A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Episode 37: Guilty Pleasures, TED LASSO & The United Nations

November 04, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 37
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 37: Guilty Pleasures, TED LASSO & The United Nations
Show Notes Transcript

Questions for the Week:

  • We've all heard the term "guilty pleasure," meaning you like something a cultural consensus says you shouldn't, like Nickelback. The older I get, the less I see the term in that definition, and the more I see it in terms of things I know are problematic, but I still enjoy them. James Bond movies and football leap to mind. The 007 franchise historically has been full of violence, misogyny, vice, and myriad other problematic elements. As the director of the latest Bond flick, Cary Joji Fukunaga, pointed out, Bond has committed sexual assault in some of the older films. But I can still succumb to the escapist action and stunning locations when "Casino Royale" or one of the other 007 classics comes on.
    In the same way, I thoroughly enjoy an afternoon or evening watching football, particularly if my Los Angeles Rams are playing, though I know the sport is rife with intersecting problems including violence, racism, exploitation, and other issues. 
    Is it enough to be aware of the problems with guilty pleasures and keeping them in mind as you indulge, or do you need to purge them from your life? Do y'all have any guilty pleasures you contend with?
  • There was a recent article about what the show Ted Lasso could the clergy. What do you think about this? Have you ever watched something and felt like it spoke to your work in the church or ministry? 

Special Guest:
Sue Rheem, Presbyterian Representative to the United Nations, Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations

Guest Question:
I recently learned that the PC(USA) has an office at the United Nations. Why? What does this office do? Does the UN really listen to the church and the faith community?

Resource Roundup:
Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations Facebook Page

00:03 – Simon Doong

Hello and welcome to a matter of faith a 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 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 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. 


00:47 – Simon Doong

Well, hello, everyone Welcome again to a matter of faith a Presby podcast. As always, I am here with the wonderful Lee Catoe. Lee, how are you doing?


00:56 – Lee Catoe

I'm doing good. Simon. It's a good day. Fall is here. And you know, we lost it for a minute. And now it's back. And we had a bit big, big rainstorm. I know y'all had one to up that way. Yep. But things are good. You know, like, Well, during this when this airs will be post Halloween. And so we're went to the National Cathedral to listen to some some spooky music from Bach and have that kind of cool atmosphere go in. And, you know, that's pretty much about all we did when we didn't dress up with it. And we didn't do much.


01:35 – Simon Doong

Well, we hope the folks that are out there did have a fun and safe Halloween. Yeah. We hope your kids got lots of candy. Not too much candy. But you know enough for the Halloween spirit. And if you did dress up that you that you enjoyed yourself.


01:50 – Lee Catoe

Good. You know, sometimes you don't get sometimes you don't get good candy.


01:55 – Simon Doong

Right, right. But you know, candy is just one of those things that like some people really like to indulge in. Some people might even call it a guilty pleasure. You know what I'm saying? And speaking of guilty, it definitely yes. Yeah. And speaking of guilty pleasures, we have a question written in do. Yep. And it's a bit of a long one. But I think it's really good because it gives us some examples to think about. So the question reads, “we've all heard the term guilty pleasure, meaning you like something, a cultural consensus says you shouldn't like Nickelback. The older I get, the less I see the term in that definition. And the more I see it in terms of things I know are problematic, but I still enjoy them. James Bond movies and football league to mine. In the case of James Bond, the double oh seven franchise historically has been full of violence, misogyny, vise and myriad other problematic elements. As the director of the latest bond flick, Cary Joji Fukunaga pointed out, Bond has committed sexual assault in some of the older films, but I can still succumb to the escapist action and stunning locations when Casino Royale or one of the other double Oh, seven classics comes on. In the same way, I thoroughly enjoy an afternoon or evening watching football, particularly if my Los Angeles Rams are playing. Though I know the sport is rife with intersecting problems, including violence, racism, exploitation, and other issues. Is it enough to be aware of the problems with guilty pleasures and keeping with keeping them in mind as you indulge? Or do you need to purge them from your life? Do you all have any guilty pleasures you contend with?” And yeah, and I know that we usually like to, we like to say if the reader if you know who wrote in and this was written by Rich Copley, a friend of ours. So Rich, thank you for the question. And I'll tease you later for being a Los Angeles Rams fan. But that's a separate conversation. I'm just kidding. But yeah, Lee, I think this is a great question that we have. What do you think? Do we indulge in guilty pleasures? Or do we need to purge them? Do we have any guilty pleasures?


