Aftertalk has been a place for us to take the things we are experiencing in worship and what we are uncovering about our call as Godâ€™s people, and figure out how to work it into our lives together. Itâ€™s a place for sharing and conversation. Invariably when I have attended I leave with a new understanding of someoneâ€™s story and gifts, and a new understanding about Godâ€™s work in my own life.
We held a special summer Aftertalk on July 24th. There was so much going on in the world that seemed to be calling for a conversation. There were the shootings in Baton Rouge and Dallas. There were political conventions that seemed to cast us as a people deeply divided.
So we talked together on the 24th and here are a couple of things that I heard:
This is a time of possibility. We are aware of things that we werenâ€™t before and folks are talking together about these things. What had been feeling dark and hard started to feel a little different. It started to feel like perhaps there is possibility in the numbers of folks who are starting to talk about gun violence and systemic racism and hateful speech and actions.
Listening for understanding is key. This is a theme that has been coming up again and again during Aftertalk this year. In fact Aftertalk is this very thing. We come together to listen to understand. We come together because even if we hold different opinions we honor and respect the story and the humanity of the person we are with and we know that God moves in creative ways in the space between us.
We want to do something. I heard that its time put ourselves in situations where we get to be with folks who hold very different worldviews and who have stories that we need to understand. Itâ€™s time to do this listening in very intentional and more widespread ways. For me this means grabbing one or two buddies from Aftertalk and visiting events or gatherings that I might not normally attend. I aim to go not to critique and convince others of my opinion but to listen and understand some stories of the folks there.
After-talks will resume in the fall. We will check in then about this summer conversation and we will talk about other things that come up for us individually and as a community. We may, if the spirit moves, gather before then. Weâ€™ll give lots of notice if it seems like another summer Aftertalk is needed so that you can join us.
In the meantime, here is one site that helps in this conversation over racial understanding and reconciliation: crackingthecodes.org