This Here Flesh Notes Ch 14 Memory

Ch 14 Memory Notes

“I hope when God brings heaven down, they bring with them the storytelling circles of old-that we would all gather around the fire listening to the ancestors, singing familiar songs. I don’t want to make it to the promised land if it means I forget the wilderness” p. 172

“Memory is frail. It requires a dictate touch, a tenderness…Sometimes it is only in the hands of another a memory of another that a memory can be fully encountered…This is the beauty of collective memory.” p. 174

“I think the whole Bible is predicated on collective remembrance. You have feast and fast days, storytelling’s and most conspicuously, the Eucharist. Z shared table and shared loaf. Take, eat, drink. The Christian story hinges on ceremony of communal remembrance.” p. 174

Road to Emmaus 

“The truest memory is rarely the one that survives” p. 175

“Why do we need to remember truthfully? Because every untruthful memory is unjust memory, especially when it concerns relationships, fraught relationships of violence’ Miorslav Volf said, In this way, communal storytelling can be an act of justice.” p. 176

“When a person or group has no artifacts to reconstruct their stories, things slip away across generations. People slip away.” p. 178

“we must learn to create our own artifacts.” p. 178 White people have a lot of these, perhaps over and above storytelling

“Bible says Samuel erected a large stone so everyone would remember God had protected them.” p. 178

Hagar Genesis 16:13 The God who sees 

“Traditionally, Western Christianity has replaced Christian habits of storytelling with singular and all-encompassing testimonies of a person’s conversion to faith. This is sad to me. We must recover a habit of very specific story exchange and shared memory if we are to have robust liberation.” p. 181 

Belonging, A Prayer


Sometimes, I confess,

I look at humans and say



And sometimes I keep my sense of humor

and say only humans…

Only humans can think up silly things like money and paperwork and Time and Countries,

(I mean how do those concepts even have meaning? They are very silly when you think about them too long)

And sometimes I think I don’t belong to humanity, or maybe humanity doesn’t belong to me.

And it makes me sad. And I don’t know where to turn.

And so here I am God, turning to you, because you promise I belong to you.

And maybe to the grass and the stars and the sea–even though I’m not really a nature child.

And secretly I think maybe I belong more to books and words and imaginary worlds that don’t even exist.

But either way, God. I guess we are figuring it out.

You, me, and this silly thing called humanity,

on this place called earth.

Good thing you made us with these things called jokes–

That I admit was a good idea on your part God.

My youngest made a good one yesterday.

Want to hear it? What do you call a bee that explodes in laughter?

Bee End.

Bee End, God,


Please feel free to use/adapt/share with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

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This Here Flesh Notes Week 7 Repair and Joy

Ch 11 Repair

“I think confession is liberation” p. 137

“dismantle their delusion of heroism or victimhood and begin to tell the truth of their offense, a sacred rest becomes available to them. You are no longer fighting suspend the delusion of self. You can just lie down and be in your own sling. And as you rest, the conscience you were born with solely begins to regenerate. “ p. 137

“confession alone…serves the confessor more than the oppressed.” p. 137

“Reparations are required…what has been stolen must be returned.” p. 138

even God themself is not too bold to undo the way things were meant to be, to show the most tragic and noble reparation” p. 138

“Sincere remorse” “apologize with grave specificity…look at me…describe what in you made you do it…I want your soul to write lie it was the back of God that was cut” AND “ask to be forged” p. 140 

Forgiveness can grow slowly and unity/reconciliation can be slow and painful p. 141  (Black woman’s answer)
“I don’t know if liberation depends on our reconciliation with others, but I am certain it at least depends on our reconciliation with ourselves” peace with her body, protected her inflamed legs instead of enemies  p. 144 

Touch Christ’s Wounds?

Father’s recovery did not feel like triumph “you feel ashamed. It’s once you’re clean that you remember.” p. 145

“As we heal, the need for more healing becomes apparent to us. It is painful, but healing makes us better perceivers of what is still hurting.” pp. 145

Father has 1,000 scars that “welded his selfhood back down and delivered back to me. I am indebted to every mark.” p. 146

Ch. 13 Joy

“When your child chooses you…” p. 159

I think we were made to e delighted in. And I think it takes just as much strength to believe someone’s joy about you as it does to muster it all on your own.” p. 159 

“I think when we give ourselves to play, the scope of ours lives expands.” p. 160

“After all, it is only in anticipation of sorrow that joy seems frivolous.” p. 161

“We become so used to bracing for the next devastation we don’t have time or emotional energy to rejoice. “ p. 161 “Some of us even begin to believe we are not worthy of pleasure or play.” 

