The staff at North Decatur have made a commitment together to spend Lent educating ourselves about the entrenched personal and cultural racism. The General Commission on Religion and Race has compiled a list of books and resources that they recommend for folks to read. Some are books about history. Some are books about theology. Some are books about culture. All of the resources that Rev. Brian Tillman and the Commission on Religion and Race have pulled together will help us to be better informed neighbors, so that we can begin hard conversations together about how we can join in dismantling racism in our nation, our neighborhoods, and in ourselves.
Each week, a staff member will provide a recommendation for a book that they found particularly helpful. Check back each week as this list grows:
"I'm Still Here: Black Dignity In A World Made For Whiteness"
by Austin Channing Brown
Recommended by Alina Crews
When I picked up this book to challenge myself (which it did!) I never expected it to be such a page turner. But Brown's approachable writing and vulnerable sharing of her personal story made it hard to put down, and I read it in two days! Her story parallels many of my own experiences - suburban childhood, competitive schools, working in nonprofits - and yet her experience as a Black woman was incredibly divergent from mine as a white woman in the very same circles. This is a great book to pick up if you're wondering why these racial conversations are even important, this book will help you see life from someone else's perspective in an easy-to-read style.
White Rage by Carol Anderson
Recommended by Patrick Faulhaber
For the season of Lent, I am reading a book called White Rage by Carol Anderson. White Rage is an incredible book that challenges the history that I learned in school. While we covered so much of the cultural progress from slavery to civil rights, I never learned about the darker side of society’s cultural backlash to each of those moments of progress. Carol Anderon does a phenomenal job telling the story of black progress and the backlash that progress received from white people. It is a hard book, but an important book. If we intend ever hope to live in an equitable world, we need people like Carol Anderson to remind us of our history. It is only by telling the truth that we will ever be able to transform our world. If you’re interested in reading this book with me, let me know! I’d love a conversation partner!
Burying White Privilege, Resurrecting A Badass Christianity
by Miguel A. De La Torre
Reviewed by Rev. Edrye Maurer
Every sentence in this book gave me something to ponder. Torres writes an unabashed critique of white, Euro-American Christianity as more a political system embracing capitalism and colonialism than something Jesus would recognize, much less approve. Our form of western, white Christianity and culture has been used to conquer and oppress non-white people, even when we bring them Jesus.
Badass Christianity, according to Torrre, is a faith that thrives and saves in community, not in our individual relationship with Jesus. Badass Christianity takes us back to the teachings of Jesus, and leaves much of the power structures of organized church behind. “The emphasis of badass Christianity is not on what doctrines one accepts to obtain salvation but rather on what actions one commits that lead to a communal liberation.” (p. 147)
Frankly, I chose this read because we were not allowed to use the badass word growing up, and I thought being a badass anything would be fun. But learning more about my white privilege within Christianity and our culture is humbling, and I am left convicted by words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” May the remainder of my life be spent bending toward justice, and away from the status quo.