Ever since our Thursday Lenten series on money and possessions ended we’ve been continuing to meet on Zoom each Thursday at 6 pm to discuss some intersection of faith and culture. We’ve watched shows, listened to podcasts, and had really good discussions. This week will be our last Thursday faith and culture discussion and I think we should end it on a timely subject: religion and nationalism.
“A Buddhist monk becomes a martyr.” That was the chant repeated in English and Vietnamese by a Buddhist monk who watched another Buddhist monk, Quang Duc, immolate himself on a street in Saigon on June 11, 1963 to protest of the repression of Buddhists by South Vietnam’s president Ngo Dinh Diem. There were political as well as religious implications to this act, which led to other Buddhist monks burning themselves on the streets. That led to a series of protests by the largely Buddhist population, and the escalation of repression by Pres. Diem. All of this led to a tragic outcome in a tragic war, and foreshadowed similar religious protests which sparked our own civil rights movement.
If you’re willing, I’d like us to watch and discuss a part of Ken Burns’ documentary “The Vietnam War,” found on Netflix. We’ll focus on the roughly last twenty-five minutes of Episode 2 “Riding the Tiger, 1961-1963.” While you’re welcome to watch the whole episode, our conversation will focus beginning around the 59:34 point and lasting until the end. This segment contains pictures and film of Buddhist monks immolating themselves, and can be difficult to watch. How we understand the place of religion in society, where we demand justice and fairness, what we expect from politicians, are all questions which we still struggle to navigate. Quang Duc began a movement that dramatically changed life in Vietnam, and caused millions of people, Vietnamese and Americans, Buddhists and Catholics, to reflect on their faith and how to live it out. It’s worth a conversation for us too.
Gathering Online: https://bit.ly/TCZoom
Tuesday Checkin on Zoom @ 6 pm
Join Thomas and Kelley on Zoom. This is a time to check-in or just say hello.
Thursday Theology & Pop Culture on Zoom @ 6 pm
Join us as we explore our faith through popular culture. This week you are invited to watch the last 25 minutes of Episode 2 “Riding the Tiger, 1961-1963” of Ken Burns’ documentary The Vietnam War found on Netflix.
Sunday Evening Prayer on Zoom @ 6 pm
Join us on Zoom for a service of prayers and scripture.