To give

I’ve always been particularly interested in Dietrich Bon­hoeffer’s time in Har­lem. Bonhoeffer attended the Abyssin­ian Baptist Church, where he was deeply influenced by black Christian faith. In Bon­hoeffer’s Black Jesus, Reggie Willliams digs into Bonhoeffer’s experience with the black church—a formative experience that helped prepare him to resist the Nazi regime.

Fruitvale Station was the most moving film I saw last year (directed by Ryan Cooglar). Given the growing frustrations in Fergu­son and elsewhere, it should be required viewing. It’s a beautiful and artful drama based on the real-life story of Oscar Grant, a young man who was shot in the back by police while handcuffed and lying on his stomach.

For something a little lighter, I recommend Guardians of the Galaxy, recently released as a DVD. This action-hero film is funny, quirky, and at times even sentimental. It has a different feel than some of the other superhero films out there, and it’s thoroughly enjoyable.

To receive

Cornel West is one of the most important social prophets of our time. His book Black Prophetic Fire lifts up several black men and women who have embodied the prophetic tradition, a tradition West hopes will get passed on to the next generation. I want to read and be challenged by his insight, courage, and hope—by his own prophetic fire.

I was shocked when I saw that Anomaly, Lecrae’s recent album, was topping the hip hop charts, given that he has usually stayed off the mainstream radar and been segregated into the world of Christian hip hop. I hear, however, that this album is less preachy and more socially conscious. That’s enough to make me curious.

My last choice is The Oxford Handbook of African American Theology, edited by Katie Cannon and Anthony Pinn. This tome has more than 500 pages of exploration, examination, and engagement with the field of African-American theology over the years—and also considers where this theology needs to go in the future. The price tag is hefty, so unless it’s given to me, I won’t be using this resource.


Drew G. I. Hart

Drew G. I. Hart is an author and professor in theology and ethics. His blog Taking Jesus Seriously is hosted by the Century.

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