Today, we are beginning a new semi-regular series called Between the Pages, which will feature books our Grindhouse Theology team is currently reading in our free time. Today, we have some selections from our regular contributors Chris Crane and Caleb Stallings.
Lately, my reading had tended to lend itself to learning about social issues through the lens of Christian faith, so here’s two books I’m currently exploring:
Aliens in the Promise Land: Why Minority Leadership is Overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions edited by Anthony B. Bradley
In this collection of essays from various minority pastors and academics, we enter the conversation around racism and the realities many people of color have faced and still currently face when trying to worship in churches of predominately white spaces. Despite the fact that Christianity is increasingly being centered in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, many people of color find themselves in a position where they do not feel welcome or, at best, only welcomed if they assimilate to Euro-centric cultural norms. This books has given me, a white guy from the South, a lot to think about. This is a hard book to read, not so much in how it’s written but because it exposes areas where we as the majority culture have failed to love in ways consistent with following Jesus.
Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for Our Common Life by Makoto Fujimura
Japanese artist Makoto Fujimura gives us all a gift with this book. In it, he unveils the beautiful vocation of caring for culture and promoting of life where human beings flourish. As he emphasizes in this book, culture is a gift to be stewarded and is not a territory to be won (which seems to be how conservative evangelicals often think about culture). This book is a breath of fresh air and, as an artist, gives me hope that I have the potential to do something of value to my communities I find myself in.
Celtic Daily Prayer: Prayers & Readings from the Northumbria Community edited by Richard J. Foster
As someone who is either pretty forgetful or lazy about prayer, I’ve learned to lean on the help of various liturgical and lectionary guides to help maintain my devotional life. As a 21st-century Christian, I’m fortunate enough to have an expansive tradition of devotional literature at my finger tips. I discovered this little gem by a stroke of Providence when I was sifting through the typically dreadful “Christian” literature shelves at my local used book store. Drawing from the wisdom of the ancient Desert Fathers and the modern Northumbria Community, Richard J. Foster has compiled a personal worship guide for those of us who need a little help from dead friends and living saints. This collection offers a variety of morning, midday, and evening prayers; greater and lesser feast and holiday meditations; daily Scripture readings; and lots more inspired by this the quiet, little stream of Celtic Christianity with all of her obscure saints. This is my current prayerbook, helping me navigate both the happier and more difficult moments in life. All in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The Flash: Book One by Mark Waid
Starting seminary 6 years ago effectively killed my comics reading habit. At the time, it was probably for the best. But seeing as how I’ve been out of grad school for 2 years now, it’s almost inexcusable that I haven’t been tracking the comings and goings of the DC Universe, my imaginary home world since I discovered Batman: the Animated Series in 1993. But instead of keeping up with manic stunts and sales-driven antics of the present day, I figured I should dive into the past and rediscover great moments from DC’s rich, but convoluted history. I recently picked up this volume because of how few Flash comics I’ve read and also because Mark Waid is, well… one of the best. For my money’s worth, I don’t think there’s a person alive who’s written more psychologically engaging and emotionally compelling characters. And his plots ain’t half bad either. A native of Hueytown, Alabama and a frequenter of the sensational Kingdom Comics in nearby Homewood (my home for six years), I’ve been all but entranced by Waid’s thrilling knack for storytelling, reshaping a vast and wonderful cosmos from such humble beginnings. Huh… Now where have I heard that kind of story before?
Until next time, enjoy life Between the Pages…