BOOK CLUB: A Heart For Freedom

d46b6-chailing

My heart holds a special place for the country of China and its peoples. So it was with great anticipation that I read through Chai Ling’s A Heart For Freedom in March for our book club.Maybe my expectations were set too high, but I felt a little disappointed in Chai’s book.

I certainly found her life fascinating…but I wish her editor had helped her shape her story into a more cohesive narrative.The first half of the book—up through the Tiananmen Square Incident—zips along quickly. And I continued to stay emotionally engaged through her period of hiding following June 4th. But once she escaped her beloved China, she kind of lost me.Ironically, I found her story of coming to faith in Christ and her subsequent calling to ministry a bit lacking.

(more…)

Will We Listen to Trayvon?

Trayvon

“This morning new evidence has turned up in the case of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin…”

New video footage.

New recordings of 911 phone calls.

New eyewitness accounts.

And so again, we Americans get caught up in a news story about a tragedy, a violent death. If history repeats itself, we will spend the next weeks, months—or even years if it goes to trial—sorting through every little detail of the case.

Each side will pick and choose which aspects of the story we would like to focus on, while conveniently leaving out or minimizing other points. We will build our own case for why our side is right, and the other side wrong.

And once again, those “sides” will largely fall along racial lines.

(more…)

BOOK CLUB: The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr.

19daa-autobiography-of-martin-luther-king-jrI’m not quite finished with The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. But I want to keep the book club on schedule, so I’m sharing my thoughts on it today anyway.

His entire story has inspired me so far—as evidenced by the underlined passages on almost every page I’ve read!

What a gift, to get inside Dr. King’s head as he…

…processed his experience as a minority in our country:

“The first time I was seated behind a curtain in a dining car, I felt as if the curtain had been dropped on my selfhood.”  (more…)

BOOK CLUB: The Hiding Place

hiding place“We must tell people what we have learned here. We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.”

So implored Corrie ten Boom’s sister as she lay ill as a prisoner at Ravensbruck concentration camp, during World War II. I’m so glad Corrie listened to her sister, and told us their story. What an incredible story it is.

I don’t want to say much more about the particulars of the story, just in case there’s one other Christian in the world besides me who had not read The Hiding Place before. If by any chance you fall into that category, YOU MUST OBTAIN A COPY OF THE BOOK AND READ IT NOW!  (more…)

Go See ‘Red Tails’ This Weekend!

tuskegee airmen
Real-life Tuskegee Airmen

.
George Lucas struggled for 23 years to make the movie “Red Tails.” The film is inspired by the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African American military aviators to see combat, during World War II. The film is patriotic, inspirational, and action-packed. It stars Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding, Jr.Why? Because it features an all-black cast. Black protagonists. Black supporting cast. White people are peripheral to the story.

And Hollywood won’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not a story about the plight of African Americans and how a noble white person entered their world and saved the day. (See “The Blind Side,” “The Help,” etc.) It’s an old-fashioned, American-flag-waving war movie. The heroes just happen to be black.  (more…)

Thoughts on MLK’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’

5c38b-mlk-in-birmingham-jail
Photo Credit: Bettman/Corbis

.
This weekend our nation celebrates one of our history’s greatest leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Earlier this week, my friend Kristy mentioned a blog post featuring a quote from Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” I had heard quotes from the letter before, things like, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and “Justice too long delayed is justice denied.” But I had never read the whole thing through.

(more…)

BOOK CLUB: Gilead

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson just became one of my favorite books of all time.

Reading it was like eating a super-rich dessert: One part of me wanted to consume it slowly, to just hold it on my tongue and savor every bite. But the other part of me relished it so much I couldn’t stop!* Now it will take me a while to digest.

I knew very little about Gilead before I picked it up. I remember reading reviews of it when it came out in 2004. I knew it won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award. I had a vague idea it touched on religious themes. Several friends recommended it.

But it was nothing that I expected.  (more…)