04:13 – Lee Catoe

Well, I definitely do have guilty pleasures I'll say that a lot of it a lot of them have to do with food which I think is a whole nother I mean this this this kind of focuses on like, you know television, but also sports and things like that usually watching things like a guilty pleasure of that thing. But but a lot of them on our food but I also think that that has that has some rhetoric in society to like, Oh, my guilty pleasure is you know, I don't know I love to eat pork rinds. And I don't often eat them all the time. But I do you love them. They are what I would consider a guilty pleasure. But I also love like, I love ice cream. I love like coconut cake. All those things I would consider They're like a guilty pleasure. But I also think there are things like, those are the things that I do that I enjoy. And I often have had a problem with the, the phrase guilty pleasure, because I do often think that we don't give ourselves permission to enjoy something. In some ways, I think for some reason we haven't this, like the society that we're in that we can't find times more than just every once in a while to actually enjoy ourselves and do something or eat something or, you know, listen to Nickelback. I don't know, I don't listen to them. But I do think it's, I do think that that is also a problem, just just that concept. But what I think Rich is getting at is that, you know, there are TV shows that I love to watch. And I would say they're kind of like a guilty pleasure things big in like the queer world, like Golden Girls, and designing women and all those things that that in its instance, there have been moments within those, those series that that do have some problematic rhetoric and have some problematic themes. But I do think that and in some ways, they were also presented to be the ways in which their opinions presented were often made to kind of prove a point within water society so that they're not always it's not always bad, but I do think it is that balance of, you know, being aware of it. Now, I do think there are some things that do need to go. I do think there are some things that, you know, maybe these James Bond films do need to be put somewhere, and somebody needs to say something about that. And maybe there are episodes of TV shows that need to just be put in a vault somewhere and and never seen again and shouldn't be out there. But I do think there's also a conversation of why do we have to feel guilty about, you know, sitting around, I mean, some people say guilty pleasure of just like sitting around veg out watching TV, I do that all the time, I'll grab a bag of chips, like that is my thing. That is my go out, grab a bag of chips. Some days, I'll eat the whole bag, I'll eat whole jar of dip, and I will watch TV all day long. Like for me, I shouldn't feel guilty about that. And I think that we have this kind of mentality in society sometimes that we can't, like, enjoy it. But I do get what Richards saying. So I do think there is a balance of being aware of the things we watch and being aware of certain things, and engaging in those conversations, but also, you know, the actions that we do just to have pleasure. I don't know if we should feel guilty about that.


07:44 – Simon Doong

Yeah. And I like that rich started off this question, talking about Nickelback cuz I'm gonna go ahead on the record and say, I loved Nickelback when I was in middle school in high school.


07:56 – Lee Catoe

What was one of their songs again? I don't remember.


