Ten personal narratives reveal the shared and distinct struggles of being Black in the Church, facing historic and modern racism.
It's uncertain that Howard Thurman made the remark often attributed to him, "I have been writing this book all my life," but there is little doubt that he was deeply immersed in reflection on the times that bear an uncanny resemblance to the present day, which give voice to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Our "life's book" is filled with sentence upon sentence of marginalization, pages of apartheid, chapters of separate and unequal. Now this season reveals volumes of violence against Blacks in America.
Ten Black women and men explore life through the lens of compelling personal religious narratives. They are people and leaders whose lives are tangible demonstrations of the power of a divine purpose and evidence of what grace really means in face of hardship, disappointment, and determination. Each of the journeys intersect because of three central elements that are the focus of this book. We're Black. We're Christians. We're Methodists. Each starts with the fact, "I'm Black," but to resolve the conflict of being Christian and Methodist means confronting aspects of White theology, White supremacy, and White racism in order to ground an oppositional experience toward domination over four centuries in America.
"The confluence of the everyday indignities of being Black in America; the outrageous, egregious, legalized lynching of George Floyd; and the unforgivable disparities exposed once again by COVID-19 have conspired together to create a seminal moment in America and in The United Methodist Church--in which we must find the courage to say unambiguously 'Black Lives Matter.' To stumble or choke on those words is beneath the gospel," says Bishop Gregory Palmer, who wrote the foreword to the collection.