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Featured Book for June 2022

Staying Awake: The Gospel for Changemakers

by Tyler Sit

Jesus asks his followers to stay awake, which begs the question: stay awake to what?

Staying Awake is a practical exploration of Christianity for people who want to show up for justice and stay in the movement. Discover nine essential practices to transform you for transforming the world. Complete with stories, worksheets, poetry, original cartoons, and a commitment to centering queer people of color, this book is here to support you in staying awake: to God, to the evils of oppression, and to the world’s coming liberation.

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Community Questions

Staying Awake Community Questions by Claudia Love Mair

Week 1

  1. The illustrations at the beginning of Staying Awake depict Jesus asking his followers to stay awake while he prays in agony in the garden. On page xviii Tyler writes that, "... staying awake is hard work. It's easy to numb out, or get distracted, or hide in our little holes." What are some ways that people numb or distract themselves?
  2. In chapter 1 Tyler asserts that worship is love training. Describe a way you've grown in love, worshiping in a faith community.
  3. On page 8 Tyler writes about unbinding trauma from traumatic worship experiences. Have you suffered traumatic worship experiences?

Week 2

  1. In chapter 2 Tyler writes, "Sometimes I meet people who were part of the civil rights movement, and they talk as if that participation nullified any need to continue updating how they talk about race or fighting racism." (page 31). If you believe this is true, why do you think they stopped staying current in the conversation about race and racism?
  2. On page 22 Tyler quotes Ephesians 6:12. More progressive Christians interpret these "powers," as being systems and structures that humans have created to oppress people. Others see this text as being about spiritual warfare, demons we can't see. What do you believe this passage is speaking of?
  3. Chapter 2 focuses on centering marginalized voices in worship. Look at the questions on page 51. What are some ways that faith communities can begin to bring these voices forward?

Week 3

  1. In chapter 3 Tyler contrasts the hells we create for ourselves, and a compost pile, which breaks down organic materials until they become soil again. Death becomes new life. He goes on to write about landfills, where things get stuck, fermenting rather than decomposing. (page 66 and 67) What spiritual practices helped you out of the landfill and into the compost bin?
  2. Read the introduction to welcoming prayer on page 81. Try this practice and share your experience.
  3. Chapter 5 encourages us to stay awake to stillness. Page 122 lists Shabbat activities that count as rest. Which ones can you be intentional about integrating into your own day of rest?

Week 4

  1. Page 156 asks us to consider how we think about money. Take some time to ponder the considerations on pages 157 through 160. What did you learn about your relationship to money?
  2. On pages 168 through 169, Tyler gives several commitments we can make to change our relationship with money. Which ones are you drawn to? Which can you commit to?
  3. The epilogue has 25 questions Tyler asked in response to the uprising around the murder of George Floyd. Unfortunately, these deadly encounters between Black and brown people and the police continue. Thoughtfully read these questions. What comes up for you as you read them? Check in with your body. What bodily sensations are you experiencing? Now what is the work you will stay awake to do?