07:58 – Simon Doong

Like rock star? Yeah, that was probably the biggest one or this is how you remind me. There's a there's a bunch of them. And you know, it's coming back to me now. Right. And just to I guess, to explain that for folks, there is that there is a cultural consensus around hating on Nickelback. There's been many memes about it about you know, just like, I think it's just because it's not, because Nickelback itself is actually bad. It's just that hating on Nickelback became a thing. Yeah. And it just sort of, yeah, it just, it took on, like a movement or a life or a fad of its own. But I appreciate that. He mentioned that at the beginning of this question. And this question also reminds me of a conversation that we had a while back, responding to a question about separating the art from the artist, and trying to think about how do we, how do we reconcile that? How do we sort of, you know, muddle through that, that complicated relationship, cuz like, Rich, I do enjoy watching football. And I know that football has a lot of issues. People who participate in football have called out many, you know, many, many issues within the league in terms of, you know, violence and racism and exploitation and other things. And I'm kind of, I'm always kind of on the fence. I'm kind of like Uli, where I'm like, this is something that I enjoy. But I also know, I know what it is. I'm not like blind to it. I'm not going to pretend it's not there, either. And I think that when we think about particularly things around like entertainment, it becomes very interesting. For example, I like to play video games, and I really like certain games that are made by developers studios, big corporations that definitely have issues with regards to I mean, many different things, most recently two of the studios that I really liked to sort of follow. They've both had issues around sexual harassment and bad treatment of women. and minorities in their workplace. And so it like really like frustrates me then when they come out with a new game I want to play and I'm like, do I want to buy this because at the same time, I'm like, I recognize there are other people that worked on this thing that are not connected to any of those bad decisions and bad behaviors. And so yeah, I sort of like do that little dance of thinking about what I what I want to support. In the same way, you know, there are, there are tropes in television and in movies that are often you know, as we've said before, problematic, I'll go ahead and say that I really like to watch Japanese anime. And there are tropes in that that are like, very strange, I don't really want to call it strange, they don't want to insult be culturally insensitive, but they are. Definitely, they are tropes designed with a specific audience in mind, you know, you have the harem, you have the reverse harem, or you have like these. And I don't know how to say this in a way that doesn't immediately make it sound, for lack of a better word strange, but like, it is a trope in certain shows to have like this. It's not sexual, but like a weird vibe of a relationship between like a big brother and a little sister. You know, I don't necessarily watch all those shows. But people know it's a thing. And there's an audience for shows that have those tropes in them. Is that a guilty pleasure? Maybe I'm not, I don't think that those people are necessarily promoting, you know, incest, or funky relationships. It's just a part of this entertainment. And so when we think about issues with those that are providing us with entertainment, you just kind of have to, like, hold all of that. And just like do some thinking about that. I think in a more maybe Western entertainment example, while Disney, Walt Disney had some, some views that a lot of people today would call problematic and controversial. Does that mean we don't watch the Disney films that come out today? I don't know. I don't know if they necessarily reflect his ideology, or his views. But you are supporting a company that was founded by someone who had them. And so it's really complicated. And I appreciate Rich, you know, bringing this back up for us to talk about


12:21 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, often, you know, like, even in food for gonna talk about guilty pleasures. Even in food. Food is one of them. I mean, food production, food packaging, food shipment, all that is so you know, in this capitalistic society all that is stuff that we can actually when it comes down to it, I like to eat ruffled potato chips. I won't say the brand. But I know that brand isn't, you know, it's all about profit. It's all about really care about where it's sourced, or the people who pick the food and anything like that, like everything. Facebook, Tik Tok, I mean, all these places that people go to die to, to get like the to receive this kind of like, guilty pleasure, I put that in quotes. Guilty pleasure, kind of like need, I see people on Facebook, correct taking Facebook all the time, but they're still on it. You know, they're still on Twitter, still on Instagram, still on all these things. But but that's not saying that in judgment is saying that there is, you know, that is that is how capitalism. For me, that's my capitalism and like, like racism and white supremacy. That's how it is so, so ingrained deeply in how we live our lives is that the things that that do, quote, unquote, give us pleasure. It's all like kind of corrupted in some ways. And so, when you come down when it comes down to it there, there are so many, I mean, you can't look at I'm looking at my microphone right now, there's a metal as made of metal that may have may not have been sourced whatever, ethically, wiring in the wires, copper wires, you know, like, like everything down to the to how mechanical things work, like how those things are sourced. We can all I mean, everything we look at can be traced back down to it. Like, I remember Carrie Allen being on the podcast and saying no, there is no such thing as like clean money. Like there's there's no such thing as something that is that is purely equitable in our lives. I do think that for us to equip ourselves with the ability to even think that I do think that changes some things that changes how we how we kind of approach things as well in a more nuanced way than just saying, I'm just going to get rid of it. Because within these within these systems that don't, that are made to benefit people of privilege. It are it is the people who if you boycott it, if you Don't buy the product. If you do all this other kind of stuff, it is the people who create it, who pick the food. It is the people who who are hurt in this hierarchical society or at the bottom of the hierarchy that get the impact of it. And because the people at the top are cushioned, to not have to feel that impact or that protest OR, and NOT saying that we shouldn't protest, and I don't, I'm kind of up in the air about boycotting and things like that. But I do think there, it really does make you think differently about the things you consume, or whether that be television, movies, food, any kind of thing, really, if you can think that deeply. I think that is also saying something that you can actually think critically about the things in our society that we deem to be these guilty pleasures.


