Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Empathy is an Art


The Art of Empathy
A guest post by Marie W. Watts

Being the change we seek requires us to practice empathy. 

Simply put, empathy is trying to understand another person’s feelings.  

According to Merriam-Webster, sympathy implies sharing (or having the capacity to share) the feelings of another, while empathy tends to be used to mean imagining, or having the capacity to imagine, feelings that we do not actually have.   

If I have had a divorce, for instance, it is easy to imagine the feelings of another who is going through marital issues (sympathy). However, if I’ve never been in that situation, conjuring up that emotional state may not be so simple (empathy).

Matthew 9:35-38 (NIV) describes how Jesus Christ practiced compassion. Compassion refers to both having empathy and the desire to mitigate the pain:

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  


As our journey in the footsteps of Jesus Christ unfolds, how do we develop empathy for those who are different from us, so we can move to compassion? A few suggestions follow …

    When we are in a one-on-one situation:

·      Suspend judgment. Don’t judge until you know the person better.

·      Listen.    

·      Ask questions if you think something is wrong.    

·      Ask about feelings.

·      Show concern.

·      Pay attention to the needs of others.

 

When listening, follow these tips:

 

·      Reflect the speaker’s feelings. Example: That must have been a terrible experience.      

·      Ask for clarification using “I” phrases. Example: I’m not sure I understand. Not You’re not making any sense.

·      Use eye contact.

·      Show interest through body language.

·      Don't plan rebuttals.

·      Don't jump to conclusions.

·      Give the person your undivided attention.

·      Don’t interrupt or impose your solutions.

·      Summarize what you believe the person is saying.

Often, we are not in a position to speak with individuals who are different from us. We can still develop empathy by reading or watching programs about their experiences. My next novel involves a character whose mother is mixed race African American and Korean. Until I read an anthology of stories by these individuals, I never realized the pain and suffering they endured.      

Lastly, if you are in a position to ease someone’s pain, do so. There’s quite a bit of hurt in the world right now, and we can all use some tender loving care.

~*~

Author Bio:


Marie W. Watts is a former employment discrimination investigator and human resource consultant with over twenty-five years of experience. In pursuit of justice in the workplace, she’s been from jails to corporate boardrooms seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of humans at work.  

Her on-the-job observations came in handy when she co-authored a textbook about how to behave at work, Human Relations 4th ed. Additionally, her work has been published in the Texas Bar Journal and the Houston Business Journal as well as featured on Issues Today syndicated to 119 radio stations, NBC San Antonio, Texas, and TAMU-TV in College Station, Texas. 

A popular diversity and employment discrimination trainer, Marie has trained thousands of employees to recognize their own biases and prejudices and avoid discriminating against others in the workplace. She has brought her experiences to life in the trilogy Warriors For Equal Rights about the struggles of ordinary people who work at the little-known federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

She and her husband live on a ranch in central Texas. In her spare time, she supports a historic house and hangs out with her grandsons. For more information about Marie and her stories about life, visit www.mariewatts.com

~*~
Connect with Marie:
Bookbub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/marie-w-watts
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mariewattsbooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MarieWattsBooks
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mariewattswriter/
Linkedin - https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-w-watts-5b2a2b/

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Roseanna's Review of "Wings Like a Dove" (book)


Roseanna M. White’s review of the book Wings Like a Dove by Camille Eide:

“Any town that is predominantly white could not possibly be so by accident.” 

This is a line and indeed an idea that I first encountered in the author’s note of Wings Like a Dove, which is in turn quoted as the premise of Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James Lowen, which in part inspired Camille Eide to write her novel, Wings Like a Dove. Until I read this masterfully written historical by Eide, I’d never heard of “sundown towns,” where people of color were not allowed to remain after dark. Coming from a town and county with an extremely low minority rate, this statement made me open my eyes in new ways to my own community and wonder what it would have been like a hundred years ago.

Wings Like a Dove is by no means a non-fiction treatise though—it’s an engaging, soul-piercing work of historical fiction that lingered with me for months after reading it. Have you ever read one of those books that’s so packed full of spiritual and emotional truths that you want to bring it into nearly every conversation while you’re reading it, and long after? Yeah…that’s how this book was for me.

