Commission on Religion and Race (CORR)

What is CORR reading?

Guided by the Annual Conference Shepherding Team’s goal to “Live Out the Conviction that Racism is Incompatible with Christian Teaching," our CORR members have been encouraging each other and Grace’s membership to engage in ongoing self-reflection, cross-cultural sharing, and growth.  In partnership with other Grace groups, we would like to share with you two book reviews each month that our members found inspiring or informative.  Enjoy!

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You 
By:  Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Age range - Youth;  Reviewed by: Lanie Patterson

Notice: Regarding recommendations for children and youth, each child is unique in their own development and sensitivities.  You know your child or youth best, and we encourage each family to preview any book recommendation to make sure it is appropriate for your individual family.   

In my history classes, there were many crucial historical events that were brushed over or weren’t fully explained, and I never thought to question that. Stamped did a great job of presenting American history in a way that I wasn't taught in school; it pieced together events in history that explains the political, social, and economic environment that we live in today. Stamped opened eyes to how systems like slavery, even though it was abolished in the US over 150 years ago, still has an impact on present times, though not in the way we think. The idea of systematic racism may seem far-fetched to many, but when you take the time to look closer at certain functions and structures in our society, you start to see a pattern. This book’s timespan starts in the year 1415 and ends today, in 2020. It’s easy to think that we’ve come so far in getting rid of racism, but Stamped highlights ideas and events in a way that would say otherwise. I think reading this book allowed me to have more historical context to help me perceive the events that are going on today, and it has led me to have a basic understanding of the history of racism in our country. The topic of racism can be a difficult subject to discuss, but I am so grateful that our youth group decided to have a book club surrounding this book because I believe that it is a step in the right direction for a better future for all. 

The Spirit of Methodism
By:  Jeffrey W. Barbeau
Age range: Adult; Reviewed by:  Chamus Burnside-Savazzini

I have always been on a mission to understand the true relationship between the Bahamian Methodist Church I was raised in, and the United Methodist Church I am now a member of. Barbeau provides vivid descriptions of what was taking place at various times in Methodist expansion and captures historical events that connect how Methodism spread to various countries. 

In chapter ten, when I saw the image of a medallion by British Abolitionist, Josiah Wedgwood, showing a male slave with stretched shackled arms and the statement, “Am I Not A Man and a Brother?,” I thought about the many Methodist leaders that fought to abolish slavery including the African Methodists, who in their own despair and fear, still spread the Gospel and challenged those of European descent to remember that they too are Brothers.  This was a reminder that when we see something (that is not right) we should say something.  We should speak up as Christians and never be implicit in response to inequality and matters of discrimination and racial injustice.  Excellent read and encouraged me to put my faith into action, just as many of the African Methodists and others have who worked to abolish slavery.