“You know it’s joy when you feel it in your entire body” p. 163 Great Grandma Hedges “built for fun”

“My gramma’s deepest experiences of joy come in moments when if feels as if something has been restored or renews. When repair happens, we must bear witness to it. Joy does that. IT trains us toward a spirituality that isn’t rife with toxic positivity but is capable of telling the truth and celebrations when restoration has indeed happened.” p. 165

Depressed, “it was not that my family wanted me happy; it was that they wanted me close. They didn’t wan for me the kind of sadness that alienates you.” p. 168

“Mine is a joy born not of laughter but of peace. That is okay. p. 169

Ezra 3:13 

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Week 6 Rage Notes

“fig tree was the private preface to the very public force of anger in the temple the face of injustice and exclusion, we meet a God of holy, premeditated, bodily, unapologetic rage.”  p. 109

“What does it mean that Christ doesn’t just scream but also physically overturns tables? What does it mean that Christ doesn’t just lament the bare fig tree but damns it, leaving his followers with gaping mouth and no immediate resolution?” p. 109

“I like that GOd doesn’t play or talk nice to the hands of injustice.” “I can name very few instances (none, arguable) of a niceness in God, and yet this is the demand of the oppressor will always make of us. p. 110

“I’ve determined I will no longer settle for mere articulation of anger. I want to feel my voice shake and the warmth cree up up my spine.” p. 111

“I remember when I first read the psalmist begin God to break the teeth of his enemies…Anger expressed in the interior life is permitted to exist in its rawest and most honest form.” p. 113

“If you read the psalms, you’ll find no small number of them committed to rage. Calling for a creditor to seize money from the oppressors, begging for bones to broken, enemies to be wiped out, their descendants punished. These imprecatory psalms were a liberation to me because they finally told me the truth—that is, I belong to a God capable of holding the ugliest parts of my anger.” p. 113

Private anger doesn’t have to be public, but our wounds can be seen, and some anger, on behalf of the dignity of others can be justified p. 114 

Justifiable Anger is amazing, but you have to have a care that it doesn’t turn to hate. Hatred should only be directed towards evil and not creation, very fragile and difficult to contain towards where its meant to be p. 114

Scream when you need to 

Week 5 Rest Notes

To rest is a special kind of power” 

Isaiah 30:15

“You say confess your sins.. Okay, and fair enough—but maybe I’m saved a little every time a I rest my eyes.” p. 148

“To cultivate habits of rest, we must discern what noise has found a way to penetrate our soul.” p. 150

“In this way the silence of God, which is so often mistaken for abandonment, may be a gift to those of us who cannot steady our sons in the vibrations of test world’s clangor.” p. 150

“Rest is not the reward of our liberation, nor something we lay hold of once we are free. It is the path that delivers us there.” p. 151

“I have to believe that if we didn’t need to protect ourselves, we would be prone to avoiding rest.” p. 152

Labor is not a gift, its a means to an end, not an avenue for flourishing p. 152

“We sleep and regenerate. Our cells begin a sacred rhythm of repair and release. And when we wake we are more whole, less inflamed, more aware. And, of course, we sleep, that we might dream.” All things promise to us in scripture. p. 153

“If Christ walked away, so can I.” p. 153

“I see the longing and despair all noun die and I think of Christ, lying in a boat with his head on a  pillow while the waves cross their craft around. Everyone is frantic, thinking death itself has come for them, and the creator of the universe is fast asleep. Glory.” p. 153-154

God was in the silence, Be still and Know that I am God

“Tricia Hersey says ‘to not rest is really being violent toward your body, to align yourself with a system that say your body doesn’t’ belong to you, keep working, you are simply a tool for our production.’” p. 155-156. 

“What if God doesn’t always want to use you? What if sometimes God just wants to be with you?” p. 156

“People think the sabbath is antiquated; I think it will save us from ourselves.” p. 156

we will not be owned…we will be free and we will be dreaming.” p. 157

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Week 4 Fear Notes

“It is rare that we ever truly behold another person’s fear’ bc people mask it.