The story is about Anna, a Jewish immigrant from Poland who finds herself in a terrible predicament. She’s pregnant, and she’s unmarried. Her mother gives her an ultimatum: go to a home for unwed mothers and agree to sign her child over to the institution or be disowned. Anna, however, can’t comply when she sees some of the shifty things going on at the home. So she does the only thing she can think to do: She packs a bag and heads west, determined to track down her father, who none of them have heard from in years.

Her path leads her to a small Indiana town, where a passel of orphan boys—and the former minister who is in charge of them—are in rather desperate need of help. One of the boys, Sam, was told he couldn’t attend the local school because he’s Black…and so, all the boys quit with him. Which means they’ll all be in hot water unless they can pass the tests for their school years. Rather desperate herself, Anna agrees to tutor them and cook and keep house—for a while. But she knows she can’t stay long or her shameful situation will become known.

Tossed straight into a town fully in the clutches of the then-newly-revitalized KKK, Anna experiences what too many of us have chosen to forget or not teach our children about: the terrors of a white supremacist culture, where the supposedly upright, moral citizens were willing to stoop to terror to preserve what they called the “pure American” lifestyle. Anna, being Jewish, learns firsthand about this hatred; and feels it all the more keenly for Sam, the sweet-natured boy who is clearly hiding an inner agony. Also in the crosshairs of the Klan are the Catholic nuns who are the only ones who will bring aid to the group of orphans and their guardians.

What I love about fiction is that it can ask the hard questions in ways that truly touch our hearts. Wings Like a Dove asks questions about how we can tear down the invisible walls between us. How we can choose to walk a different path. How we can open our eyes to what makes our hearts the same and be blind only to what would drive us apart. How we can love, forgive, and embolden others to do the same with our actions.

As a novel, Wings Like a Dove is riveting and so very impactful that it will forever remain one of my favorite books. As a glimpse into our nation’s shadowy history, it’s a heart-wrenching portrayal of an era that was filled with terror for anyone who was a minority in race or religion of which I’d known far too little before reading this. As a faith-filled work, it’s a reminder that God and His love are bigger than all the walls we build. Bigger than all the hatred we stack up. Bigger than all our excuses. And it challenged me to look deeper at my own heart, my family, my church, and my community.

Because those invisible walls that separate us can be torn down—but only if we put in the work to do so.

~*~
Reviewer's Bio:
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes.  

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing for WhiteFire Publishing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself.

Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books … to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

~*~
Connect with Roseanna:
Blog: https://roseannamwhite.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoseannaMWhite/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/roseannamwhite/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roseannamwhite/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoseannaMWhite
Website: https://www.roseannamwhite.com

~*~
Book Blurb for Wings Like a Dove:

Can the invisible walls that separate people ever come down? 


In 1933, Anna Leibowicz is convinced that the American dream that brought her Jewish family here from Poland is nothing but an illusion. Her father has vanished. Her dreams of college can’t make it past the sweat-shop door. And when she discovers to her shame and horror that she’s with child, her mother gives her little choice but to leave her family. Deciding her best course of action is to try to find her father, she strikes out…hoping against hope to somehow redeem them both.

When Anna stumbles upon a house full of orphan boys in rural Indiana who are in desperate need of a tutor, she agrees to postpone her journey. But she knows from the moment she meets their contemplative, deep-hearted caretaker, Thomas Chandler, that she doesn’t dare risk staying too long. She can’t afford to open her heart to them, to him. She can’t risk letting her secrets out.

All too soon, the townspeople realize she’s not like them and treat her with the same disdain they give the Sisters of Mercy—the nuns who help Thomas and the boys—and Samuel, the quiet colored boy Thomas has taken in. With the Klan presence in the town growing ever stronger and the danger to this family increasing the longer she stays, Anna is torn between fleeing to keep them safe…and staying to fight beside them.

Oh, that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest…

~*~
Author Bio:

Camille Eide writes more than a romance with her tender tales of love, faith, and family for those who enjoy inspirational romance and women's fiction. 