15:58 – Simon Doong

Yeah, sometimes I think recognizing it for what it is, is also the first step to there being any sort of change. Like for example, if we pretended there was no racism that existed in sports, you're no longer that means you're not able to, to call it out or to show support or solidary. The behind someone when they do call it out, because they say they experience it. And so that awareness is really important. And you're not necessarily going to be able to completely understand it, if you didn't at least watch it in terms of the whatever medium or form that that person was participating in. So I think there is something to that, as well. I mean, as of the time that we record this being topical, I mean, a I believe it was a director of cinematography was killed on the set while filming a movie, Alec Baldwin pulled the gun and was told that the prop gun was had no bullets in it and didn't have live rounds. What is a? So does that mean that people should no longer support that studio that was filming that movie? Do they not support Alec Baldwin? Like? What's the what is the the lesson is actually around safety on set? Right, right. And when so then when workers are striking, saying we want better wages, we want better compensation. We want better safety standards so that we know we can do our job without like, getting hurt. I understand that a lot better now. Because I paid attention to this. Yeah. Which I wouldn't have been able to if I just said, Oh, I don't touch the movie scene, because I don't trust X number of things. So it is really nuanced. And again, I'm grateful to rich for bringing this up.


17:39 – Lee Catoe

Yeah. And I feel like we wouldn't watch movies. If, if we knew half the stuff that went on. I mean, people are striking now assistants, production assistants, personal assistants to celebrities, people who who are a part of that industry that have been saying for years, how they're overworked, underpaid, and all this other kind of thing. So I yeah, I think we also play this kind of this Olympic, like, kind of competitiveness is that how can you know, how do we point out the most oppression in something, when in reality, our system is setting us up for this, the systems are setting us everybody up, that it's set up in a way that everybody is, like, everybody's affected by it. And no matter how the cycle works, and no matter what it is, so it I think it is this nuance ness of talking about it in that like, there, we shouldn't, we shouldn't set it up as like dichotomies of like, you know, this, this genre, or this set of the arts is doing this, this and this, and this place is doing this, this and this, and we should be supporting them because they didn't do this when this person, but it does that intentionally, to kind of set everybody up against each other. When in reality, it's like the fullness of the system that is just like creating, creating this kind of cluster of, of oppression that is going to continue on. So I do. Yeah, I'm all about the nuance. But I'm also about we should also be giving ourselves permission to be able to to find pleasure places in ways that aren't harming others and out and I hope one day we can get there. But I will say one of my guilty pleasures is Ted lasso. And we actually do have a question about Ted lasso. And I didn't think Ted lasso would make it into this podcast, but it did because there was a recent article about out what the show Ted lasso could bring to clergy. And we'll post this article up. But Simon and I read this and Simon, what do you think about this? Have you? What do you think about the article first or something else to the question, but what do you think about it? Yeah, so


