Reggie Williams's Christmas picks

November 24, 2015

Kelly Brown Douglas is an accomplished scholar with a prophetic theological voice that speaks to Christians in the pews and the theological academy. Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God (Orbis) articulates questions that African-American pastors hear in their communities in the wake of high-profile deaths that have shocked the conscience and provoked despair, questions like “Where is the justice of God?” and “What are we to hope for?” Brown Douglas interprets this present, historical conundrum as an African-American mother, articulating a faith that is a black mother’s hope and ground to stand on. In Ferguson and Faith: Sparking Leadership and Awakening Community (Chalice), Leah Gunning Francis takes readers into the street protests with local Christians. The book has been called a “work of justice,” a “memoir of a movement,” and a “must read for all leaders of faith communities.” The author uncovers a different narrative in Ferguson than the one told on the local news; her story is about faith leaders who were inspired to act. My final book pick, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau), was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times, Esquire, and Time, and since its August 2015 release it’s won numerous awards. Author Bryan Stevenson takes readers on a journey through a time when he was a young, idealistic lawyer defending Walter Mc­Millian, a young man who was sent to death row for a murder he insisted he did not commit. Stevenson found himself inside of a tangled, broken justice system, where he relearned the meaning of justice and mercy. Finally, my family loves the movie Interstellar. In addition to being a well-researched masterpiece of science fiction, the story line includes a deep, engaging theme: the power of love to save and to repair. In Interstellar love and human nature are explored at the philosophical and scientific levels. But it’s the simple yet profound love between a father and his daughter that saves humankind. This is a special kind of gift.