Her novel, The Memoir of Johnny Devine, was awarded 5 Gold Stars/Top Pick, Best Inspirational Romance, the December Seal of Excellence from RT Book Reviews, and Oregon Christian Writers' Best Historical Fiction.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Being "Woke"


The Hole in the Soul of America
A Guest post by Dr. Angelle M. Jones

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” 
–Psalm 82:3-4 (NIV)

I cannot remember exactly, but I believe I was a mere twenty-one years old when I voted for the first time. This year, I voted by absentee ballot; another first.

I was surprised because in my early years of ministry, I traveled and relocated from one city and state to another. I guess wherever I traveled, one way or another I always returned in time to cast my personal vote at the polls.

As always, I prayed, I did my research, and studied the candidates. It seemed to feel more daunting than ever before. It also seemed to take much longer than it should have. As strange as it may seem, it was not that it was difficult to know who I would vote for, instead I was challenged because for the first time in many years, I felt free to vote how I chose to vote. For the first time, I set myself free from the bondage of voting the way I was told I should vote.

During the most controversial election in my life time, along with my first absentee ballot, came the freedom to vote my own conscious. This election, not my Black family or friends, or my White church would tell me how to vote. This time, after forty years of voting, I showed up as an emotionally healthy, spiritually mature adult. No longer divided by race or religion. Free in the comfort of my own sacred space, called home. Free from the elements. Free from being harassed with sample ballots by last minute campaigners. Freed from the volunteers and onlooker’s stares holding me captive, if my ballot wasn’t found in the majority party’s book for my neighborhood. This time as I marked my ballot, it was as if I heard it shout loudly in return, “Free at last, free at last!” Thank God Almighty, she’s free at last!

In the midst of what political analysts are considering to be the most divisive election in my lifetime, I had the unmitigated gall to vote just how I wanted to. I realized as I toiled to fill in the empty white circles legibly, as they were colored black by the stroke of my pencil, I was finally returning to myself from a wilderness journey of personal deconstruction. The years of grief, loss, tears, and finally emotional and spiritual growth were all left on that road to my current state of being, which had now become my transformation of reconstruction.

I was woke for the first time in years, or possibly, the first time ever. I felt as though I could think clearly, more importantly, I could finally think for myself. No more did I have to follow whoever showed up as the leader of who I should vote for, which party, which candidate, or which issue. I would not allow my family, my race, nor my religion, continue to hold the reins on my way of doing life any longer, especially as it related to how I spent my time at the ballot box.

As it happens, I finally accepted the fact that from now on, I am free to be the leader of how I cast my ballot. I finally embraced the baton passed down from generations of my ancestors who showed up at the polls in years past, knowing it could cost them their life to even show up to vote. Those same dark melanin ancestors like Fannie Lou Hamer, marched to the polls anyway, prepared to vote her conscious, after being beaten days before, for trying to register to vote.

It takes a relationship with a liberator to liberate oneself from the bondages of sin and evil. The soul of America sadly, is an interconnection of both ills, the sin of racism and the evil of oppression. As my grandmother would probably say, this country is “Rotten to the core.”

To be fair, the most important lesson learned, is it takes a liberated mindset to free one from themselves. To be freed from oneself, is to be freed from allowing the oppressive attitudes and actions of individual or collective oppressors to control your life. What I finally learned from my own wilderness journey, was, no matter how oppressed you may feel, you can free yourself.

When your mind is free, no matter how tight the physical chains, as the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 5:1 (NIV), “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” I finally set myself free to vote as I chose, and although it may have been with good intentions, not how others instructed me to in the past.

Today we need leaders like the prophet Asaph, in Psalm 82. Bold prophets and leaders who are willing to call out the modern-day oppressors. These individuals need to be called out from hiding the darkness of voter suppression, and even the manipulation of bullying Christians who try to make their political opponents feel threatened because they don’t vote a certain way. Yes, to vote is to offer one aspect of your voice, however to defend the weak, and not only the aborted fetus, but also the fatherless children, should be the voice of today’s prophets. Where are those who God has called to speak in behalf of the weak and needy?

