This fall we are taking a look at two books, the first of which is Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates has been writing about race for years, but this book is particularly gripping because it is an essay/letter addressed his son. The book asks many of the questions that seem to plague us. I was moved by the honesty with which he relates the bleakness of living within a black body in the United States in 2015. As a white person with a white son, I tried to imagine having to say some of those words to my son. I tried to imagine being constantly that worried about my son’s safety and my eyes began to tear. It is not as if some of these atrocities were not things I was aware of, but Coates describes them so clearly and within such a troubling context that they felt like a slap in the face.
Reading a book and participating in a book group are a commitment. Here I give you Pastor Jennifer’s top five reasons you should read Between the World and Me and join us at the book group.
- If our simple, relatively low-risk Black Lives Matters sign causes some of our neighbors such upset, we have to admit that this topic is in need of some consideration.
Issues of race have been with our country from the moment European settlers “discovered” America. Problems of race and the way that those have been dealt with are woven into our DNA. We can hardly consider our history without considering these injustices.
- The writing is excellent and delightful to read.
Some of the content may be hard to take in, but even when you wish the words weren’t true, the writing is still a joy.
- This is a topic many of us are concerned about but are not that comfortable discussing.
Jesus calls us to look at the hard things. Our faith asks us to look for injustice and to root in out. Many of us are concerned about white supremacy but don’t find the topic easy to discuss. I think this book may help with some of that discomfort. If the book itself doesn’t help, the discussion we have about the book will be a good place to confront our discomfort.
- The Toni Morrison quote: “I’ve been wondering who might fill the intellectual void that plagued me after James Baldwin died. Clearly it is Ta-Nehisi Coates….This is required reading.”
- The book offers no pat answers, but poses many tough questions, encouraging us to wrestle with the ideas it presents.
Who could ask more of a book group book?
I hope you will join us after worship on Sunday, October 4th for a time to discuss this book. The only requirement is an openness to hearing others perspective and a desire to get to know one another better. Childcare will be provided.