Story Seeking: A Living Blog by Fran Carr
The First Post
I am inspired by the daily emails I get from Heather Cox Richardson, “Letters from An American” to create this blog, “Story Seeking.” It’s a platform to bring together the threads of stories I am following and my question to make sense of American today.
We are a divided country. Divided by rural and urban, Red and Blue, Black and white, rich and poor, and how we are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Underneath it all runs a deep and passionate love for America. My goal in this time is to tap into that passion and bring the connections between us to the surface.
Today is Monday, August 24, 2020. It’s the 165th day of our family quarantine, the 1,312th day of the Trump Administration. There are 71 days until the election.
Churches in the Time of COVID I spent the weekend writing about how churches on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation and the Rosebud reservation are dealing with in-person and hybrid on-line services. The story will run in this week’s issue of the West River Eagle. I am going to follow up with a story on how churches are adapting to the challenges of new technology.
The story touches on themes of church autonomy, sacramental theology, and the of meaning corporate worship. It also touches on indigenous sovereignty, racism, and poverty. Poverty impacts people’s ability to access technology and their resistance to disease. There was more than I could fit into 800 words of a piece that was simply a report on what churches are doing. I’ll post my 1500 word version on Goat Rodeo.
The issue must be in the zeitgeist because I heard this piece on Hear and Now today about the impact of the pandemic on giving and attendance, “1 In 5 Churches May Not Survive The Pandemic. One Pastor Says His Congregation Isn’t Giving Up.” My interview with Lutheran Free Church pastor Mark Richardson raised many of the same issues.
I also heard this great testament to the power of coming together and listening to God from Pastor Robert Turner of the Vernon AME Church in Tulsa. Listen to it. It’s wonderful language and view into one man’s way of listening to God and hearing God’s desires for the world in the time of COVID.
Understanding Conservatism In my journalistic beat I cover national and South Dakota politics and the intersection of indigenous and colonial cultures in policies, art, activism, food and culture. Since I began covering Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota, I have become interested in understanding how the other side of the political divide thinks. Kristi Noem and I are a very similar demographic, but worlds apart. This is an ongoing theme.
I read this excellent post by Shannon Welch on the impact of population density today. The author makes the case that the North American continent has so much less population density that other continents and therefore the idea of individual rights is ingrained in us. She references this article from the New York Times and this one from disinformation researcher David Troy.
It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about the scene in Crocodile Dundee where Mic say New Yorkers must be the friendliest people on the planet, and she makes a case for that very dynamic in her post.
I’ve been thinking about the rugged individualism of the Western states and trying to understand them. Usually I rely on Colin Woodard’s amazing book, “American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America.” When I read this book America made sense to me for the first time. It’s helping in the time of Trump, but I’m still struggling to understand the coded language I hear from the Right.
Thanks for reading this first post and see you soon!