20:16 – Simon Doong

I thought the article was interesting. I'm going to be honest, I have not seen Ted Lasso. So I have heard the hype for it. I have heard a lot about it. In terms of the themes that come out of this article, I did appreciate that. And if you don't mind me reading off a couple of the highlights. Yeah. So in this article, which again, we're linking to in the show notes. So this is about lessons from Ted Laso. That can that can lessons Ted lasso can teach clergy. And so some of the lessons include, you know, Ted lasso is from elsewhere, you know, he's from somewhere else. Ted lasso is unflappable. Ted lasso is obvious about his mission, even when it's unpopular. Ted and Ted lasso embraces personal vulnerabilities. And so I just reading the article without having seen the show that does pique my interest, because we don't always get to see characters that seem to be sort of have this range of dynamics and depth. So which would partly probably explain the show's popularity, in addition to the fact that it's also a little bit of a fish out of water story from what I understand. But yeah, that's some of my, I guess, my immediate takes after reading the article. What do you think Lee


21:34 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I think it definitely has something to it, that I think people could get out of, and not to spoil this for people who haven't seen it. But I do think there are, there are some ways that it can. And I think a lot of secular things can teach us something in the faith world. I don't, I don't like to kind of lift up those, those two dichotomies, either, because I think they're always they're kind of merged together, in many ways. But, but but there, there are points within there are points within the TV series where you see someone struggling. And you see someone who is just literally just losing it. And in this article, it talks about Ted having a panic attack. And I've talked to so many ministers who have panic attacks, and kind of suck it up and move on. And kind of don't even think about it but but there's a there's a plot in the story to where he had no choice, he has no choice but to get some form of help. And a lot of it had to do with like, you know, there was a story that came out in the press, and he walked off the field. And they kind of claimed that it was like a stomach bug. But it really was him having a panic attack. And he got out in the press. And this is what kind of forced to do this. And I do think it does speak to this mentality of mental health within the clergy within the church world. And oftentimes, we do cover it up, oftentimes it is kind of we need to put on a face, we need to do our job, we need to put other people first and and I do think it has a lot to do with this outsider Ness. Like you're trying to prove yourself to this community and you're trying to kind of fit in and you don't want that to really take away anything but you really are putting yourself for me, Tad lasso is about someone who negates himself in order to, you know, lift other people up. And it is a story that, that that that's what it's about. And it is the second season peep I've heard a lot of critique about the second season because I was like, oh, it's not like the feel good Ted last or that it was in the first season. I was like they just set you up for people who negate themselves and put other people first constantly. This is what happens. Ted Lasser loses his family which I'm not saying like every church person is going to lose their family. But but but it is that mentality that you put on a happy face. He's he's very, he's very outward and expressively extroverted, happy making joke sounds like me. And that's a very well I like it too. But it's just so much that it is a very like I'm putting on a persona. I'm going to minimize myself and uplift other people. But as I'm doing that I'm making myself smaller and smaller and smaller, and I haven't taken care of myself. And it just and then there's other stories around it obviously but I do think within the midst of that it is it is a TV series about people just finding who they are and and reaching out out to each other and community and not saying it doesn't have its flaws. I do think that in some ways the it does have a very, it does have a diverse cast. But I do think a lot of the people who get most of the, you know, most of the spotlight in there are white people. I'm not saying Ted Lester's a perfect show. But but it is a show that does make you think but it also makes you it's kind of wholesome in a way not wholesome and like is supposed to make you feel good, but wholesome in that it speaks to reality. But I think one of the biggest things that this article does talk about. So religious News Service article, that the mental health of clergy, or faith leaders is often something that we need to, to really focus on.


