September 2017

Two Timely Stories

Dictators seem to be busy at work in many countries these days. That one in North Korea is particularly nasty, but the others are all pretty nasty, too. Well, I have a book going into the library about dictators that you might find instructive.  Yes, I have.

Written 15 years ago, Talk to the Devil, Encounters with Seven Dictators, by Riccardo Orizio, consists principally of seven interviews that he was able to arrange as an Italian reporter and writer.  (Kim J-U. is not among them.) It is about evil, and it is about the world views of these highly self-centered individuals who see their actions as absolutely the right thing to do under the circumstances, even when there have been years and decades of global moral outrage in opposition. I studied abnormal psychology a bit in college; one could also say it is about that.

On a more pleasant note I call your attention to the movement in the PC(USA) urging the creation of many new worshipping communities. Since I have been especially community-conscious in recent years, I have been watching closely. After hearing Ryan Althaus lead our worship recently, I asked him to please come back and tell us more stories of the communities he has been working with.

I also see a broader community consciousness these days in the three Christian periodicals we receive regularly in the library. There is community-building being reported right around churches themselves. There is community-building being reported in our international mission programs as we, the PC(USA), connect and collaborate in new ways with various ecumenical and non-religious assistance organizations. The sheer amount of this networking I read about is sometimes mind boggling.

I also want to tell you that back in 2010, when I was shopping at Reach and Teach one time, I found two wonderful posters on community that I am pleased to have had on display in our Fireside Room ever since then. They are entitled How to Build a Community and How to Build a Global Community. Each one has about 40 things a person can do, even little things like “Turn off the TV” and “Talk to strangers.”  What is timely about this story is that on the day of our union worship at First Baptist Church, my friend Craig of the Reach and Teach store told me that these two posters are selling better than ever these days.  That made my day.

For me, building and growing large caring communities is a high priority task in my faith.


Rudy Dyck, Librarian