The Notebook (Issue 22)

The week of November 21, 2022

Stories shape how we understand the world, informing how we perceive the interactions and patterns that imbue our relationships to people, to places, and even to ourselves. This year’s Festival of Faiths focused on the concept of sacred stories as a means of contemplation and connection. Sessions explored stories of specific faiths - Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity - while also investigating how younger generations have fundamentally altered storytelling through digital media. It asked us to reckon with our patience for listening and holding space for faiths different from our own and for people who do not look or think like us. Ultimately, the festival inspired us to consider narrative as a lens to transform pain into healing, allowing stories to become a vehicle for empathy. 

We’re reflecting on how we can - as Richard Rohr suggests - center the stories of those in the margins to inform how we engage with our privilege, our environment, and our relationships. As the holiday season rolls in, we hope you can tune your lens to examine the stories you’ve been told, the narratives you consume, and the ways you can amplify your projection of unconditional love in spite of any challenges to your comfort zone. Our takeaway has been that learning new narratives doesn’t minimize your own story; it only expands the potential for yours to flourish towards new horizons. And that, without a doubt, can only bring us all closer to finding and nourishing one other as neighbors and community. 

We’re wishing you a wonderful time with your chosen community this Thanksgiving. As always, you’re invited to share your wisdoms and insights. We look forward to hearing your reflections!

Richard Rohr's Meditation on The Prophets

“[The prophets] went to wounded places. They went to where the suffering was, to the people who were excluded from the system… Are we willing to take the risk and become prophets ourselves?” In a recent daily meditation, Rohr reflects that the prophets centered the stories of the suffering. He then asks us to consider if we are brave enough to do the same – especially in the face of beliefs that benefit our privileges. As always, Rohr’s short meditation provides both an insightful analysis and a powerful perspective. For more, click through to this timely thought piece.

🇺🇦 Volunteer Opportunities with the Ukraine Task Force 🇺🇦 

The next virtual meeting of the Louisville Ukraine Task Force is Tuesday, December 6th at 5:00 PM. For the meeting link, please reach out to us to get connected!

The Festival of Faiths was a phenomenal success!  The 26th anniversary of the festival showcased dialogues on the theme of Sacred Stories: Contemplation and Connection. The featured session – a “Think In” – brings together "local luminaries with expert panelists to begin envisioning a new story” to visualize and illustrate a “faith-informed potential future for Louisville.” All other sessions, including a fantastic session on generational shifts in storytelling, can be found within this video playlist.
The Kentucky Book Festival featured an interview with Wendell Berry on his latest book, The Need to Be Whole: Patriotism and the History of Prejudice. In conversation with Kentucky Poet Laureate, Crystal Wilkinson, this video features discussion on writing as a Kentuckian and then delves into the book’s sensitive subject matter of race. Berry also reads an excerpt on rural agrarianism from his latest book paying homage to Black authors, namely Crystal Wilkinson herself. Berry calls for the reconciliation of neighbors by noting the need to speak carefully, insisting on clarity over victory, and emphasizing the vast similarities among different races.
The University of Louisville Envirome Institute’s Newest Faculty, Dr. Rochelle Holm, and the West Jefferson County Community Task Force have collaborated to release an article in the
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

The article, entitled “Environmental Health Justice Across the Globe,” features comparative insights between two communities impacted by similar environmental issues, despite being located a world apart: Louisville, Kentucky, in North America and Blantyre, Malawi, in Africa. This publication is certainly an excellent way to celebrate Dr. Holm’s arrival to the Envirome Institute as we are certain her research will continue to inspire important discourse in the environmental justice space and beyond.

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