– Hi, I’m Bishop Brian.
Earlier this year, the Tennessee Layman’s Conference gathered, not at DuBose Conference Center in person, but they gathered virtually, as they have for many, many decades. One of the speakers to the Tennessee Layman’s Conference this past August was Greg Garrett. Greg teaches English at Baylor University and is also the theologian in residence at the American Cathedral in Paris, France. Greg was well received by the folks who participated on the layman’s conference and he and I have had some continued conversation about ways to interact with him and his work in working with Anglican theology, Episcopal theology, and all the work he’s done as a writer. And I’m excited to let you know about a project we’re going to have during Advent.
I’m inviting you to read with me, a book called A Long, Long Way, Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey From Racism to Reconciliation. This is a book by Greg Garrett, a new book published by Oxford University Press. If you think about the ways in which we, as the people of God, maybe believe we are shaped by biblical narratives, we hope we are shaped by the biblical story, but that’s not the only thing that shapes us in our world. We’re also shaped by cultural narratives, we’re shaped by family narratives and that’s where so often I think issues around racism, around prejudice shape us in ways in which we often have to use the biblical story in creative ways to upend those other narratives that shape us and distort our view of God’s dream for the world.
In this book, by Greg he will look at ways in which film, and film has shaped particular narratives around race, around racism, around anti-racism looking at just the history of cinema in the US. So, I would invite you to get a copy of Greg’s book and do it as soon as you can, and know that during Advent, we will have three Monday nights to gather on Zoom and have conversation. So, Greg and I will be joining hopefully with you, on November 30, December seven and December 14, each time at 7:00 p.m. eastern for what we envision to be about an hour conversation each week, there’ll be a chance for us to learn more about Greg, about how this book came to be and to examine some particular films that for him had been helpful in looking at how we have shaped ideas and reflections on race and how those of us working now to upend racism in our culture, and to imagine what it means to be an anti-racist church, that another way that we do this is through film, knowing that some of us are shaped deeply by film and maybe have certain ways in which film has changed our mind about the other, about the stranger.
And so know that this will be offered again in Advent, I would invite you to go to our diocesan website and know that you can look on our front page, go to events, and we’ll have more information about how to get on these Zoom calls. We will also have more information about how to purchase this book, again, A Long, Long Way, Hollywood’s Unfinished Journey From Racism to Reconciliation by Greg Garrett.
The season of Advent is a time where we look at things that are ending and things that are beginning. It’s an apocalyptic time in the church year, where we realize in those moments of endings, God’s vision for us is being revealed. So, as we continue to think about the ways in which we, as the people of God are being called to be an anti-racist church now, knowing that one thing that might be beginning for us is new ways to imagine narrative that includes all of God’s people and not simply doing that on behalf of someone, but together, and to listen to those who need to tell the story, that maybe for too long, their stories have not been heard. So, Greg’s book will help us with this.
I’m excited to introduce him to even more East Tennesseans and for this book to shape our conversation, as we entered the Advent season. Blessings on you this day and blessings as we continue to walk into God’s dream together.