From now on, I will cherish the right of American citizens to vote as they please. Instead of stacking votes for their preferred party and political pundits, hopefully Christian leaders from all political parties will strive to uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.

This is my prayer: O Lord I pray, raise up the people of your Kingdom, who are willing to work as one, from the Conservative Right and the Liberal Left, to rescue the oppressed from their wicked oppressors.

~*~
Author Bio:

“Inspiring and Motivating With the Power of Words” 


Angelle M. Jones believes that the power of words inspires, and motivate to bring about transformative change individually and collectively.

Angelle originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American studies from the University of Cincinnati. Angelle has a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and an earned Doctorate in Ministry on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his philosophy of The Beloved Community from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Her ministry career began as a staff member of the Northeastern Ohio Billy Graham Crusade in 1994. For twenty years, as founder and director of In The Spirit Ministries, Inc. she led teams on mission outreaches throughout the world. From 2007-2012 Angelle served as Missions Director of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio where she currently resides. Angelle is founder and director of GlobaLife Coaching and Consulting serving as a Life and Transformation Coach and Church Consultant.

In 2016 Angelle authored and self-published her first book, Happily Never After. Along with sharing words of hope by sharing her writings on her social media platforms, she has been published in Vantage Magazine which is a literary source for faculty, students and alumni of Columbia Theological Seminary, and Ready which is a cutting-edge online magazine addressing current events and trending socially relevant topics for women.

Angelle is the mother of an adult daughter. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Challenging the status quo


Challenging the Status Quo: Going Against Our Elders

A guest post by Kristen Terrette

Spiritual Elders. We all have them. They may be our church leaders or mentors. Or grandparents. Or parents. Or even our friends’ parents. 

Really, what I consider an elder is anyone with earned respect through evidence of wisdom and spiritual maturity. It’s a position garnered through life experience, and it warrants a level of reverence and humility in the mentee. It’s a place, even if figuratively, of honor.

But what happens when an elder lets you down? Are we, as the underling, allowed to combat them? Do we speak up about the injustice? Or are we supposed to halt our mouths?

I’ve been dealing with this struggle a lot lately when it comes to the tension amongst whites and black or brown people. It seems the moment you agree to take a stand and do your part in fighting racial injustice of any kind, the devil comes prowling to show you just how weak and unworthy of the cause you are.

I’ve dealt with family members who don’t see eye to eye with my views on interracial dating or marriage. I’ve had someone who went to school with my husband incorrectly assume I’d be offended if I had a biracial grandchild one day. These were handled, hopefully, appropriately when I carefully stated I did not agree with their opinions. But recently, I was confronted not once, but twice with an uncomfortable situation with an elder.

And now, I’m feeling like I didn’t handle it correctly. That I let God and the people of color in my life down. Let me explain.

I was at an event with many childhood friends, and a man I’ve known a long time proceeded to tell a racist joke. My back was turned away from him at the time. He wasn’t close by but made an effort to tell the awful joke loudly so all could hear it. I froze, not knowing what to do. I decided to pretend I didn’t hear him, to ignore him. Maybe that way he’d leave having gotten no reaction from his audience. And no one, to my knowledge because I had my back to them, did indulge him. I didn’t hear laughing or comments. And honestly, it happened so fast, I thought: Okay, I reacted somewhat appropriately to that despicable joke which completely disgusted everything inside of me.

But then, hours later, he drew near once more and told another racist joke. A different one, like he had plenty to choose from, all stored away in his mind to pull forth when he wanted. I was facing my friend and, again, not him at the time. Both our eyes went wide. Our expressions turned angry and red as we, through the eye stare only close friends can have, silently asked each other, “What do we do?” 
I steeled my body against the rage. We rolled our eyes and made extra effort not to allow any movement or sound escape. We silently told one another not to let him even think he got a laugh out of us. 

