It’s my great pleasure to introduce you to a dear friend of mine, Osheta Moore. She’s the newly minted author of Shalom Sistas, and host of the Shalom in the City podcast. I can’t think of a book that’s more appropriate for us to enter into right now than one that encompasses a message of peacemaking at its core. While today’s book is primarily written for a female audience, her message transcends gender. So, keep reading to hear more about the story behind the story, then leave a comment her or on Instagram and score a copy!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? Hey There! My name is Osheta Moore. My name is Osheta. It’s pronounced, “O-she-da” and even though it’s unique as all get-out—I have a love/hate relationship with my name. I’m originally from Texas, but I’ve lived in New Orleans, Boston, and L.A. fell in love with my husband and the city on a wooden bench on the West Bank of New Orleans. We met on a short-term urban missions trip during Mardi Gras. His first words to me after a day of ministering to kids in a housing development in New Orleans were, “I hope you don’t mind me telling you this, but I think you’re beautiful”. Three years later, I married that man. I mean, wouldn’t you if he was both good with kids and good with words? After our wedding (which we pulled off for under $3000- honeymoon included), we moved into an under-resourced neighborhood called, “Hollygrove”. Our apartment was in a drive-by. We had drug dealers around our kitchen table for dinner. I knew we were exactly where we should be. When I was eight months pregnant with our middle boy, Hurricane Katrina drowned our beloved city, so we evacuated to Boston for seminary. After Boston, my husband received a call to be an associate pastor in L.A. so we moved here. I’m a writer, but I truly found my voice podcasting, so I suspect I’m more of a speaker who loves to write. I’m the mom of three kiddos, Tyson 15, T.J. 12, and Trinity, 11. I’m married to my very best friend— I say this because we’re quirky in all the same ways, love a good theological debate, and cuddle up to watch “Game of Thrones” (he warns me of the gruesome parts because…) I’m also a passionate peacemaker and a woman who takes Jesus’ peace teachings seriously. Shalom is my very favorite concept and it’s what I try to shape my life around.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? In a nutshell, Shalom Sistas is a love letter. It’s written with the woman who wants peace in mind— both within herself and within her community. It’s for the woman who hates the divisive climate of our country but doesn’t know what she can do. It’s for those who want to be peacemakers, but feel inadequate in their single hood, their suburban lives, their empty nests. In Shalom Sistas, I look at the language of “Kingdom of God” and “Blessed are the Peacemakers” and ask if it has any bearing on the ways we live our lives today? I’ve found that it does indeed because of “Shalom” — this wide, inclusive, and mobilizing concept of living wholeheartedly and seeking wholeness. I like to say “Shalom is God’s dream for the world as it should be— nothing broken, nothing missing, everything made whole,” and Jesus during his life, ministry, death and resurrection embodied this for us so that we can learn and then emulate in our ordinary everyday lives. So, Shalom Sistas is really my way of coming alongside women who want to live their lives as peacemakers in a world that desperately needs us and cheering them on. Also, there’s Beyonce, dancing, recipes, and practical applications for everything I write about because, we need to laugh, share the table with each other, and get to work.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? Well, for years I’ve been writing about Shalom on my blog and how it’s changed the way I think about peace and peacemaking. Back in 2011, six years after Katrina, I was really angry with God because I thought I was doing all the work of peacemaking when we lived in New Orleans and was doing intentional urban core development. Then Katrina happened and we had to start our lives over again in Boston and this time, I couldn’t do all the work of peacemaking because we had three kids four and under and we lived in a cozy little Cantabridgian neighborhood with not a gang member or crack house in sight. So, the night I admitted to myself I was angry with God, I was standing at my kitchen sink about to start the dishes with Cheetos dust on my forehead from wiping my forehead with cheesy sticky fingers after a snack binge when I put the kids to bed. My husband came in and asked me what was wrong and I told him about my anger about not being able to go back to New Orleans and how I didn’t feel like I was living up to the standard of being a peacemaker anymore. I was so anxious so much of that time because I didn’t think I was getting this whole peacemaking thing right. It was the night before Lent, called Ash Wednesday and I remember this because my husband has ashes on his head from a service he went to and I had well… Cheeto dust and we had a conversation about Lent and what we should give up. He was going to give up Facebook because it was beginning to shape his identity in ways he didn’t love. I decided to give up the idea of peacemaking because it was shaping me into a person I didn’t love and to study every instance of “peace” in the Bible for forty days and hopefully by the end, I would feel closer to God and more at peace (even if not quite the “typical” peacemaker). Well, at the end of my forty days, I realized Shalom was the word I needed to set me free and shape my identity, so I started calling myself as a “Shalom Sista” because I’m a peacemaker who is seeks peace out of love and not fear.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? Well, I hope they laugh. I think when we talk about hard issues like race, body shame, conflict, and violence like I do in the book we tend to think we can’t hold space for that pain and laughter or joy at the same time. Too often when we try we’re told we’re being insensitive or inappropriate. But, I think a wholehearted woman can create space for both. So yeah, I talk about the time I wanted to kill myself or how I really wanted to sleep with a bat under my pillow when one of the young men responsible for the Boston Marathon Bombing fled into our neighborhood, but I also try to balance it with stories about my kids never recycling empty boxes (and me wanting to seek revenge) or smelly laundry or my aversion to working out (it’s real y’all). I hope they know that they can create flourishing and wholeness right where they are— they don’t have to change their personalities or professions to be considered peacemakers. I hope they know that when Jesus promised us the Holy Spirit, that was our permission to shake the very foundation of the world with love and seek it’s wholeness. I pray for my readers to access vulnerability with both God and their community and that they know their identity as a Child of God. I also hope lots of my readers try out the red beans and rice recipe in the book. It’s pretty rad.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? Oh man, is it cliche to say I read and think about my book nearly everyday? The Shalom Sistas Manifesto— twelve guideposts for living wholeheartedly right where we are really do shape how I interact with the brokenness around me. Just today, I had to remind myself to tell better stories about my husband, to choose subversive joy when I read something terrible, and rest because this season of book launching and caring for my family is to use Glennon’s word, bruti-ful.
How and where can we find you on the internet? Ok, I’m so here for Instagram. It’s my new favorite place to tell stories and share resources. I’m @Oshetam there. You can join my occasional “Shalom, Sistas” newsletter where I check in with thoughts on “This is Us” or updates on the family, or share what’s going on on my website including show notes on, “Shalom in the City.”
Well folks, there she is: the woman behind the peacemaking vision. I’ve sure loved learning from Osheta over the years, and her book is chalk-FULL of goodness for all of us. Also, it’s funny. And her voice is STRONG. So, leave a comment here if you’d like to win copy, and head over to Instagram for even more opportunities to win. Good luck! Contest ends Friday, October 13th.
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