Check out the product placement in this photo of the Rev. Dr. Jesse Jackson from the October 2014 issue of Ebony magazine. Professor Starks is carry Colonialism, Han, and the Transformative Spirit by my friend the Rev. Dr. Grace Ji-Sun Kim.
Category Archives: Books
Anguish grips my soul as events unfold in Gaza.
I am cautiously grateful for the cease-fire announced today. I have prayed for peace; now I pray the negotiations will succeed.
I have called on Congress to act for a ceasefire in Gaza and to pursue a lasting peace in Israel-Palestine.
I have contributed to UNRWA to support their work caring for Palestine refugees in Gaza. There are a number of other agencies responding to the needs of Palestinians and Israelis.
I also read Izzledin Abuelaish’s book, I Shall Not Hate.
On January 16, 2009, Israeli shells hit Abuelaish’s home in the Gaza Strip. The devastating explosions killed three of his daughters and a niece. A Palestinian doctor, Abuelaish writes of his experience and his refusal to turn to hate and revenge. Faced with heartbreak unimaginable, he called for the peoples of the region to talk to each other and to build relations with each other that could serve as the basis for efforts that might lead to a just peace. Abuelaish lives his call.
As bombs and shells fell on Gaza; as rockets struck Israel; as Israeli tanks rolled and Israeli troops marched; as Palestinians emerged from tunnels; Abuelaish’s words carry a powerful poignancy and a deep urgency.
We use hatred and blame to avoid the reality that eventually we need to come together.
Hatred is an illness. It prevents healing and peace.
Peace is humanity; peace is respect; peace is open dialogue. I don’t think of peace as the absence of anything that just puts it in a negative light. Let’s be positive about what peace is–rather than what it is not.
We do not need to merely accept what is happening around us. We all have the potential to be agents of change.
I believe that Einstein was right when he said life is like riding a bicycle: to keep balanced, we must keep moving. I will keep moving, but I need you to join me in this long journey.
I give thanks for Izzeldin Abuelaish and all who keep moving on the long journey to justice and peace in Gaza and Israel and places around the world. I pray for the courage and strength to keep moving with them.
See you along the Trail.
The series features an excerpt from her book that focused on Consumerism and Overconsumption.
Lots of good stuff here. Thanks to Cynthia and Grace for this series!
See you along the Trail.
Here are some teasers that may inspire you to check out the blog and the the book:
One of the problems the Western world is facing today is how to live a life so that all of humanity can flourish and not just a select few wealthy people.
When one looks at the world today, an inescapable fact is the vastly unequal distribution of assets, wealth, affluence, and life prospects. We live in a world where a relatively small number of people, about one-sixth the world’s total population of approximately seven billion people, have a preponderant share of the planet’s wealth and resources, while a significant majority of the remaining six billion lead lives marked by insecurity, poverty, misery, disease, and death.
Today, as capitalism and consumerism drive the modern version of colonization known as globalism, the gap between the haves and have-nots widens beyond anything ever known in history. This unequal distribution of wealth is taking a toll on the fragile planet and ecosystems that we all belong to. What drives the rich to consume all the resources is understood to drive the economy, so many of the rich people’s practices are not challenged or even questioned.
After reflecting on the perils that the drive to consume pose to people and planet alike, Kim presents an alternative vision:
The real wealth of a nation is its people, and the purpose of development is to create an environment for people to enjoy long, healthy, and creative lives. The good life is defined by the use of money to help people have decent, fulfilling lives. The good life is not having “more and more” but “enough” …
Kim addresses the tension within which humans live – a tension between freedom and limits – a tension expressed in Genesis 3. She goes on to explore the human role as a “steward.” She notes that too often humans chose to act, not as the stewards God intends us to be, but as bandits: cue Kurosawa and The Seven Samurai.
The image of the steward intrigues me. Tolkien plays with the question of stewardship in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 1992 – as the United States marked the 500th anniversary of the invasion by or arrival of (depending on one’s point of view) of the Europeans in what we now know as the Americas – I preached a sermon contrasting the role of conquistador with steward. As Kim notes, “It is not easy being God’s stewards, living in a garden where so much more is possible than is beneficial.”
Kim notes the warnings we are receiving about the consequences of our current consumer lifestyle of overconsumption. And she wonders if we will heed the signs and examine and change our ways of “being and living.”