“God is not cricitizng us for being afraid in a world haunted by so many terrors and traitors. I hear Don’t be afraid and hope that it is not a command no to fear but rather thhe nurturing voice of a God drawing near to our trembling.” p. 83-84

“Perhaps it is not the indictment of God we are sensing but our own souls turning against themselves” p. 84

“ I wouldn’t dare criticize Christ in the garden—sweating, crying pleading for God to let the cup pass from him.p. 84 This is a Christ who knew fear deeply.” My God, My God why has thou forsaken me….Or my soul thirsts for God,

“faces of fear” Past: memory and trauma, present unfolding: Pain and survival, the horror is here “nothing less to wonder but how much the horror will take form you.” p. 84

Future: abandonment, embarrassment, death, loss: the most hidden because we don’t admit these become about anxiety and control Coronavirus clung to work when we needed rest and our rhythms tend to get more and more disjointed the more we try to control Psalm 23 p. 85

“God does not bid us courage as we might perceive it. Instead, he draws us through fear’s essential sister, rest— assister who is not meant to replace fear but exist together in tension and harmony with it.” p. 86 Fear can be life saving, just don’t let it run your life 

You will not go blind. I will not let you go blind. It’s a vow that I rationally know she is incapable of making, yet this promise will still hold me if my vision goes and I come to the end of seeing before I am ready.” p. 89

“I do not consider deeply whether her vow will be kept; rather my practice is to rest in the love that compelled her to make such a promise.” p. 90Julian of Norwich Speaks of not safety but of Love

Fear communities convinces you the path is NOT love, but violence. “”Tyrants thrive in communities of fear…They’ll promise safety, power, belonging to those who require hope to attached to a person.” reverence is rooted in fear NOT integrity p. 91

Shiprah and Puah rebel with Tenderness, with babies p. 92

“Who will tremble with you?…Who will put you to sleep?…You are not foolish to fear…we’re all shaking” 

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Week 3 Notes

Children are made of awe”  Let the Children Come, Faith of the Child, Blessed are the… Faith of the Mustard Seed

“Impoverished by the honor withheld from us in childhood, we become very willing participants in childhood, we become very willing participants in a kind of spiritual maturation that honors the profound and grave, even at the expense of the simple and the beautiful.P. P. 30-31

“seeing the veils of this world peeled back again and again, if only for a moment—is no small form of salvation” p. 31 I lift my eyes to the hills 

“too enamored with the mountaintops, we should ask ourselves whether their ephor comes from love or from the experience of supremacy.P. 32

“To encounter the holy in the ordinary is to find God in the liminal.” p. 33

Simply beauty + belonging

“If you want to know if your’ve forgotten how to marvel, try staring at something beautiful for five minutes and see where your mind goes.” p. 35

“Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) p. 35 Revelation 21

Too busy, neglect babies, less perceptive to pain, we lose touch with other sensations—trauma p. 38-39

“Wonder, then, is a force of liberation. It makes sense of what our souls inherently know we were meant for” save and find hope in the mundane p. 40 favorite smell, sight, activity, hobby

Eli “I resented this for quite some time. That God would spend her time talking to people about which state to live in but would not rouse herself to tell me that she is real or that I am real. It weighs on you as a kind of injustice that God would call some so distinctly and precisely and leave the rest of us to replay our dreams five times a night just so we know which corner to hide in.” p. 43

“not all calls come from outside” p. 44

Ask young people what is true of them right now. There are parts we hide even from ourselves, and we sometimes believe lies we tell, and we sometimes embrace mirages to belong p. 45

“Any love we receive while earring the mask only affirms the belief that unmasked, we are indeed unlovable. Our shame is not resolved. It expands. p. 46

“the process of knowing the self should be relentless” p. 46 confession

“The mirage self has no concern for the sound of the genuine in you, for the body, for the mind…it wants you dead” p. 47 

“My journey to the truth of God cannot be parsed from my journey to the truth of who I am.” p. 48

“honor the sacred in our work without creating spiritual hierarchies…God is in the streets” p. 51

God in word on the page, first mathematician, first artist, washed filth from feet, “excellence may be a part of the calling, but work itself is a meeting place for the divine as we experience a God who labors alongside us.” p. 52 Jesus spits? Washing of Feet? 

