After Epiphany: Ordinary, Yet Not


We’ll be in this paradoxical ordinary-yet-unordinary time until early March, when Lent begins. We’ll continue reading through the Apocrypha through the first week in Lent, at which point we’ll begin reading through the Gospels in Matthew. As for 1 Maccabees, which we’re reading this week, deSilva summarizes: “This is the story of an attempt to transform Jerusalem into a Greek city and to make Judea more fully a part of the larger Greek world, the violent suppression of traditional Judaism, and the successful resistance on the part of faithful Jews.” (p. 28) Coblentz Bautch notes, “Readers might understand 1 Maccabees to offer a portrait of resistance and a celebration of liberation from colonial powers abusing a native population,” even as it neglects the stories of women and others on the margins of political power (p. 438). Of course our experience of history, as is life, is an interpretive selection of events – or a selective interpretation of events – that is to say, contextual.

In what ways have you felt the need to resist assimilation into a dominant culture?

For 2019 T+P+A will continue to read the book The Lifelong Activist by Hillary Rettig, but in the framework of a Big Read. Have you ever heard of a Big Read or community-wide read? There are many forms that big reads or community-wide reads take, some in the form of a book club, but what they tend to have in common is the community reading one book over time for the purpose of building community relationships, giving participants, some of whom may not initially have much in common, a starting point of dialogue. For the idea of community-wide reading projects we thank Nancy Pearl, that librarian and author who developed the first of these, “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book,” in 1998.

And so as we embark upon this new framing of what we have already been doing, I invite you to begin or continue reading this excellent book (the entirety of which is freely available online, one of the reasons why I chose it), and to do so with the spirit of not only what this book means to you, but also what it could mean for the communities of which you are a part that go beyond T+P+A, to encourage your friends to begin reading this book as well and discuss it either in person or online with the hashtag #TPABR. Make sure you join People of the Books, our online book club in which we discussing this book and anything else of literary interest!

We come to Part 2,  “Managing Your Time,” Chapter 6, “Success Is Not a Hobby: The One Lifestyle That Will Support Your Success,” of The Lifelong Activist, having just finished up learning about a few lifestyles that don’t support success as an activist. Rettig asks, “Which [lifestyle] is most likely to get you where you want to go? That’s easy: a lifestyle centered on achieving your Mission. In other words, one in which every major decision you make supports, or at least does not impede, your major goals.”

How does your current lifestyle either support or not support your major goals? What things will you keep doing in 2019 to move you closer toward your goals, and what things would you like to stop doing or do differently?


As we continue in this third week following Epiphany with our star words, Pastor Donna from First United Methodist Church of Stillwater, MN, offers some helpful guidance: “Live with your word, reflect upon it, journal about it, talk about it with others … [d]iscover how this Star Word may shine its light on you and on your path throughout this coming year.” The star word I drew was “fruitful.” This is one of my favorite words – I often replace “productivity” with it, as “fruitful” to me means achieving something worthwhile, rather than simply accomplishing tasks.

How is your star word shining its light on you and your path so far?


Have you found your local FBCO, seen what they’re up to, and introduced yourself to one of their organizers? If not, use the map below to get connected!

Check out the Find Your FBCO Map to find your local faith-based community organizing affiliate and connect with the people who are working together to live out their dreams of a more just world! What’s going on in your living of the Gospel? Let us know in the comments, in our e-mail discussion group, or on social media.