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Summer Book Read

Summer Book Read: See No Stranger by Valerie Kaur  ZOOM LINK

This summer as a congregation we read Valarie Kaur’s See No Stranger: A memoir and manifesto of revolutionary love. You can find this book at the library or any bookstore in print or audiobook.

In a world that is being fragmented and shattered by animosity and enmity, what is the church’s calling? Can we find resources from other traditions to help guide us today? Valerie Kaur, a Sikh woman, has written See No Stranger, a book that gives many insights to people and communities seeking to be peacemakers in this world. Take this book with you wherever you are going or staying this summer.

Please join Racial Justice Advocates to discuss this phenomenal book. Dana Wright will facilitate a discussion in person in the Fellowship Hall and Marie Brissette will facilitate a discussion in Zoom. Please join us whether you are in town or away!

Discussions will take place:

  • Sunday, August 14th, noon to 1:30 pm (in-person and in Zoom)
  • Sunday, August 28th, noon to 1:30 pm (in-person and in Zoom)

Discussion Questions to Consider:

Ch 1

What was your experience of reading the book? What was memorable, surprising, or moving to you?

Ch 2

What would it mean to grieve as a community? We have all lost someone sometime. Think about losing a beloved family member…you grieved, your family grieved, were those processes connected? Were they the same? When a hero dies (ie, MLK) how do we all collectively grieve?? The examples above are single instances…imagine what that is like as a repetitive experience that never seems to stop.

Ch 3

When have you fought for a cause? Was the cause your own? How did you fight? Have you ever judged another’s way of fighting for the same cause? Why did you feel the need to fight…can you name why?

Ch 4 Rage

Valarie says, “Just as we need accomplices to hold protected spaces where the most traumatized among us tend to our grief, so, too, do we need accomplices to stand by us when we express our rage, and help others to understand it” (Kaur, 2020, p.134). Who are your accomplices? How can you be an accomplice in others’ rage? 

Ch 5: Listen

Valarie writes, “No one should be asked to feel empathy or compassion for their oppressors. I have learned that we do not need to feel anything for our opponents at all in order to practice love. . . We just have to choose to wonder about them” (Kaur, 2020 p.139). How do you relate to this statement? In what ways, if any, does this statement resonate or not with your experience? 

Ch 6: Reimagine

What do you think reimagining the world involves? If you could reimagine the world, built on the core values of justice, equity, and revolutionary love, what would that look like? What would that require of us, today, to build that world? 

Ch 7: Breathe

How does Valarie distinguish “love for ourselves” from other definitions of self care?

How do we transform self-love and self-care into a collective practice of love for ourselves?  

What are some ancestral practices that might guide us in breathing collectively: How did our ancestors breathe together? What were their practices and rituals? Focus on practices from your own cultures. 

Ch 8: Push

What is the role of accountability in the practice of revolutionary love? What would accountability look like for our nation and its past and present wrongs? To whom do you hold yourself accountable, and how? 

Ch 9: Transition

Valarie writes of her practice of listening to her internal wisdom, whom she names the Wise Woman. She also names her inner voicethe one who tells her “I can’t”as her Little Critic. Can you relate to these internal voices? What are some of the messages that your “little critic” tells you? What are some of the wisdoms that your wisest self has to offer you? What are the ways you know how to summon your “Wise Woman”? 

Epilog: Joy

What does the title of the book See No Stranger mean to you? What are the challenges and possibilities of “seeing no stranger” in your own life? 

A guide for additional discussion questions from the author can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZCpSEvqY3gEwHdQIlE50kjyjknXWtorl/view?usp=sharing

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