There is much to ponder in the post. There are many topics for conversation. I encourage you to check it out!
See you along the Trail.
My friend Bruce Reyes-Chow has written a book on race that I look forward to reading: But I Don’t See You as Asian: Curating Conversations about Race.
Bruce describes his reason for writing as:
If you’ve ever wanted to cultivate honest conversations about race, this book is my attempt at offering ways to help make that happen.
He reflects on his hope for the book in these words:
My hope is that by sharing my story – the joys and the struggles – this book will compel folk to enter a space where they can get at some of the assumptions, misunderstandings and intentions about race so that deeper connections and relationships can be had.
You can get a sense of his perspective as well as the flavor of his writing from some of his earlier articles:
- Three Myths of the “I don’t see race.” World – on reyes-chow.com
- Reflection on “Whites See Racism as Zero Sum Game Which They are Now Losing” Study – on Patheos
- Why Do All Asians Look the Same – on The Huffington Post
- What Historically White Denominations Can Learn From the Republican Party – on Red Letter Christians
- 10 Unhelpful Things We Say About Race – slides on SlideShare
Bruce notes that:
It is also my hope that you will find the time, faith and courage to jump into these conversations with an openness that challenges the expectations of the world around race.
I plan to take that jump. I assume that Bruce’s book will challenge my expectations around race. And I hope that I will be better equipped to engage in conversations that will help me challenge expectations around race and realities around racism. I will let you know.
Here’s how you can get a copy and learn more:
PURCHASE: [paperback $14.99] [kindle $9.99] [itunes $9.99] [nook $9.99] [signed gift copy $14.99]
CONNECT: [twitter] [facebook page] [reviews on Pinterest] [reviews on amazon]
AUTHORGRAPH: [Have your electronic copy signed]
See you along the Trail.
An interchange from the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade remains with me. Indiana (Harrison Ford) and his father Professor Henry Jones (Sean Connery) seek the Holy Grail. Nazis have also joined the quest. Henry Jones has long sought the Grail, finding a map and compiling a diary. To keep them safe, Henry sent the materials to his son and colleague Marcus Brody. Learning that the Nazis have kidnapped Henry Jones, Brody set off with the map. Indiana went to rescue his father. After a series of adventures, father and son escape. The following conversation occurs:
Professor Henry Jones: Stop, wait, stop! Stop! You’re going the wrong way. We have to get to Berlin.
Indiana Jones: Brody’s this way.
Professor Henry Jones: My diary’s in Berlin.
Indiana Jones: We don’t need the diary, dad; Marcus has the map.
Professor Henry Jones: There is more in the diary than just the map.
Indiana Jones: All right, Dad. Tell me.
Professor Henry Jones: Well, he who finds the Grail must face the final challenge.
Indiana Jones: What final challenge?
Professor Henry Jones: Three devices of lethal cunning.
Indiana Jones: Booby traps?
Professor Henry Jones: Oh, yes. But I found the clues that will safely take us through them in the Chronicles of St. Anselm.
Indiana Jones: Well, what are they? As his father sits silently, Indiana continues in an annoyed voice. Can’t you remember?
Professor Henry Jones: I wrote them down in my diary so that I wouldn’t have to remember.
An Anglican priest, Father Lapsley took an active role in the struggle against South Africa’s apartheid. In 1990, he opened a letter bomb that nearly killed him. The blast took his hands and one of his eyes. His book tells his story of the faith journey that led him to pursue justice, the explosion, his recovery, and how Father Lapsley has drawn on his experience of trauma to help his sisters and brothers in South Africa and around the world seek healing.
Many of his words bear repeating and remembering. I write down a few:
As we who are disabled demand a place in the sun, we are not just asking people to be nice to us; we are saying, “Actually you can’t be a real community without us.” We don’t ask for pity; we ask for justice. We say, “Don’t just include us in your community. Instead, come, let’s create one together.” That’s a very different concept.
Profound, challenging, humbling, hopeful words. Words that apply in so many situations – in any situation of privilege and oppression and exclusion. Words to ponder, to remember, and to seek to live by.
We cannot be a real community until everyone is a part and we build that community together. May it be so.
See you along the Trail.