Greetings, everyone — it’s Advent, already! I’d like to share with you the explanation of Advent that my friend Chris recently wrote for his church: “This Sunday we begin the first day of the Church’s New Year. We Christians inherited from our Jewish ancestors the discipline of ritualizing time through ‘feasts and fasts.’ In fact, Christians believe that time itself will be redeemed and we testify to this belief by placing the Christ at the center of our calendar — every season of the year is related to some aspect of the life (or death) of Jesus of Nazareth. The life of this unique human being becomes, for the Christian, the ‘key’ to redeeming time itself…Advent is the season of the year that we learn what it means to wait as a Christian.”
That’s a message I take especially to heart this year, in light of the attempts by some to shine light on the dark corners of our society, and the unwillingness of others to look. In the midst of this season of waiting, searching and re-centering our lives around the reality of Christ, here are some resources you might consider — I’ve either read, listened to or seen them myself or gotten recommendations to do so from friends I trust:
“I Am Not Your Negro” — A thought-provoking documentary on race views today’s racial tension through the work of James Baldwin, one of the twentieth century’s literary lights and social critics.
“City of Ghosts” — A documentary about ISIS’s recent reign of terror in Raqqa, Syria.
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington — A difficult, but important topic related to our society’s conversation about race and race relations.
Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing by Norm Stamper — Politics gets the most attention, but it’s time for a hard look at another of America’s “public service” professions.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi — An award-winning novel spanning seven generations of descendants of a captured slave. Very raw, but it comes to me highly recommended.
Behold the Dreamers: A Novel by Imbolo Mbu — A book about the trapdoors in the American Dream, as experienced by a newly arrived immigrant family from Cameroon
White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of our Racial Divide by Carole Anderson — An award-winning and relevant look at a key factor contributing to our cultural and social division.
And finally, a YouTube talk from Dr. Joy De Gruy on what she calls “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome”: