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Mountains Beyond Mountains Book Reflections

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This upcoming Sunday (September 24) we will gather after worship for lunch and discussion of one of our “Summer Sunday Book Club” readings, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It was a book I first read almost fifteen years ago as a college freshman, and it inspired me to think not just about what career God was drawing me toward but about what vocation God was calling me to fulfill. It led me to ask: What gifts has God blessed me with that are to be used in service to another and to the world?

It was also a book whose stories about the suffering of the poor and the marginalized, and the sometimes complicit role of foreign and domestic policy in that suffering, forced me to re-examine and complicate the narrative that I had always known about the world and how it worked.

It can feel risky in today’s world of sound bites and polarized political perspectives to complicate our worldview through the story and suffering of someone else. Too often we narrow the voices in our lives to those who can comfortably confirm our assumptions (or our Facebook posts!) and agree with our point of view. But God calls us to a radically different kind of community: one that risks transformation through human encounter.

Reading books, hearing poetry, examining the lenses we use to read scripture, and listening to the embodied narratives of other people helps us re-examine our own narratives and assumptions. It can also help us tell the truth about ignored suffering and even transform our world here and now.

The world wants us to believe that there is a single story, a right way and a wrong way, and yet our faith draws us toward a multi-faceted, beautifully complex creation full of diverse stories from which to learn and grow. Hope you will join us!

Grace and Peace,

Sarah

Recollections of 9/11

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PHPC Sanctuary Choir member and soloist Julie Liston Johnson shares her experiences living in New York City on September 11, 2001. She was just exiting the subway under the World Trade Center when it was hit. Listen below to her story about living through that day.

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