But I didn’t say anything. Didn’t call him out for this repulsive humor. Didn’t stand and leave the area with a snarl he could see. Didn’t make sure, absolutely sure, he knew I didn’t think his jokes—or rather insults—were funny, that they in fact not only offended people I love but offended me as well by him thinking he could tell them in my presence.

And see, this man is a devoted church member. He’s raised a daughter with a beautiful heart and love for God. He prayed over the microphone for our dinner. He openly talks about Jesus, His Savior, which makes this situation so hard.

But, in prayer, I realized that I witnessed a blind spot in this man’s soul exposing itself. We all have them—blind spots. They’re a deception placed on us by the enemy. A part of our self that needs work, but a part that the devil has covered up carefully so that we don’t even notice it’s causing problems in our journey with Jesus.

My battle is not with this man, but with the enemy, so I must pray his blind spot is revealed to him (as I pray mine are to me as well). And I must ask God for forgiveness over my failure, and that He, in His glorious mercy, will give me opportunities to redeem myself.

I want to be respectful to my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I also want to stand up for my brothers and sisters in Christ. And as I’ve dwelled and prayed over this, recalling those few seconds after he concluded the joke, the conviction in my heart tells me I should have done more. This person told two racist jokes in my presence, and, elder or not, I should’ve reacted better and differently, defending openly my beloved people of color. I should’ve fought for them and the heartache his flippant words caused.

Will you, person of color, also forgive me, please? I am sorry I failed you. Will you also pray for me? Pray I have the courage and wisdom to combat respectfully anyone who may be in a position of authority, whether officially or superficially, over me when needed? Pray I’m able to stand up for justice, love, and my fellow Christian brothers and sisters without faltering?

I can do better. More. I will. For you. For my children. For my grandchildren.

And for yours.

~*~
Author Bio:

Kristen's passionate about storytelling and helping people take their next steps in their relationship with Jesus. 

She lives forty-five minutes outside of Atlanta, GA. where she served as a Children's Ministry Director for many years. With the support of her husband and two children, she now stays home writing fiction and non-fiction.

She also serves on the women’s leadership team at her local church and writes for Crosswalk and Wholly Loved Ministries. You can check out her articles and novels at www.kristenterrette.com.

~*~
Connect with Kristen:
Website - www.kristenterrette.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/KTerrette
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/kterrette/
Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16252020.Kristen_Terrette
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kristen-terrette
Pinterest - https://www.pinterest.com/kterrette2/

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Reconciling Sins


Reconciling the Sins of Our Ancestors
A guest post by Marie W. Watts

I, like many Caucasian Americans, have ancestors who were slaveholders. Case in point is documentation I have uncovered about my ancestor Francis Dorsett (my great-great-great-great-great grandfather) and his son John Dorsett (my direct descendent).

Francis was born in England in 1740 and migrated to the United States. The family settled in Chatham County, North Carolina. (West of Raleigh). Francis served in the Revolutionary War by furnishing supplies. Upon his death in 1813, he owned 277 acres of land. A complete inventory of possessions is fascinating and includes the following:
  • a hymn book and Bible, although he was illiterate, 
  • one looking glass, 
  • one wagon, 
  • blacksmith tools, 
  • Livestock: seventeen hogs, three horses, two cattle, four sheep, 
  • Kitchenware: two kettles, two pots, one skillet, one tea kettle, one set of teaware (sic), and One Negro Woman, Mime. (Note: Mime was left to Francis’s wife, Rebecca, in his will.
Rebecca was fortunate as he left her one-third of his property until her death. Then, the lands went to his sons. The custom was, at the time, to leave daughters nothing. However, he did leave Mime’s future firstborn child to his daughter as well as Mime, herself, upon Rebecca’s demise.

Slavery is abhorrent to me, and I am not personally responsible for it. Unfortunately, the remnants of slavery—racism—are woven into the fabric of our social and economic systems, leaving persons of color at a disadvantage. This impediment is not in keeping with the Christian tradition of loving your neighbor as yourself.

The question then becomes, are we responsible for the sins of our ancestors?

