Ruth Woodliff-Stanley

Holy Days

Trinity Sunday

Something New

June 7, 2020

Revised Common Lectionary

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Paintbox. If you're new to the site, you can learn more by visiting the about page. Each week you'll find links to interdisciplinary lessons followed by my collecting question for the week and then my personal reflection.

On this Trinity Sunday, I am compelled by the understanding that our most basic spiritual reality envisions the co-existence of the one and the many in an eternal, dynamic relationship of love. I am moved to consider how we might make this Trinitarian experience ours in a deeply divided, unjust world.



History & Culture

A Powerful, Disturbing History of Residential Segregation in America

David Oshinsky

New York Times

New York Times book review summarizing Richard Rothstein’s chronicle of white America’s systematic exclusion of black Americans from property ownership and wealth accumulation.

Reflect on the fact that the wealth amassed by white Americans is, on average, at least 10 times that of black Americans, and consider how the history Rothstein outlines led to this outcome.

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Arts & Architecture

Gehrard Richter Tapestries

Gehrard Richter

The Gagosian Gallery

Images of four tapestries entitled Abdu, Iblan, Musa, and Yusuf (all 2009) by Gerhard Richter.

Notice the complexity and unity of the Musa tapestry.

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Arts & Architecture

Nwa by Ifé


you tube

Lullaby performed by Ifé

Listen to the beauty of this expression of singing the blues all through the night, as a lullaby.

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Is it possible to begin again?


We are in a spiritual crisis four hundred years in the making. A crisis born of humans owning humans, born of the Trail of Tears, born of systematic redlining and deliberate exclusion from the building of equity for whole peoples, born of the roots of our criminal justice system and its rampant abuses to satiate an appetite for othering, for violence, and for profit. Is it any wonder that our fabric is tearing apart? Is it any wonder that people are finding it challenging to see the light in the eyes of their human siblings? Is it any wonder that people are raging?

Consider the history of disparity in the amassing of property and wealth that Rothstein outlines in today’s history and culture lesson.

Collectively, we need a capacity we lack.

Today is Trinity Sunday in the Church. In the doctrine of the Trinity, we assert that the Divine is both one and many in a co-eternal relationship of love. The three persons of the Trinity do not negate the unity of one God, and the oneness does not compromise the distinctness of the three.

It is this capacity to become one people, woven together into a single fabric, while strengthening our distinct threads, that we need. In our better moments, we have aspired to weave such a fabric. Like the tapestries of Gehrard Richter, such a true weave of interplay between the many and the one stirs the soul (see the first arts and architecture lesson). When we have caught glimpses of this potential in ourselves, even for a moment, it gives us hope. But we have never had this capacity as a nation in any sustained way.

So now, in these nights, as our cities burn, the blues are our only lullaby. Ifé gives us the music for our times. Listen in today’s second arts and architecture lesson.

The substitute we have accepted for the true fabric is unraveling at the seams. And its unraveling is revealing the truth of where we are.

This is why we must go back to the foundations and begin again. There is no patch that will mend the tear. It is time to weave something new.