25:55 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the the health of our ministers and faith leaders, is definitely something we don't put enough emphasis on. And we also, as we've said before, there definitely needs to be a bigger emphasis on self care, as well as opportunities for people to do one's own self care. And I mean, everything you're describing really just makes me want to watch the show now. And I think that some of the best television and entertainment are the ones that really feel real, they feel authentic to to live experiences, even if the exact experience that's on screen isn't necessarily one that you yourself have experienced, you're like, I've gone through something like that, or I've seen that a show that I've been watching lately is Kim's convenience, which is from the Canadian broadcast channel, I think. But that's about a Korean immigrant family, in Canada, and it's about just the story of this family and the different things that each of the family members encounter. And I've heard that even people who aren't, you know, Korean immigrants to Canada, if you are Asian American, or if you are the child, in an immigrant family, you will recognize elements of that show that speak to your experience growing up. And there's something really powerful and relatable about that. That then I think, also opens up doors to allowing us to think about how it speaks to our work or to to other things that we do in our lives. And I remember, like just seeing things in Kim's convenience, where I was like, oh, you know, this relationship between these two characters, whether it be you know, a father and son or mother and daughter or daughter and son or whatever else, I'm like, Oh, I've seen that I felt that before. Or, you know, the, in the show, there is a time when it's just very clear that like, oh, the the father's friends that that he meets, they're all other immigrant men, right. And there's this sort of like this bonding experience that they collectively have, even though they all also don't always get along with each other. And that speaks to reel to reel experience. And interestingly enough, there's, you know, there is a church and the pastor makes it of their church makes an appearance in some episodes. And there's this interesting, there's an episode later on, where the mom is always praying. And then bad things happen to all the people that she prayed for. And so she thinks that Jesus must have, you know, some vendetta against terrorists or something like that. And it like really tears her up inside. And so and it's in the show, in its own way speaks to like, oh, what does it mean when like, you pray for something, and it doesn't seem to work. Like that feels very real. So I appreciate forms of entertainment that allow us to feel relatable experiences and see them portrayed on screen because it validates the things that we live through. And there's something powerful to that.


29:13 – Simon Doong

Yeah. Always said there needs to be and this might be something I do, but I always said there needed to be like, church. There needs to be like a serious, like, drama D about church life. I don't know that look like but something of that nature. And because I do think there are there's a lot of portrayals of like church and and the TV world and movie world that just simply not accurate. And it's not how every you know, it's not how every denomination does thing or every tradition does something. But there are there is something to say about the influence. The the entertainment world has on people and I just, I just got done listening to another podcast today. And they were talking, you know about they were talking to an author of a book and, and she was just like, I don't think people realize the power of, you know, entertainment, and how messages come across and how it impacts people's everyday lives. And I'm worth I'm watching the Morning show right now. And the fact that the same people are, are that, that do a show every day and people watch it and how much say so people have, you know, on television and in movies, like it does, it just, it just naturally seeps into your life, and you just kind of automatically connect that to, you know, to your experience, or the spirit experiences of the church, or how I can actually, like, enhance your work. And if we took it seriously, like, some people might look at this question and be like, Oh, Ted, last I really, you're gonna talk about that, or the show you were just talking about, which is a great show, I've seen it and, or any kind of show or movie. You know, like Doom just came out. And I love that kind of stuff. Love. It was a great movie. And I'm glad there's gonna be a part two. But But I do think even within, even within stuff like that, I mean, we had authors who wrote fictional fantasies that spoke to the moralities of people's lives. And they were involved, I mean, CS Lewis, and all these other all these other are our authors writing this stuff. And I just wish it was taken. Seriously. I mean, we took it seriously The Chronicles of Narnia because it was CS Lewis. And I think he was first known as a theologian first, and then came out with this, the Chronicles of Narnia, but I think fictional writers out there, science fiction, specifically queer fiction writers and writers of color, we all need to be reading that. And that's what needs to be depicted in movies. And that's what needs to also get its play and TV roles and TV shows, because that just opens up people to so many different ways of thinking about faith and morality and, and other people's experiences. So that is the first thing I tell people to do. They're like, how do we what are ways we can be anti racist. And I always say, I was like, go to the fiction, go to the writers of color, the queer writers, and read their fiction read the worlds that they want to see in the world. And that is where you, for me, that's where a lot of the, you know, like the morality comes from that we can take and put in the church.