Dr. Michael Rhodes, in the article “Should We Repent of Our Grandparents’ Racism? Scripture on Intergenerational Sin”, suggests a closer look at Leviticus 26:40–44 for guidance. He states:

"…one reason the present generation needs to repent of the sins of their forebears is that sin causes a rupture that must be repaired. What’s required is not just that the present generation confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors, but also that they “make amends (yirṣû) for their iniquity” (26:41b, 43). If the damage one generation does is not fixed in their own day, that damage does not simply disappear at their death. The wrong must be righted, and the job may well fall on their descendants."

The healing process begins by naming our intergenerational sins and realizing how we, personally, have benefitted from them. For instance, depriving persons of color economically through the lack of good jobs, bank loans, and full participation in the American dream has left the rest of us in a better financial situation.

The second step is to actually make a change, starting within ourselves. Are we perpetuating stereotypes? Do we walk the talk of Christianity?

Until our hearts are clear, we cannot begin to take action in the community to undo the effects of racism. Once self-healing has occurred, we can take action by supporting efforts to create a racially just society. 

~*~
Author Bio:

Marie W. Watts is a former employment discrimination investigator and human resource consultant with over twenty-five years of experience. In pursuit of justice in the workplace, she’s been from jails to corporate boardrooms seeing the good, the bad, and the ugly of humans at work.

Her on-the-job observations came in handy when she co-authored a textbook about how to behave at work, Human Relations 4th ed. Additionally, her work has been published in the Texas Bar Journal and the Houston Business Journal as well as featured on Issues Today syndicated to 119 radio stations, NBC San Antonio, Texas, and TAMU-TV in College Station, Texas.

A popular diversity and employment discrimination trainer, Marie has trained thousands of employees to recognize their own biases and prejudices and avoid discriminating against others in the workplace. She has brought her experiences to life in the trilogy Warriors For Equal Rights about the struggles of ordinary people who work at the little-known federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

She and her husband live on a ranch in central Texas. In her spare time, she supports a historic house and hangs out with her grandsons. For more information about Marie and her stories about life, visit www.mariewatts.com.

~*~
Connect with Marie:
BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/profile/marie-w-watts
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mariewattsbooks
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MarieWattsBooks
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/mariewattswriter/
LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-w-watts-5b2a2b/



Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: Be the Bridge (book review)


Roseanna M. White's Review of Latasha Morrison's book, 
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

There is a racial divide in this nation—that’s beyond dispute. There are sides that fail to see each other’s point of view. Frankly, there are even those who don’t realize there is another point of view. But if we’re going to learn one thing from the past, it should perhaps be this: the Church cannot achieve unity, understanding, and Jesus Christ’s vision for us if we fail to love one another and grant each other the right to perceive, understand, and experience life in the way He made each of us to do. So then the question is clear. How do we come together?

In Be the Bridge, Latasha Morrison examines this question with love, grace, and a clear desire to help each of us not just reach out across the divide, but to be a bridge that lets others walk toward understanding. Throughout the book, she sheds light on some history that is never spoken of in White circles, but which we need to know about. She takes readers, no matter their ethnicity, through the invention of race and how our society has been stacked to give advantage to the majority White culture. She helps us to understand not only how our nation has arrived at this place, but how we—whether we’re White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, or any other background—have either knowingly or unwittingly participated in this system.

But she doesn’t stop with education. Morrison then takes that crucial next step and walks us through what to do about it—not on national, government levels, but individually. She explains what we as individuals can do to acknowledge the past, heal the present, and change the future.

I think the thing that most impressed me about this book wasn’t just the loving approach, the patient explanations, or the fair-minded advice; it’s the fact that she’s put wheels on her words. There are Be the Bridge groups in every state, not started by the author, but simply organized by like-minded people like you and me. People who don’t pretend to have all the answers but who just want to listen. Who want to learn what life is like for others. Who want to love their neighbors, even when that means going out of our way—because shouldn’t it always mean that?

Be the Bridge
is already a bestseller, so many of you have probably already heard about it and read it yourself. It’s my prayer that many more do the same, and that it leads to more conversations, more open eyes, and more open hearts. It’s my prayer that more Be the Bridge groups spring up around this country, and that the Church can lead the way toward racial reconciliation by our sheer, overpowering love for each other and those around us.

