Black History Month Resources from Dorena Williamson

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Over on the youth ministry side of the blog today, our own Davis Lacey has the honor of speaking with Dorena Williamson. Dorena is an author, speaker, mother of four, and pastor’s wife living outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Together with her husband Chris, she planted Strong Tower Bible Church, whose mission is making disciples of Jesus and vision is ““experiencing, explaining, and expanding God’s Diverse Kingdom in the city and throughout the world.” Together with her husband, Dorena Williamson has a ministry of reconciliation and bridge-building among diverse communities in the church and around the country.

We asked Williamson to recommend some resources for families who want to discuss building bridges between races in our country, and she suggested the following:

A few good reads:

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation by LaTasha Morrison

Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey by Sarah Shin

Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience by Sheila Wise Rowe

The Color of Compromise: The Truth About the American’s Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby

White Awake: An Honest Look at What It Means to Be White by Daniel Hill

Follow the authors listed above, and these others, on Twitter:
Dr. Michelle Reyes @drmichellereyes
Ray Chang @tweetraychang
Dorina Lazo Gilmore @DorinaGilmore
Kyle J. Howard @KyleJamesHoward
Rondell Trevino @Rondell_Trevino

Helpful websites:

beabridgebuilder.com

Watching movies together is a great way to start family discussion, and Williamson recommends Just Mercy (for Rooted resources, see below), Harriet, and Selma.

In her excellent article Here’s Why We Need Black History Month and Racial Reconciliation, Williamson draws on her quarter century of experience in leadership of the multiracial church her husband pastors. She suggests that being “colorblind” diminishes the glory of our creative God and discusses what real reconciliation between races looks like.

As she says on her website, Williamson feels a “passion to help people outside my circle take off colorblind lens and put on kingdom lens,” which led her to write several books for children. Her first book, Colorfull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us, takes up this theme, as she says “why be color blind when you can be Colorfull instead?” She writes with reverence for God and for the strikingly beautiful earth He has created, and most especially for the diversity of His people. Her joyful prose is supported by gorgeous illustrations, which are populated by diverse and charming children.

Williamson’s other books include Thoughtfull, the story of a boy with Down syndrome, which “shows how life changes when we learn to value those who are differently abled and to champion the power of thoughtfulness,” and Gracefull, which addresses issues of poverty and homelessness. All of her books are thought-provoking for any reader, and there are discussion questions in the back of each.

You will also want to read Williamson’s viral article from Christianity Today, “Botham Jean’s Brother’s Offer of Forgiveness Went Viral. His Mother’s Calls for Justice Should Too.” She commends the value of forgiveness but notes that the issues are more complex: “Listening to the entire Jean family offers us a fuller picture of Christianity. In their words and posture towards Guyger and the criminal justice system, we hear calls for both forgiveness and justice. But if we elevate the words of one family member at the expense of another, we run the risk of distorting the gospel.”

 

For more resources, see our reflections on the film and book Just Mercy, and our discussion questions that go with it.

Also check out Meals From Mars, a novel written by Rooted writer Ben Sciacca, which details a fictional encounter between an African-American teenaged boy and a white man from an affluent part of town.

 

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