Read and hear: recommendations from Presbyterian friends, part 2
January 24, 2017 by Lee Hinson-Hasty
This is the second of two blog posts covering the topic of what people are reading or recommend these days.
It started with a question I posed on my Facebook page: What are you reading or recommend be read to survive and, even more, understand what’s going on today politically, economically, racially, and theologically?
I received a tremendous number of responses from all across the country, from scholars, theologians, justice workers and friends. I received so many responses I decided to divide it into two blog posts. You can read the first one here.
I’d like to add to my previous thoughts that “The Cross and the Lynching Tree” by James Cone, a professor and theologian at Union Seminary (New York) is so important in these days, and I recommend it to you.
Continued below is the list. Read and hear!
- Michael Barram, professor of theology and religious studies at Saint Mary’s College of California, Richmond, Calif., says: “Just finished ‘Deer Hunting with Jesus’ by Joe Bageant. Of course, Michelle Alexander’s ‘The New Jim Crow.’ Also, ‘Homegoing’ by Yaa Gyasi, and ‘Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God’ by Kelly Brown Douglas, ‘What the Mystics Know: Seven Pathways to Your Deeper Self,’ by Richard Rohr.”
- Melissa Logan of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary pointed us to a blog post from the seminary last fall with a strong list of influential theology books in the fall, which you can find here.
- Michael Frontiero from Union Seminary in Richmond (and Charlotte) says the seminary’s current reading project is Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.
- Ken Kovacs, pastor of Catonsville Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Maryland, “I’m reading up on Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church, Stuart Jeffries’ ‘Grand Hotel Abyss: The Lives of the Frankfurt School’ to understand how national socialism emerged in Europe in the 1930s, and ‘A Clear and Present Danger: Narcissism in the Era of Donald Trump,’ a Jungian analysis of Trump and Trumpism.”
- Ann Laird Jones of the Sally Jones Pottery at Montreat Conference Center: “Mom and I watched the film tonight called ‘Weapons of the Spirit’ about Le Chambon, the little village in France that sheltered 5,000 Jewish men, women and children. It is also the place Albert Camus lived when he wrote The Plague. A brave place that relied on faith and the powerful weapons of the Spirit.”
- Gregory Jerome Bentley, pastor of Fellowship Presbyterian Church, Huntsville, Alabama, tells us he is continuing to read The Bible. “Given that the people of God are dealing with some type of oppression and/or occupation from Genesis to Revelation — Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek and the whole New Testament is written under Roman domination — I read the Bible as a history of faithful resistance to empire.”
- Guy Griffith, Associate Pastor for Adult Education and Spiritual Nurture, Westminster Presbyterian, Nashville, Tenn., is reading “The Big Sort” by Bill Bishop with Robert G. Cushing, “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” by J.D. Vance, “Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There” by Philip Hallie, and the Barman Declaration.
- Libby Shannon, Director of the Office for Advocacy and Gender Justice at Eckerd College, Saint Petersburg, Fla., recommends “The Hidden Wound” by Wendell Berry.
- Joseph Lemuel Morrow, campus engagement manager, Interfaith Youth Core, Chicago: “For understanding populism and politics, rereading Christopher Lasch’s ‘The True and Only Heaven.’ For spirituality: Ignatius’ ‘Spiritual Exercises.’ And lots of ethnographies and biographies about the lives of working class and people of color.
- Holly Clark-Porter, pastor, Big Gay Church, Wilmington, Delaware is reading “The Nix: A Novel” by Nathan Hill. “Totally fiction but brilliant, beautiful, and somehow feels like vindication (probably too harsh a word). But it’s meant to be a commentary on our current climate.”
- Byron Wade, pastor of Davie Street Presbyterian and former vice-moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), recommends “A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr.”
- Dawn DeVries, John Newton Thomas Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Presbyterian Seminary, recommends “Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power” by Steve Coll.
- Mamie Broadhurst, pastor, Covenant Community Church, Louisville, Ky., recommends “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt.
- José Manuel Capella-Pratts, pastor, First Spanish Presbyterian Church, Miami, Fla., recommends Barmen, Confession of 1967 and the Confession of Belhar.
- Al Staggs, author, former minister, speaker and performer: “I rely heavily in these times on the writings and legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He put aside the collar, the vestments, the robes and the privilege to enter into the fray. While our times are not exactly parallel to Nazi Germany, I believe what we are seeing will compel a much deeper commitment from those of us who call ourselves believers and ministers.”
- Hunter Farrell, director of the World Mission Initiative, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, recommends Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech (1967, Riverside Church). “It so accurately describes the mess we’re in, it’s scary. And the solution King proposes will cost the Church its life.”
- Melissa DeRosia, pastor and head of staff, Gates Presbyterian, Rochester, N.Y., is leading a study of these books at her church: “Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit” by Parker Palmer, “Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence” by Jonathan Saks, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
- Marcia Mount Shoop, pastor and head of staff, Grace Covenant Presbyterian, Asheville, N.C., recommends “The Half Was Never Told: Slavery and the Making of the American Economy” by Edward E. Baptist and “Ebony and Ivory: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled History of America’s Universities” by Craig Steve Wilder and “The Birth of a White Nation: The Invention of White People and Its Relevance Today” by Jacqueline Battalora. “These books have helped deepen my understanding of the ways racism and our economy have been tangled up with each other from the very beginning.”
Thanks to everyone who contributed! Keep reading.