Let’s not be content to stand on one side of the divide and look across to those on the other side. 

Let’s be the bridge to true unity.

~*~
Author Bio:
Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. 

When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing for WhiteFire Publishing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself.

Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books … to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary.

You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

~*~
Connect with Roseanna:
Blog: https://roseannamwhite.com/blog/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoseannaMWhite/
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/roseannamwhite/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roseannamwhite/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoseannaMWhite
Website: https://www.roseannamwhite.com

~*~
Blurb for Latasha Morrison's book 
Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • ECPA BESTSELLER • “When it comes to the intersection of race, privilege, justice, and the church, Tasha is without question my best teacher. Be the Bridge is THE tool I wish to put in every set of hands.”
—Jen Hatmaker 

Winner of the Christianity Today Book Award • A leading advocate for racial reconciliation calls Christians to move toward deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture.


In an era where we seem to be increasingly divided along racial lines, many are hesitant to step into the gap, fearful of saying or doing the wrong thing. At times the silence, particularly within the church, seems deafening.

But change begins with an honest conversation among a group of Christians willing to give a voice to unspoken hurts, hidden fears, and mounting tensions. These ongoing dialogues have formed the foundation of a global movement called Be the Bridge—a nonprofit organization whose goal is to equip the church to have a distinctive and transformative response to racism and racial division.

In this perspective-shifting book, founder Latasha Morrison shows how you can participate in this incredible work and replicate it in your own community. With conviction and grace, she examines the historical complexities of racism. She expertly applies biblical principles, such as lamentation, confession, and forgiveness, to lay the framework for restoration.

Along with prayers, discussion questions, and other resources to enhance group engagement, Be the Bridge presents a compelling vision of what it means for every follower of Jesus to become a bridge builder—committed to pursuing justice and racial unity in light of the gospel.

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Author Bio: 

LATASHA MORRISON is a bridge-builder, reconciler, and a compelling voice in the fight for racial justice. In 2016, she founded Be the Bridge, a non-profit organization equipping more than 1,000 sub-groups across five countries to serve as ambassadors of racial reconciliation. 


Numerous organizations have recognized her as a leading social justice advocate, including Facebook's Community Leadership Program, Forbes, and EBONY magazine. A native of North Carolina, Tasha earned degrees in human development and business leadership. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

Sharing Our Stories: A Letter to White Christians from a hurting heart


A Letter to White Christians
A guest post by Rev. Dr. Angelle M. Jones, DMin

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” –Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Dear White Christians,

To my sisters and brothers with whom I worship each week, I greet you. In the name of the One who has shown us through His Word, not only what is good, but also what the Lord requires of you. It is in this mighty name of Jesus, the One in whom you confess that we the people, all people, are created in the imago Dei.

I bring you greetings from your African-American brothers and sisters whose ancestors were stripped from their homeland. The slave catchers and traitors worked together devising a plan to accost free labor to build this great and free land.

To this end, some four hundred years ago the slaves who were unwillingly brought to this country, were envisioned only through the lens of the economic advancement of your forefathers. Instead of seeing my ancestral captives as fellow human beings, the slave masters were greed-filled opportunist in pursuit of financial gain. This devious plan originally designed to keep my ancestors shackled for generations to come, has been successful. Hundreds of years later, the same capitalistic structures continue to keep the descendants of slaves systemically and economically bound. In light of this historical truth, I ask you my brothers and sisters what exactly did the faith of your ancestors require for them to be considered good?

From the depths of my heart I painfully write this letter, sadly conflicted by the afflictions of my ancestors who worshipped in the hush harbors of Antebellum slave churches. In centuries past, slaves would meet in secluded buildings, or wooded areas far away from the plantation to secretly worship away from the master’s hearing or reach. Even more so, I write this letter with a heart that’s doubtful that much has changed.

