As we embark on Black History Month we want to lift up the voices of black pastors, theologians, and Christians leaders in our community.
We believe it is valuable for the majority culture to have a place to hear and read about the personal experiences of African Americans in Minnesota, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. As our society wrestles with racial disparities and injustice at a local and national level, we believe the local Church needs to focus on building relationships and learning each others personal stories, so we can discover solutions to overcome racism, and intolerance in our community. At Transform Minnesota, our Coming Together Initiative works to understand and overcome racial divisions by building relationships, promoting education and understanding, and engaging in change efforts to reduce racial disparities. We believe the body of Christ needs to read and be familiar with a whole host of Christian thinkers to getting a better understanding of Christ’s love and role in the lives of all of His people, regardless of race.
We asked five thoughtful, engaging, and encouraging local black church leaders and thought leaders in our network to share their experiences of being African American in Minnesota and in the Church. Read their guest articles here:
Talk of Racism in the Land of Niceness by Dr. Rev. Dennis Edwards of Sanctuary Covenant Church
What to do with the Non-Optional Race Card by Rev. Melanie March Leehy of M.A.R.C.H
Stepping Out of Racially Isolated Christian Spaces by Dr. Keith Brooks of Minneapolis Community & Technical College
We also asked for recommendations of other black authors, theologians, scholars and Christian leaders who have profoundly influenced their faith journey.
Dr. Rev. Dennis Edward’s book Recomendations:
- Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in Americaby Michael O. Emerson and Christians Smith (this has been around for a while, but so very helpful for evangelicals).
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (a memoir, of sorts. Not a Christian treatise, but nevertheless a powerful work).
- The Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew G. I. Hart (Forthcoming. I’ve read an advanced copy and found the book to be well-written and helpful).
- The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson (Outstanding book full of powerful stories that may help the open-minded understand more about the legacy of racism in America).
Dr. Keith Stanley Brooks Book Recommendations
- The White Racial Frame: Centuries of Racial Framing and Counter-Framing by Joe Feagin
- Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church by Soong-Chan Rah
- Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Christian Smith and Michael Emerson
- America’s Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America by Jim Wallis
- Bridging the Diversity Gap: Leading Toward God’s Multi-Ethnic Kingdom by Alvin Sanders
- Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland
- Wisdom Beneath the Surface by Bishop Wayne Felton
- Letters To a Mixed Race Son by Frank Robinson and Bishop Charles E. Blake
- Anything by Howard Thurman and Dr. James Earl Massey
Pastor Leslie X. Sander’s Author Recommendations:
Rev. Melanie Leehy Author Recommendation:
Dr. Victor Ezigbo, Bethel University’s Department Chair of Biblical & Theological Studies
- Re-imagining African Christologies (2010)
- Introducing Christian Theologies: Voices from Global Christian Communities, 2vols. (2103, 2015).
Leah Fulton, Bethel University Associate Dean of Intercultural Student Programs & Services
- Beyond Roots. In Search of Blacks in the Bible by William Dwight McKissic Sr
- An Autobiography. The Story of the Lord’s Dealings with Mrs. Amanda Smith the Colored Evangelist; Containing an Account of Her Life Work of Faith, and Her Travels in America, England, Ireland, Scotland, India, and Africa, as an Independent Missionary
- Black Scholars in White Space: New Vistas in African American Studies from the Christian Academy by Anthony B. Bradley
Past Related Articles:
- Silence Says Something: Let us refuse to be silenced by fear, ability, distance or guilt. Rev. Edrin Williams
- Time for the Church to Talk Candidly About Race: In the law we learn that silence is acquiescence. University of St. Thomas Law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds
- Church, Let’s Just Stop this Madness: Let’s give Jesus a chance to fix this. Rev. Richard Coleman.
- Our Responsibility to the Ministry of Reconciliation: We must allow our citizenship as brothers and sisters in Christ to rise to the top. Rev. Terrance Rollerson.