The concept of interconnectedness, collective, communal and community is central to the rest theories that support this work. I pose the question: can we find liberation by collectively napping, resting and disrupting grind culture? I believe we can and I have witnessed it in the quiet moments during our Collective Napping Experiences and immersive workshops. I am pondering all the ways in which our collective liberation and accountability are tied to truly shifting the culture around rest. I wrote a large integrative paper while in graduate school for a class called Care of Souls in 2016. In it, I examine the work of Howard Thurman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and James A. Vela-McConnell. I uplift my personal experiences of radical community during my father’s sudden death in 2006, while defining the ways in which these authors illuminate the potential of producing global change through a radical understanding of interconnectedness. This is an excerpt from the paper. I am meditating on the idea of Interconnectedness and Liberation as I prepare for our Resurrect Rest School programming.
The tribe surrounded me and my families every move. My mama, the new widow after 40 years of loving this man, was tended to like a newborn baby. Her eight brothers and sisters flew in from all over the country to be her witness and to lament with her. To cook her grits in the morning, to lay in the bed with her, to camp out in the basement on couches and floors. If she needed anything, it was there in one second. This is sacred community. This is the interconnectedness that is key to our liberation. When we stand in the gaps for each other and decide to be relentless in our support and witness, we can shift oppression. The beauty of this reality is that it repeats itself in many forms on our journey in life: childbirth, graduations, in protest marches, at weddings, in classrooms, with strangers on public transportation, in elevators, in courtrooms, in church pews, on war fields, on streets in gang territory, and in death. We are intimately tied to each other. We find God through each other.
Given this experience of seeing the work of interconnectedness in action, how is our interconnectedness related to our liberation as black people in an oppressive society? How can those living in the margins activate the power of mutuality for our collective healing against racism and oppression? Can an encounter with community lead us to liberation?
How could an interconnected and radical embrace of community serve as a form of liberation? How can we build a fortress of care and live into our role as neighbor? “It really boils down to this: That all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. This is the way our universe is structured. That is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality(King, 254).” This is key for our understanding today as we navigate the system of racism and white supremacy in America. I believe that our very survival spiritually rests in community. We are nothing without each other.
If you are interested in digging deeper into these themes, I have added a small bibliography. As we build our Resurrect Rest School, we will have an opportunity to study the work together.
In Rest and Power – Your Faithful Nap Bishop Tricia Hersey
King, Martin Luther, Why We Can’t Wait (London: Penguin Books, 1964).
King, Martin Luther, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” In A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., edited by James Melvin Washington.
Thurman, Howard, “The Inwardness of Religion.” In The Creative Encounter, 19-55.
Vela-McConnell, Who is my Neighbor: Social Affinity in a Modern World. (New York: State University of New York Press, 1999), 1-14