is in the exclusion that we fail to see. Um, we fail I myself to have that opportunity of seeing a bigger fraud then , um, then when we think so

Speaker 1:

Well said , uh , we hope that everyone takes away something from what you said and begins to really think about what it means to do that active listening, to have inclusivity in the conversation in the education. So that are , so that not only are, is our leadership representative of the beauty and diversity of God's creation, but that we understand and under we understand how to celebrate it ourselves. So thank you so much. Reverend Ruth diamond is actually going to stay with us for our resource roundups. And she's going to give us a little bit of an overview about the Presbyterian Pan-American school. And I've got a , I've got to ask Lee and I were thinking about this. What is the relationship between the Presbyterian PanAm American school and the Presbyterian church USA?

Speaker 3:

I have a good question through my own language and communication . I have to put my hat on of executive vice-president . So , um, so, okay. So the patient relationship is , uh , Presbyterian for American school is part, is one of the racial , ethnic schools of the Presbyterian church USA. We are one of three racial in schools , uh , left. It used to be more, but now we're three , for example, American school has been in existence for 111 years. And it's part of this, you know, the sun and also , uh, mentioned Presbytery in , in the state of Texas on the positive . The relationship is that the new school is associated with a Christian Church. So the president chose , you would say also , uh, provides funding , uh , provides financial assistance , uh, to pursue school . And therefore they should be , they should win know we should have collaborative, collegial relationship where , um, as much as possible there is, you know, we hold, you know, we hold her accountable, you know, but, you know , uh , even with that, there is many things that kind of fall through the many , many, many, many accountability traits kind of fall through the cracks, but that's basically the relationship between , uh, the Presbyterian church and say precision Pan-American school also because of the relationships that has been, I have gather , uh , through all the years, the predator , the church also supports a president's American school through various resources, you know, not just , uh, not just the official financial giving, but also through, you know, the resources of like , um, oh my goodness. I forget the office , uh, where the knees and there's somewhere around

Speaker 1:

Racial equity and

Speaker 3:

Equity and women . Thank you , Simon . So I know I can, I can go and talk to some of the , uh, wonderful, brilliant personnel that he's there and say, you know, I I'm having a situation. Um, like for example, I am in conversation with Vernon Anderson and , uh, uh, with , uh, diversity equity and inclusion, providing inclusion here at precision front American school , uh , all the way from the board or to the students, you know, so that's another way in which , you know, which corroborate , um, it was , you know, the PCUSA court span and I have all kinds of colleagues and friends , uh , throughout the entire nation that I, that I've done in the past said , you don't look , I have this situation, or , you know, you have these expertise. How can we , um , how can we, how can we collaborate? And yeah, that's , uh, that's , that's the, that's the good part of it, you know? Um, and, and if I can say that is , you know, one of the things that I would, even by the church in general, and to your question earlier about Latinos, and , um, one of the questions that you send me about, how can we better advocate, you know , uh, for inclusion and equity. It's , that's , that's one of the hardest thing, because, because outside as something that we nation, you know , we want to be hands-off, we want to be, we want to be inclusive. We want to, for the people that we serve, right, we want them to come up with their own things . But for me, the more I'm in this call and the more I get around the, of say , I think we need to come up with , uh , a more nuanced understanding of what it means to step in or what it means to help. And once I know what, when , uh, when are we required to step in, and when not, because for me, one of the things that advocacy requires is courage. And , um, and, and we don't, I , in my understanding my opinion, we don't have a car age , I think because in price quarters , it requires an ability to see injustice anywhere, to see, to have a sensitivity, to step out of yourself and pay attention to actually have genuine empathy. So I think , um, sometimes because of our structure and because of our guilt and fear of not doing what you know, would , uh, part of what we inherited right by my legacy is that we create these lofty goals, or we say, you know, on the macro, we are helping, you know , we're doing mission and we are helping to be advocates when it's happening in Afghanistan. We're being advocates, you know, here and there, but at the micro, when you have two people to , you know, their very first Africa AF uh , black president co-presidents, and you have one, you know , we have your first executive vice president, who's third generation Presbyterian. And it just, and she doesn't feel like she's fully supported when she's being , um, when she and her husband aren't being the victims of racism by members of the church is just calling to question what the commitments as a church is to micro things, you know , um, to micro situations. And I'm not saying that they should do this, they should do that. I'm just inviting. Um , I'm just inviting the church to have a conversation on, you know, what to do. I'm sorry. No , what , when, what is clear? We have plenty of beautiful pamphlets, beautiful words out there about what to do, how to be missional. I have to be advocates. I can suggest you have all the , for me, based on my experience, not just now, but throughout my entire career is when you step in, when do you step in , um, and actually hold your own members accountable. Um, and then how, and then, and then when you just the ban also to, to bring your conciliation , um, you know, within, you know, within your own members. And I think that's part also of the legacy of the U S the PTSA within the American , uh, uh, within the American history and culture, right. We, you know, who did I hear? Oh, it was Michael Che, Michael Michael Chen . Yeah. The comedian , uh , he was having , um , do you remember where was he? And he said, you know what , I'm pretty good . It's pretty funny. You say , uh , they say, oh, you know, black lives matter is slavery. That happened 400 years ago. Why can't you just forget about it? You know, just get over it. Oh, nine 11, never forget, you know, what happened in Germany with a Jewish brothers and sisters never forget. Right. So I'm doing, writing the church also as he relates to Pan-Am and all other institutions, rich , other things, institutions to, to put into practice, all those beautiful words. And they have, I've been macro to put them out there. Um, I've been micro organizations , um, in order to, to bring healing. And in order to talk about another opportunity to say to the world, look, we are all messy, we're all imperfect . Um, but you know, we have the courage to you to say something in the face of injustice.

Speaker 1:

Well, we appreciate you reminding folks to be thinking about the when. And I think that, as you said earlier, it's so important, not just in our education to be encouraging people, to think about when, but to also recognize when, when, when arrives , if that makes sense. Um, and so we , we pray for, for you and your husband and the leadership of the Presbyterian Pan-American school, we pray for all of your students as the school year is beginning. We pray that everyone stays healthy,

Speaker 3:

And

Speaker 1:

Yes, we pray that there that they'd be safe from COVID. And that just , uh , they're able to focus on learning and on being, and embracing the diversity. That is, that is amongst them and out in , out in the world. So thank you so much for being with us today.

Speaker 3:

Thank you. Thank you very much assignment. Thank you. Leave for having me and blessings on your ministry.

Speaker 1:

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 [email protected] , we look forward to hearing from you, see you next time. See you next time. Y'all

Speaker 4:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 2:

Thanks everyone for listening to episode 32 of a matter of fate, the praecipe podcast, don't forget to either follow like or subscribe, ease in your favorite podcast platform.

Speaker 1:

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Speaker 2:

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