Diana Butler Bass, an American Religious scholar and preacher, wrote in her devotions last week about the holy trinity of her youth; church, public school and library. Immediately memories of my formative years rushed in as these too were foundational to my upbringing.
None of the buildings I visited as a school, library or church remain. The school and library have been demolished as new ones were built. The church building is now a honey mead distillery. Each may be in a different location, but all still remain as institutions in our culture. Bass noted how public schools, libraries and mainline churches have increasingly come under fire in our current culture. There seems to be concerted efforts to ban books, alter education and silence mainline Christianity.
I would not be the person I am today without the faithfulness and commitment of these three institutions. All were part of building my awareness and belief in such things as Holy Love, unity, common good, respect, compassion, and justice. Increasingly the motivations of our world are on individual rights, wants and beliefs and trying to get the community to bend to a small group of individual beliefs at the cost of community. I still believe and stand by such things as Holy Love, unity, common good, respect, compassion, and justice. Jesus talks about all of them repeatedly and I’ve yet to find a better guide for my living.
I still believe in these three institutions as Bass states, “So, they are worth saving. Because at their best, churches, schools, and libraries can shape the future of a diverse, inclusive democracy within their walls — for a society based in reciprocity and trustworthiness.”
Such is not a Pollyanna view of living, such is dreaming God’s dream and daring to live life boldly in the faith we have been given in the One True God. A faith which leads us beyond our individual selves into the diverse world of our Creator. I appreciated recalling the holy trinity of institutions which shaped me. What are the ones who shaped you?
Rev. Wendy Schindler-Chasney
Photo Credit: Wendy Schindler on her baptism day