Theme: Life in the Spirit: The Church as a Community of Reconciliation Faculty Speaker: Dr. Mary McClintock Fulkerson, Professor of Theology and Director of the Program in Gender, Theology, and Ministry Lectionary Texts: Ezekiel 37:1-14; Psalm 104: 1a, 24-35; Romans 8:14-27; Acts 2:1-14a, 22-47
Today we heard a challenging lecture from Dr. Mary McClintock Fulkerson on the theme of reconciliation. The lecture explored the nature of brokenness and healing through an analysis of the systemic sins of racism, classism, and sexism (these were of particular interest, but not the only foci of the lecture). Fulkerson began by describing humans as finite, good creations of God made in God’s image. She asked what it means that we are broken and live in a world characterized by brokenness, a term she uses to describe the deep alienation of persons from God and neighbor (the latter, through forms of systematic social oppression). To heal these broken relationships requires redemption, restoration, and reconciliation.
“Grace is a radical gift. Grace is a gift, but grace is not just a gift, it’s a covenant.”—Dr. McClintock Fulkerson
“Idolatry is not about taking a little statue, sitting down and bowing in front of it. It’s much more subtle than that.”—Dr. McClintock Fulkerson describing idolatry as those things (apart from God) to which we cling in order to feel secure.
“You don’t need a God is being Christian is only about making the ‘right’ or moral decision. A relationship with God does more.”—Dr. McClintock Fulkerson
“Change scares people.”—A student reflecting on the challenges of reconciliation after the Durham Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope.
The day was packed full of opportunities to learn, experience, and reflect on reconciliation with the previous days’ themes in mind. After our lecture, the worship planning groups met, continuing to work on the week’s remaining worship services.
Later, we began our Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope in Durham. Our first stop was St. Titus Episcopal Church, the childhood congregation of Pauli Murray, a Civil Rights lawyer, activist, and poet, who was the first black woman ordained in the Episcopal Church, USA (1977).
Next, we drove to the Hayti Center, a performing arts center that doubles as a memorial for the loss of a thriving, historically black neighborhood that was destroyed in order to build a freeway. Hayti witnesses to the subtlety and pervasiveness of systems of oppression.
The day concluded with the second of three student-planned and led worship services. Our theme of reconciliation was addressed by our preacher and artist-in-residence Rev. Ronya-Lee, who asked that we sit with the Pentecost story, a narrative characterized by radical openness and hospitality toward the other.