Whether worshipping in hidden hush harbors or in churches under the tutelage of white slave masters in generations past, or in twenty-first century multicultural churches, Black worshippers in America have had to fight for the freedom to worship in our own way. Unfortunately, even in today’s sacred spaces, assimilation continues to be the preferred way to achieve diversity. Because a large number of so-called “multicultural” churches are led by White pastors and staff, we continue to adapt to your preferred style of preaching, prayer, or music.

With these truths in mind, I write in behalf of the thousands of Black brothers and sisters, who have supported multicultural churches, with their sweat equity, in the name of ministry. I speak directly to those pastors who after preaching the Holy Writ each Sunday, in the same manner that slave masters treated slaves, seemingly, many of you cannot find the words to say thank you.

Often ignoring the Black members who encourage you with a gospel style of worship that you say you love, or a hearty black church “Hallelujah” or “Amen” to support your preaching.

Although our different hues of brown skin glare at you from the choir stand, or the pew, it pains us when you descend from your lofty pulpit, and we are ignored. Just as the slaves had no real place except in the field and were at the beckoning of their master, in the same way Blacks in your churches are often locked out of your social circles. Rarely, are we invited to the table or to serve on your church staff. Sadly, we have learned the art of normalizing the pain of rejection just as we do in secular contexts, although it is real and has caused us to scatter. I ask you my White Christian brothers and sisters, is this all your faith requires of you today?

As I compare some of your oppressive ways to that of a slave master, I’m certain most of you, will emphatically disagree. I challenge you as Christ followers, and leaders in the church to consider what is good. Just as your Christian forefathers were complicit when my enslaved ancestors were brought to laboriously build this nation, it is with that very same mentality that some of you turn a blind eye as Black congregants build your church edifices with their giving today. The burden I bear in behalf of my Black and Brown brothers and sisters in many of your sacred spaces is both painful and traumatic. Yes, as hard as it is to believe, in the eyes of many of your African-American members, it remains true that the oppressive mindset of Christian slave masters of yesterday, continue to rule in multicultural churches today.

While entering into diverse places of worship, having been bombarded the week before with images of brutal killings of Black bodies by White police, what will it take for you to see that seated right next to you, your brothers and sisters are embodying the pain of watching those who look like them needlessly die?

Sadly, in churches all over America, during the most segregated hour of the week, White masters (pastors), preach messages defending this great country and its iconic flag, while the world watches melanin skinned bodies annihilated right before their eyes.

Once again, I ask, what does it mean for you who uphold this country as great, to act justly and to show mercy toward the oppressed?

My brothers and sisters, may this serve as a reminder of what the Lord says He requires. It is time to acknowledge the ills of America’s past justly, while embracing our present pain mercifully.

May we allow the recent events, as we are moved by the current of The Holy Spirit, and cause the Church to walk humbly with one another and with our God. May we usher in a revolution of His Kingdom, on Earth, as it is in Heaven.

God bless you.

Sincerely, your sister-in-Christ,
Rev. Dr. Angelle M. Jones, DMin

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Author Bio:

“Inspiring and Motivating With the Power of Words” 


Angelle M. Jones believes that the power of words inspires, and motivate to bring about transformative change individually and collectively.

Angelle originally hails from Cleveland, Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in African-American studies from the University of Cincinnati. Angelle has a master’s degree in Theological Studies from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia and an earned Doctorate in Ministry on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, and his philosophy of The Beloved Community from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio.

Her ministry career began as a staff member of the Northeastern Ohio Billy Graham Crusade in 1994. For twenty years, as founder and director of In The Spirit Ministries, Inc. she led teams on mission outreaches throughout the world. From 2007-2012 Angelle served as Missions Director of New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio where she currently resides. Angelle is founder and director of GlobaLife Coaching and Consulting serving as a Life and Transformation Coach and Church Consultant.

In 2016 Angelle authored and self-published her first book, Happily Never After. Along with sharing words of hope by sharing her writings on her social media platforms, she has been published in Vantage Magazine which is a literary source for faculty, students and alumni of Columbia Theological Seminary, and Ready which is a cutting-edge online magazine addressing current events and trending socially relevant topics for women.

Angelle is the mother of an adult daughter. She is a grandmother and great-grandmother.