As I’ve mentioned before, one of the gifts of my work is getting to read what I edit. A few months ago, I was privileged to support the work of the Rev. Dr. Barbara Holmes by editing her latest book, Crisis Contemplation: Healing the Wounded Village, which has just been published. In today’s post, I want to share my thoughts on a few lines from her excellent reflections on the need for contemplation in the tough times, not just the scheduled times of calm and quiet in our lives.

On page 89, Barbara Holmes writes:

Our lifelong efforts to map our uniqueness do not defeat our collective connections. Although I am an individual with a name, family history, and embodiment as an African American woman, I am also inextricably connected to several “villages” that reflect my social, cultural, national, spiritual, and generational identifications. These connections require that I respond and resist when any village is under assault.

By “village,” Barbara Holmes means the various groups and communities to which we belong, ranging from the neighborhood where we live to the family and friendship networks that, courtesy of the Internet, range across countries and even around the globe. Also comprising “villages” are our culture’s social constructs, defined and delimited by aspects such as faith tradition, skin color, and gender identity.

When I read her paragraph in Crisis Contemplation, I realized the deep spiritual truth in her statement that we must “respond and resist when any village is under assault.” This is the underlying reason for my persistent racial equity work, and my continued posting here about this subject. We are “inextricably connected,” as is especially evident in our social media, news, and the global changes in our climate.

So, what is crisis contemplation? Of course, I suggest you get the book and read for yourself. However, I will say that it’s about expanding our concept of contemplation, which is so much more than sitting in a quiet room and letting go of all thoughts or seeking a deeper connection with God. For me, it’s about recognizing that those times of silent, still contemplation prepare us for turning to God in the moments when we find ourselves in crisis. Whether it’s a broader crisis like recent floods across the world or a familial crisis such as a cancer diagnosis, God wants to be connected with us in every moment of our lives.

Have you ever spontaneously experienced crisis contemplation? What happened?

How are you called to “respond and resist when any village is under assault”?

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