Wrestling with complicated issues like racism requires both the willingness to enter into the tension and conflict and the humility to reflect upon your own heart and allow it to be challenged and transformed. We approach this process of critical contemplation-and our interactions with other people- as learners. We ask God to enable us to learn, to render our resistant wills pliant, our defensive minds permeable.
Defenses lowered, we step with vulnerability into the fray, trusting that what we will learn out of it will shape us into people who can better engage with the deep-rooted problems of our time–and better love the people hurting in our local and global communities. This is not intuitive to us; if anything, when a conversation topic gets too “political” or when a friend’s story begins to take an uncomfortable edge, we retreat. I’ve heard that delving into subjects like racism, sexism, xenophobia gets “divisive.” I disagree. We are already estranged from one another because of these sinful dynamics, and that is exactly why we must learn about and challenge them candidly, owning our fear and pain and stepping in deeper.
There are many ways to learn, and we should not depend on just one to inform our understanding of other people’s realities–of our reality interconnected with theirs. For example, you cannot depend solely on your Latina friend’s story to create your entire framework for understanding all the issues both personal and systemic that Latinx peoples experience. It’s one valid lens, and it’s important–but to better locate yourself in the bigger story, you need insight from other sources as well.
For this reason, I’m sharing with you my bookshelf: my list of resources that I have found helpful as I’m unraveling these complex problems and working through them. And that’s what I do–work through them. I move through the words, measuring the ideas, deciding what to hold and examine further–and what to let go. But, hard as it is, I allow them to expand my horizon to encompass new ideas and stories I’m either not familiar with or need to learn more about.
I’ve sorted them here by topic, and I will continue to update it over time–I’m still learning too after all! But I encourage you to check these out and learn with me.