There are some books that get me right where I need to get gotten.
Brian Bantum’s The Death of Race is one such book. What does it mean to explore Christianity and faith and theology not in a world divided by issues of race, but in a racialized world? How do we then still see and appreciate and value the differences alive within one another, and begin to embody a new story altogether?
I’d quote the entire book to you if I could, but I won’t. Instead, I’ve got three nuggets for you to chew on – words that changed me, and that I hope encourage you to pick up and read through the book on your own.
“Retracing our beginnings is a kind of resistance” (26). For Bantum, embracing his black heritage was key to his growth as an individual and as a Christian. It’s easy to live unexamined from our cultural backgrounds, but to truly embrace the stories that make us us, means that we are fully participating in resistance (and many of us, I dare say, find ourselves in places of holy resistance now). We’re going against the status quo. We’re challenging assumed narratives. We’re moving forward in a new light, as new people.
“We are formed by a society’s assumptions, by the neighborhoods we grow up in, by the ways people see us, and the way we see them” (53). I’m going to go all teacher on you, but break the sentence up: what assumptions has society made on you? How did the neighborhood you grew up in form you? And how did the way people see you and the way you see others form you? None of us are individuals on an island, but part and parcel, we are formed by the world around us.
“Whether in the bodies and lives of women subjected to the terror of male power or to a nation that gives itself over to idols, Israel’s God redeems through the curious body, the foreign woman, the prostitute, the prophet, the foreign kind, a teenage girl in a poor colonized town. God redeems by coming near” (77). Do you not want to sit in Bantum’s class and learn from him? Can you imagine the passion with which he teaches his students about God Come Near? As his book continues, our stories further weaves with God’s story, and with his love of all, no matter the color of their skin.
If you’re a theology nerd in need of a book that deals with issues of faith and race, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.
Otherwise, whether you’re a blogger or a reader, leave a comment (with link to your review) in the section below. I can’t wait to read your thoughts! Up next week: Beloved by Toni Morrison. It’s been on my list to read forever, because, it’s about time.
So, what’d you think? The Death of Race: like it, love it, want some more of it?
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