33:14 – Simon Doong

I think people have gotten a couple, a couple of shows a couple of movies, maybe some books, to think about checking out. But yeah, it's not just about representation, either. It's about really understanding sort of the experiences and hopes and dreams of, of individuals and communities. So a lot of good things for people to think about.


33:43 – Simon Doong

So joining us today, we have a very, very special guest. This is a colleague of ours, who I always enjoy working with and talking with. Joining us today is Sue Rheem the Presbyterian representative to the United Nations at the office, which is called the Presbyterian ministry at the United Nations. Sue, thanks for being with us today.


34:06 – Sue Rheem

Thanks for inviting me. I'm so happy to be here.


34:09 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, it's good to see you, Sue. It's been a little while since we've seen each other. But it's yeah, thank you for joining us today. And we have a question for you from a listener who recently learned that the PC USA has an office at the United Nations. Not many people may know that. But we do and they want to know why and what does this office do? Does the UN really listen to the church and the faith community?


34:36 – Sue Rhee,

Yes, that's a question I been asked a lot. Actually, not many people know that the church has an office at the Wynn but we do and we have been mandated by the General Assembly of TC USA, to advocate for those policies at the United Nations and we do that because we have a seat at the table, we have accreditation with the UN, ECOSOC, which is the Economic and Social Council. And so it allows us actually to make written statements and oral statements at the UN, and be part of the proceedings and be able to take part in the policymaking of the United Nations, and allows us actually to interact with the missions to talk to the ambassadors and the representatives, to advocate for the policies that the church feels very strongly about, and social justice for our partners and our families in other churches around the world, as well as the church's policies here at home.


35:47 – Simon Doong

So it's kind of sounds like people may be aware, we had Christian Brooks, who's the representative for domestic issues at the office of public witness in DC. So PCUSA has this amazing advocacy office in DC, and another amazing advocacy office, at the UN advocating the policies of the church and Sue, and your experience working with ambassadors and representatives at the UN and also with, you know, partners who are part of other faiths or ecumenical groups. Does does the UN, the UN as an institution or as a community really listened to the church or the faith community?


36:27 – Sue Rheem

Yeah, thanks for that question. We, we have had good interactions with the UN community as a whole, because I think we have built a reputation over time that the churches are there before conflict happens during when the conflict happens, and after the conflict happens so that we are a mainstay, that we really do care about the people and the issues that are happening on the ground. And so the missions and the UN staff, they do really rely on us to provide them with accurate information with information that they know to be true and are accountable. And so we are very much valued for the services that we bring, and for the ways that we we lift up what's happening on the ground in those places. And the other thing too, about the UN is is that at the creation, the ecumenical community, the global ecumenical community was very, very instrumental in bringing about forums in which this this grand experiment was coming together and took very strong interest in how the charter was put together, the UN Charter was put together. So various partners within the ecumenical community made a lot of input into the language and put in language, for instance, on human rights and injustice issues and social issues. And so there was a really strong grounding in how the UN came came about. And so that has continued over time. And it's kind of manifested in the sense that we are housed in a building that is owned by the United Methodist women's. So we, our offices are in the church center at the United Nations. And it's a building where many of the ecumenical offices are, and we work together as an ecumenical community to work for the policies that the churches are working on, whether it's Syria, or Israel, Palestine, or you know, regional issues like African issues like Cameroon or DRC, or places in Latin America, like Colombia, for on thematic issues on cases of issues of gender, and human rights and migration. And now climate. So we all work together in concert, because it isn't working together that we can really make greater impact. So our church community and ecumenical community and also a greater interfaith community work together, you know, actors of faith, to do this work together.


