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Overheard at the Summer Institute

July 6, 2010

As a concluding piece on the 2010 Summer Institute, I want to share with you some compelling and thought-provoking quotes “overheard” during the dynamic week in early June that brought church leaders, lay parishioners, activists, poets, writers, musicians and thinkers to reflect together on the nature of reconciliation in a broken and divided world.  I trust that these words will nourish our Kingdom imaginations and cultivate in all of us a deeper longing for things to be made whole again.  The way things are is not the way things have to be!

On dialogue: “In a dialogue, you’re not seeking to win.”

On “The Christian Identity”: “There’s no such thing as a homogenous group. It’s a lie. It doesn’t exist. Just because you have a church of all white people, or black people or all women doesn’t mean you’re the same.”

On hope and privilege: “For those of us who are typically North American, conversations about hope are a luxury. For others, hope is an absurdity.”

On lament and hope: “Vocationally, we have given ourselves over to collectively witnessing to the hope of God. If we have the ability to lament the absurdity of hope then we reach real hope.”

On holy arguments: “I hope we pray as intently as we argue about this.”

On talking about race: “We need to have a different way to talk about racial dynamics. We have to create a new language. We’re having a twenty-year-old conversation. We’re speaking Latin and no one understands us. The problem has changed…We’re in a different place, that’s why we have to create a new language.”

On the church’s response to immigration: “We have a unique opportunity as the church. God sets the foundation for our activity and for human rights.”

On reading Scripture in a new way: “This week, I’ve been given a fresh new way of reading Scripture. Recently, I’ve been reading my Bible less and less, and the presenters made me realize that there’s something I missed in this Book that I must go back and revisit.”

On church and community: “Most churches, their focus is: ‘How can we be the best church in the community?’ We’re creating a consumer mentality in our churches! And since we’re so focused on being the best church in the community, we don’t know what’s happening [in the community around us]. We’re twenty years behind…we’ve taken our eye off the ball. We’re in the wrong battlefield.”

On providing resources for immigrants: “They say ‘I’ll let you grow the ingredients that make my pie but you can’t have more than what I give you’…The more you want out of my pie pan, the more I am threatened. You can’t have my pie pan.”

On tolerance and love: “The culture says you have to tolerate everybody but God says you have to love everybody!”

On difference and unity: “Our differences make us special, our sameness makes us whole.”

About the Author: Chris Rice is co-director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School.  He is author of Reconciling All Things, Grace Matters, and More Than Equals. He writes regularly at the blog Reconcilers.

See also:

Last 5 posts on the Reconcilers Blog:

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 8, 2010 12:35 am

    Chris, the Summer Institute was so rich and so real. I feel like I’ve finally seen a true glimpse of what it means to be a Christian. Everyone I’ve spoken to since, who was also there, has said similar things.

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