That black lives matter should be obvious but unfortunately it is not. Black Lives Matter is not simply a rhetorical expression coined by a few. It is in fact an existential cry with deeply spiritual roots. Born from the depths of centuries of collective oppression (remember slavery, indentured servitude, Jim Crow,) it is an expression of the groans of the Spirit of which Paul spoke, the collective prayer of a people demanding their right to exist, their inalienable right to be.
Though we hear about events like the riots in Baltimore on the news, opportunities to hear from those on the ground are more difficult to find. The Journal of Lutheran Ethics has the honor of welcoming Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane to write about his experience as a member of the faith community responding to the injustice and protests in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. What should the role of the church be in a society broken by racism?
Margaret A. Farley. Changing the Questions: Explorations in Christian Ethics. Maryknoll, NY: 2015, 376 pages, $30.00
We live in a society whose prosperity stems from an economy infused with money from the slave trade and the labor of enslaved peoples. The effects of that on people today have not disappeared, but have gone underground where they are harder to name. White eloquently lays out how racism is a sin that we need to name and work against today along with a strategy for people of faith to work together to create a world of healing and justice.
Less can be more. Newman’s poetry speaks from the heart of the pain of oppression in a way that an academic article could not reach, not matter the world count. We know that the personal is policitcal, but Newman’s work brings home the fact that the polictical is also intensely personal for so many voices not lifted up by mainstream media.
Heidi B. Neumark, Hidden Inheritance: Family Secrets, Memory, and Faith. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2015. 213+xviii pp. $24.99 (hardcover). $16.99 (paperback).