In this pandemic season, we are living through days of grief, loss, violence and trauma. To counter this reality, we need rituals that embody hope, grace, healing, and lasting transformation.
As a ministry leader your task to to craft and share those rituals. For example, congregational ministers need to meaningful rituals for worship (even on youtube and zoom) every week. Activists who work on urgent social change take their rituals of protest to the streets and public spaces. And chaplains can and must do more than talk. They can offer ritual as a part of spiritual care for people who are suffering physical and emotional illness. And ministers in many settings call on ritual for navigating loss and grief. Yet those rituals of memorial are stressed by the limits of the pandemic.
How are you engaging ritual in your ministry through this hard season?
Here is a three-minute introduction to the power and urgency of engaging ritual in our ministry leadership. Pastor Ginger engages communion to help her congregation face a major rupture and find a way to forgive each other. She says her leadership was “on a firing squad.” The metaphor she chooses, points to one of the most troubling and death-dealing realities of our time. We have an epidemic of gun violence in the United States. And in fact we lead the world in gun-related deaths.
With a problem is as big and out of control as gun violence, we need every pathway toward change. We need to understand the big picture, and we need statistics to grasp the larger impact. For sure, we need stories. And, yes, we need rituals of transformation. Shane Claiborne and the “Beating Guns Tour” embodies just such a powerful transformational ritual.
In this brief introduction to engaging ritual, you can learn from both Pastor Ginger and ministers, Shane Claiborne and Michael Martin. I am so moved by the power of turning a gun into a garden tool, an instrument of death into an instrument of life, that I caught up with Shane Claiborne last week. See our conversation below!
Learning in Practice with Shane Claiborne
Shane Claiborne is a preacher, writer and lover of Jesus. He attended Eastern University, where he studied sociology and youth ministry. Claiborne is cofounder of The Simple Way. And he is currently a part of The Alternative Seminary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He serves on the board of the Christian Community Development Association. He is the author of numerous books, articles, and blogs including, Beating Guns, Executing Grace, and The Irresistible Revolution.
When I interviewed Shane, I had several issues top of mind. I wanted to know who the mentors are that formed a pastoral imagination for ritual in Shane’s life. He has a powerful list including Mother Teresa, with whom he worked in India. She and the Missionaries of Charity taught him through daily communion: you are what you eat. He has numerous other mentors and friends like John Perkins and Liz Theo-Harris. Listen and watch to learn more.
Another big concern on my mind was the recent hate crime on the campus of Union Theological Seminary. Earlier in April, someone placed a noose in the dormitory area where faculty and students live. Could Shane help us think and imagine about how to meet such a painful ritual violence with a ritual of change, transformation and care?
The number of mass shootings, and police bias and violence against Black and Brown bodies and communities, and high profile Chauvin trial were all on my mind. I tried to ask about recent headlines, but stumbled a little in my question. Here is just one round up of gun-related shootings earlier in April. The problem is urgent and epidemic. Religious leaders, we need you to expand your imagination about how to respond.
Of course, as is my practice, I asked Shane Claiborne about the questions he lives by and the ones he wrestles with. He laughed, but he shared very important questions that animate his life. What does love require of me right now? That is enough of a question to keep us busy for a lifetime.
What questions do you live by?
— Three Minute Ministry Mentor (@3MinuteMin) April 26, 2021
We also talked about the books he is reading. Here are a few of his recent “must read” books. Watch to learn what other books he says are crucial right now.
Jemar Tisby’s newest book, How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey toward Racial Justice
Anthea Butler’s latest, White Evangelical Racism
Beth Allison Barr’s brand new, The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth
Please RSVP today! We are planning a great book launch party and we want YOU to be part of it! “Engaging Ritual” and 49 other big ministry topics are featured in my new book. Pre-order Pastoral Imagination today! 🙂