Environmental Book & Movie Events
Please join us in a discussion of the book What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City by Mona Hanna-Attisha.
This is the inspiring, gripping story of how pediatrician Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, alongside a team of researchers, parents, friends, and community leaders discovered and proved that the people of Flint, Michigan were being exposed to lead in their tap water. It uncovers how misguided policies, broken democracy, and bureaucratic indifference led to an unnecessary choice that put an entire city at risk and how this doctor and activists alongside of her had to battle their own government and subsequent backlash to reveal the truth. This is the ongoing story of a city fighting for justice, self-determination, and a quest to build a better world for all children.
If you have enjoyed listening to audio books or have never tried it, I recommend giving this book a listen via audible.com, particularly because it was read by the author. Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s scientist Iraqi parents immigrated to the U.S. as dissidents that fled during Saddam Hussein’s regime. She grew up in Michigan and ultimately became a pediatrician and associate professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. I found her book moving, not just because of the astonishing events around the detection and ongoing use of contaminated Flint River tap water, but because of the stories shared from Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s upbringing and immigrant experience. Her inflection as she recorded her own book lends gravity, humor, and tenderness to moments throughout the book; I highly recommend it.
Come discuss this book and the Flint, MI water crisis at 1:00 pm Sunday, April 28. Please let Karen know via text, call (763-350-4375) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you intend to participate.
ONE DOES WHAT ONE CAN
~ Rev. Cameron Trimble
We are finally to the season of Advent. Sometimes we say that Advent is about waiting for the birth of Jesus, but that implies that we are just sitting around, waiting for the time to pass. Advent isn’t passive. Lived well, Advent is the time when we are most active, most alert, most awake, most in tune with the world because we are expecting God to break through into our lives.
A couple of years ago, I went to go hear Anne Lamott host a book reading of her book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. She wrote it after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, in an attempt to make sense of such a senseless tragedy. One of my favorite lines from the book is, “There can be meaning without things making sense.” The woman who introduced her said that reading Anne Lamott was like tasting “literary wasabi.” What a beautiful way to put it. At the reading, Anne chose to read to us about her definition of hope. She read:
“Every time we choose the good action or response, the descent, the valuable, it builds, incrementally, to renewal, resurrection, the place of newness, freedom, justice. The equation is: life, death, resurrection, hope. The horror is real, and so you make casseroles for your neighbor, organize an overseas clothing drive, and do your laundry. You can also offer to do other people's laundry, if they have recently had any random babies or surgeries.
We live stitch by stitch, when were lucky. If you fixate on the big picture, the whole shebang, the overview, you miss the stitching. And maybe the stitching is crude, or is unraveling, but if it was precise, we’d pretend that life is just fine and running like a Swiss watch. This is not helpful if on the inside our understanding is that life is more often the cuckoo clock with rusty gears.
My pastor, Veronica, one Sunday told the story of a sparrow lying in the street with its legs straight up in the air, sweating a little under its feathery arms. A warhorse walks up to the bird and asks, 'What on earth are you doing?' The spirit replies, 'I heard the sky was falling, and I wanted to help.' The horse laughs a big, loud, sneering horse laugh, and says, 'do you really think you are going to hold back the sky, with those scrawny little legs?'
And the sparrow says, 'One does what one can.'"
What a great definition of hope: just being open to doing what one can and inviting God in to do the rest.
I want to be clear about this: I believe is that God longs to break into each of our well-protected lives to teach us about hope, love, joy and peace – right now.
If anything, Advent is the time we must wake up to live in the present – to live the life God has given us right now. Refuse to live yesterday over and over again. Resist the temptation to save your best self for tomorrow. Do not put off living the kind of life you meant to live.