man standing at a fence

From Gina Dawson, Director of Christian Education: I love to read, especially books that help me understand more about people and cultures – their history, their thoughts, what makes them tick. Mostly I’ve “traveled” to places and times far away or explored the realms of how we think and process our world as humans. I never know where I will go next, letting the books “speak” to me as they take me on a journey who knows where.

Maybe it’s by reading about a place close to home that is so different from my world, or maybe it’s the tensions between different “tribes” and “bubbles” in our country, or maybe it’s just the recent electoral cycle… or all three and more, but I find that the books that are “speaking” to me now have to do with my own country, my own neighbors. We live in a multi-cultural area, but who are these neighbors that I don’t understand? What can I learn from them and how can I change my own attitudes?

This series will help us understand more about our neighbors in the US. Each of the books will contain personal stories so that we can hear their voices – What is their world like? What is different and what is the same? What do we do now? I hope you will prayerfully consider joining me on this journey, which at times may be a struggle as we come to grips with our own fears, allowing God to help us get to know our neighbors. Please contact me to reserve your spot and purchase a book (if you need one).

301-881-1881, ext. 2250


“Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right” by Arlie Russell Hochschild

July 21, 2017, 7:30-9:00pm, Room 205/206

What would it be like to cross the empathy gap? Sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild considers herself a Berkeley liberal. When she began her research over 5 years ago she was “becoming alarmed at the increasingly hostile split in our nation between two political camps. To many on the left, the Republican Party and Fox News seemed intent on dismantling much of the federal government. To many on the right, that government itself was a power-amassing elite. Since that time both parties have split their seams and Donald Trump has burst onto the scene, quickening the pulse of American political life. I had some understanding of the liberal left, but what was happening on the right?”

“Most people who ask this question come at it from a political perspective. And while I have my views too, as a sociologist I had a keen interest in how life feels to the people on the right, the emotion underlying the politics. To understand their emotions, I had to imagine myself into their shoes. Trying this, I came upon their ‘deep story,’ a narrative as felt.”

For five years, Hochschild met with people and followed their lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana (the area that had the least number of white voters for Barack Obama). She conducted in-depth interviews and observed life, getting to know their “deep story.” Are you ready to cross the empathy gap?

Read more about the book

Listen to an interview on NPR’s Hidden Brain


Future Titles

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt, Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel, Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving. As we progress in the journey, suggestions are welcome.


Previous Titles

Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love by William H. Willimon (February 24)

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (March 24)

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance (May 19)

man standing at a fence
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