39:26 – Lee Catoe

And and we were just talking before this, the Ministry of ministry at the United Nations is now a staff of all women. And we were just talking about how women have been a vital role in the creation of the UN and you just mentioned that, you know, the United Methodist Women have a building there. And so I just wanted to lift that up and just let people know that that is something that is that is great and awesome and doing great work in that but we just got done talking about that and I wonder if you could kind of what we were just talking about, if you could tell our listeners how that has kind of shaped the work you do, cuz I know it's kind of opened up a lot more points of view than then maybe it has in the past.


40:13 – Sue Rheem

Yeah, I mean, as we were saying it, it wasn't intentional, but it came about. Very recently, we are now a staff of four. There's myself and IV lopud, d tau, who's the Mission Specialist and then Young Adult Volunteer, Leah Brooks, and then a seminarian Angelina Divini. Stowe, and she, along with the three of us, are a team of four. They're young women, I'm not a young woman, but coming together to really look at things from a gender lens, I think that happens, has happened sort of automatically. But we're seeing things a little differently than we had in the past when we've had colleagues who are male, not to not to disparage anybody. But it's it's actually something that we've been working towards lifting up more than I think the church knows us a lot by the work that we do with a Commission on the Status of Women. So we've always been very strong on gender issues. But what this has allowed us to do is really look at issues from I think gender, but also from a young person's perspective as well. And that's been enlightening. As we look at climate now and the impact that it's had having on young adults and youth. And also looking at it, I think they will sort of look at a little bit more on how it impacts women and girls, actually, because the the theme for next year CSW is gender and climate. And what we've learned in our research is that the climate change the impacts of climate change really disproportionately affects girls and women more than any other population. And of course, in that even more, so women and girls of color, and indigenous peoples. So those are things that we really want to highlight. But one of the things that I think that they're working on right now is that cop 26 has coming up. That's the UN Climate Change Conference that's happening in a little over a week. And so they will be following that and raising awareness for young people so that they can find ways that they can get involved to be engaged and take an active part in the future of their future and what they can do.


42:51 – Simon Doong

So Sue is going to stay with us for our resource roundup segment to give a little bit more insight into this awareness and campaign work that the ministry at the UN is working on. So Sue, take it away. 


43:07 – Sue Rheem

Yeah, so they're going to be doing a social media campaign, Leah, and Ivy and Angelina, and they're going to be posting information, ways to get involved connections on our Presbyterian ministry at the UN Facebook page. And we will also be starting an Instagram page inaugurating that, as part of the cop 26 campaign to get more I think, younger Presbyterians involved. And we're actually working with other programs within PCUSA with the hunger program, and others who are involved with climate action to highlight what different programs are doing and lift them up as well.


43:56 – Lee Catoe

Awesome. Well, again, Sue, well, first, let us know how we can share the Instagram. You know, unbound has pretty good following. So we'll share, you'll get some followers. Yes, it really does reach a whole nother demographic. And so that's very exciting. And we'll make sure to have the links to depression ministry at the United Nations. So you can go to the link on the website. And then when you get your Instagram. Yeah, we'll have that up there too. So we are really grateful to us too, for the work that you are doing, and for joining us on our podcast.


44:32 – Sue Rheem

Thank you so much. And thanks so much for the work that you do in spreading the word. It's a new format, and I think it's just fantastic. So thank you.


44:43 – Simon Doong

Yeah, thank you. Thanks, Sue.


44:50 – 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 podcast at PC usa.org We look forward to hearing from you. See you next time. See you next time y'all.


45:27 – Simon Doong

Thanks everyone for tuning in to Episode 37 of a matter of faith a Prezi podcast. Don't forget to subscribe, like, follow, you know, whatever you need to do to support the podcast in that way. It really helps the podcast out and helps us keep bringing great content to you.


45:44 – Lee Catoe

And don't forget to leave us a review preferably five stars because it really does help


45:49 – Simon Doong

And if you have a question, you can submit it to faith podcast at peace usa.org We look forward to hearing from you.