Community organizing is often hard and contentious work. How can people stay committed when the world becomes overwhelming?
In this episode, writer and congregational organizer Nicholas Tangen describes how observing the natural world is connected to his work for justice within the ELCA church. Nicholas has relied on birdwatching as a spiritual practice during the pandemic and in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing in his city of Minneapolis. The birds remind him that there is a wide diversity of gift and strengths needed in movements for social change. In this interview, Nicholas also speaks about his role as a scribe in the ELCA justice movements and how Benedictine spirituality has been important in sustaining his work.
Topics and resources discussed in this episode:
- Writing for social change
- How white, mainline denominations can engage in justice movements
- Food insecurity among college students
- Sanctuary network through ISAIAH
- The sanctuary congregation movement in the ELCA
- George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis
- Grief and lament during the COVID-19 pandemic
- The Oblates of Saint John’s Abbey
Nicholas Tangen is a writer, congregational organizer, and avid birdwatcher in Minneapolis, MN. He is a graduate of United Theological Seminary and works in an ELCA Congregation near the University of MN. In May 2019, Nicholas participated in the Collegeville Institute workshop Writing for Mystic Activists. Subscribe to Nicholas’ newsletter on his website and follow him on Twitter.
Ellie Roscher is a writer, theology teacher, and host of the Unlikely Conversations podcast. She is a board member at the Collegeville Institute and the author of 12 Tiny Things, Play Like a Girl, and How Coffee Saved My Life. Ellie holds an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and sons. Follow Ellie on social media at @ellieroscher [Twitter, Instagram, Facebook].