Initially I had written this up as a blurb for our weekly email but quickly realized it was lengthy enough to merit a whole blog post. See below a curated list of resources for the cultural observation of Black History Month (better late than never):
1. 21 POEMS – Intervarsity Press posted THIS LIST of poems by black authors worth a perusal. (Additionally all of their books by black authors are 35% off should you wish to expand your library…use code “BHM23”)
2. BOOKS – We’ll have most of these books featured on our own bookshelf in our lobby. Worth mentioning are:
a. Holier Than Thou – In anticipation of our ladies going to the Glory Conference (see below) in April, I wanted to highlight this book by Jackie Hill Perry who is the keynote at the conference.
b. Reading While Black – An accessible work by scholar, Esau McCauley, on the history of faithful black Bible interpretation.
c. One Blood: Parting Words to the Church on Race and Love – This book by John Perkins is powerful and highlights the power of the gospel to overcome hatred and division. His hope is contagious.
d. Divided by Faith – Not written by a black author, however, I quoted MLK Jr. a couple of weeks ago in his profound statement that Sunday morning is among the most segregated hours of the week. A painful reality. This book gets to the heart of the “why.” Written by two sociologists, it informed me on issues that were sadly omitted from my formal education but are a reality for many of our black and brown brothers and sisters.
e. Lent – Also by Esau McCauley, the season of Lent kicks off next week with Ash Wednesday and this short book is a helpful companion for the 40 days leading up to Holy Week.
3. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES – My friend Pastor CJ Quartlbaum (an occasional guest preacher at Engage) also compiled THIS LIST for those who really want to dive deep. He also appeared on THIS EPISODE of the (now defunct) Engage Podcast.
4. CHURCH HISTORY – As our country celebrates black history this month, those of us in the Church have to acknowledge that our faith history finds much of its roots in the continent of Africa. Especially the first five centuries which include these influential giants: Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Cyprian, Lactantius, Optatus of Milevi, Augustine.
5. NORTHEAST CHURCH HISTORY – I wrote THIS ARTICLE about Lemuel Haynes six years ago. A black pastor who served just over an hour away from us in Rutland, VT some 200 years ago. I can’t vouch for the author, but it’s a worthwhile read…
6. LASTLY – I’m aware the topic of race relations can be a sticky one in our country. But it need not be and most certainly shouldn’t be in the Church where we are called to the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). I want to remind us that every week we gather in front of a backdrop that says, “In Albany as it is in heaven.” Built into our very DNA is seeing the manifestation of Revelation 7:9 in our city: every nation, tribe, people, and language, which no one could number, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. (see THIS recently released book by Jamaal Williams, president of Harbor Network, for the theological implications here). What opportunity and challenge we have to seek and pray toward this reality in our midst!