Don’t forget this: Nothing is truly ever ordinary. I’m telling you, Protect the truest things about you and it will become easier to hear the truth everyplace else.” p. 55

“I cannot now name the the song, but when I hear the sound, I will recognize it.” p. 55

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Embodiment, A Prayer


Only you could encase
bone and blood
with flesh, and then say
You are made in our image.
Treat each other with inherent dignity.

What does that even mean Jesus?
Have you seen my pathetic body.
It grows in peculiar and hilarious ways,
until it starts to fall apart.
And I have to feed and water it every couple of hours.

Don’t even get me started on the sleep.

It is almost as if you made us so complicated for a reason.
It is almost as if we each body was handmade with unique flaws,
to show the creative artisanship, so that we can stop and wonder.

God, made in your image you say.

Ok, I say, let me see dignity

less as perfection

and more as embodiment.

Breathe with me God,

Embody with me Christ, I pray.


Feel free to use/adapt/Share with Credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

This Prayer also fits into a “This Here Flesh” Sermon Series Resource

Week 1: Body (Ch 5) & Dignity (Ch. 1) Notes

“Let the children Come, more than silence, Come, Laugh, Dance, cry Spirituality in body, voice, people and silence” xi
“we must repeat with regularity that to love ourselves is to survive” p. 5
“You don’t give dignity, you affirm it.” p. 11
Idolatry, “You are no longer the image of God, you are currency…how much a person can do” p. 11
“How can anyone who is made to bear likeness to the maker of the of the cosmos be anything less than glory? This is inherent dignity.” p. 7
”What does evil have to gain in tricking us to into believing we are anything less than glorious?” p. 9
Our dignity may involve our doing, but it is foremost in our being—our tears and emotions, our bodies lying in the grass, our scabs healing.”p. 12
“Or did she see her flesh for what it was holy? Weak, powerful human, and holy?
“That the creator of the cosmos would choose to rely on an embodied creation. To be grown, fed, delivered—God put faith in a body. In Mary’s muscles and hormones, bowels and breasts. And when Christ’s body is broken and blood she, we should hold in mystery that first a woman’s body was born, her blood shed, in order to deliver the hope of the world in to the world.” p. 57
“When we neglect the physical, it is inevitably suffocates the image of God who ate, slept, cried, bled, grew and healed.” And whether or not the origin of that negated is hatred, it will indeed end in hatred.” p. 60

Week 2: Place and Belonging Notes

“Collective people who bear the image of God…If God really is three parts in one like they say, it means God’s wholeness is a multitude.” p. 7
“When we neglect the physical, it is inevitably suffocates the image of God who ate, slept, cried, bled, grew and healed.” And whether or not the origin of that negated is hatred, it will indeed end in hatred.” p. 60
“God makes a home for things be fore God makes the the thing.” p. 18
“Alienation and trauma of place are best met not with dislocation but with belonging, with a defiant rootedness, even if those roots stretch out to new and safer places.” p. 19
Getting Lost can be a kind of healing “To find a manner of anonymity, to experience that dreadful thing we call ‘blending in,’ can be a kind of haven.” p. 20
“I hope God really is preparing a place for us. When God talks about getting her house ready, is she expecting us all at once? Does she have a gate, does she keep it open all through the night? Maybe she will tell me the secrets of where I came from.”
We were made for belonging…Our pining for belonging can do frenetic things to the soul.” p. 70
“I say you have to learn how to be with and part of something in order to know how to be alone.” p. 70
“We don’t just welcome you or accept you; we need you. We are insufficient without you.” p. 72
“To bear the image of God in its fullness, we need each other. Maybe each culture, every household, every community bears that image in a unique way.” p. 73
“There is something to being chosen that is uniquely healing. I communicates to the soul that one is desired not passively but with active longing.” p. 75
I wonder if God feels as alienated from as we do from him. Christ just boldly inviting himself over to houses for dinner. Roaming around telling people to stop everything and follow him. Multiplying food, but making everyone sit down in groups to eat it. He knew how to make his own belonging. Do we?” Zecheus p. 75
“But a life lived with trust only in the self is exhausting. It is not freedom; it is a yoke that falls helplessly and incessantly on you.”p. 77