Black History Month Reading List
Biblical hospitality is a tangible pursuit of shalom. If we long for peace in our families, our churches, our cities and our world, this might be a great place to start. As Paul bluntly says in Romans 12:13, Practice hospitality.
Think of it this way: Hospitality is a godly way of navigating this world full of people we mostly don’t know (yet). Okay, that sounds nice, but what does that actually look like these days?
For starters, make some room for God to create something new in your life. Clear out some space in your head and your heart for those whom you do not know all that well (yet). These steps toward hospitality in the purest biblical sense cannot loop back us. Not our glory. Not our agenda. We are making space for people to move from stranger to friend, not from “their side” to “our side.”
And that will require a deliberate form of listening.
A different sort of listening that leads to a different kind of living.
In the gracious words of Ann Voskamp: “Listening not to defend and listening not to debate, but listening to deeply digest the experience and perspective and prayers of your brothers and sisters in Christ…”
Perhaps nothing cuts against the narcissistic grain more than inviting someone into your world on their terms. This becomes an expression of servanthood, which is why it is so powerful. It involves a sacrifice, which is why it so difficult. But this Jesus-shaped way of being is also the pursuit of peace.
Which brings me to the month of February. For over forty years in the United States, this month has become an annual celebration called Black History Month. Below is a short list of books to help anyone that wants to learn more about the history, culture, and achievements of various African Americans. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and in fact, I encourage you to do your own research and seek out diverse voices throughout the year, not just this month.
Consider this a chance to start learning and listening and helping one another anew. For some, such things are nothing new at all. Thank you for your grace and patience with the rest of us. May God bless the next grace-filled conversation you’re about to have. For the rest of us, this is a chance to make room for God to create something new.
It is another step towards shalom.
A TESTAMENT OF HOPE
Martin Luther King Jr.
THE DEEPLY FORMED LIFE
Richard S. Newman
Margot Lee Setterly
NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
ANOINTED TO SING THE GOSPEL
THIS JAZZ MAN
THE REBELLIOUS LIFE OF MRS. ROSA PARKS
BE THE BRIDGE
GOD'S VERY GOOD IDEA
Michael G. Long, Chris Lamb
READING WHILE BLACK
RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND THE JOURNAL OF MRS. JARENA LEE
THIS IS YOUR TIME