Announcing My Next Book Deal

Imagine two neighbors, one white and one black sitting down for a cup of coffee. The white neighbor has history in the small town—her family runs the local restaurant, her uncle is the community pastor, her mom is a career teacher at the only primary school, and her great uncle is the mayor. The story of the white neighbor is well known by everyone and it is considered normal. The black neighbor is new to town, so her story is virtually unknown. It is either distorted, rarely heard, or told in small snippets.

This is what it sometimes feels like to be black in America. We are treated as outsiders in a town where those in the majority group know and trust each other because of a known and shared history; but because of limited personal interactions, lack of familiarity, or cultural awareness, it is easy for Americans who identify as white to perpetuate lies and myths about their black and brown neighbors.

Some may ask: Why are we so divided across racial/ethnic and socioeconomic lines in America? I believe people desperately want an accessible way to answer this question, to confront their concerns, and to better understand themselves and their neighbors. People of good will may long to shed their fears of the unknown, reject false assumptions, and enter into relationships with their neighbor, but for this to happen, we must trade in the shallow break room chatter for more informed dinner conversations and long talks on the front porch.

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The Birth of a Nation: From Darkness to Light

When I was a college student at the United States Naval Academy, I received an email from a stranger who was tracing his family tree. My maiden name “Sistrunk” is quite rare, and it is one that we shared so he wanted a chance to meet. Since I was intrigued and didn’t know him, I thought it best that we meet in a public and safe place. I invited him to attend a Naval Academy Gospel Choir concert where I would be singing on the secure campus grounds.

I suspected he was a white male. When he arrived, he discovered that I was black. We shared our pleasantries and after such initial persistence, I never heard from him again. The unspoken truth between us revealed there was really only one way for him and me to share a last name. But you see, he thought there was no place for me in his story.

But there is a history and connected between both of our stories and indeed our lives. Both are laced with brokenness, violence, and darkness while offering a hope for a better future.

The Darkness of Slavery

I was privileged to complete an early screening of the movie, “Birth of a Nation,” now in movie theaters everywhere. If this viewing has taught me anything, it has reminded me of the interconnectedness of our stories and our brokenness. It has caused me again to reflect on the violence that takes place in the darkness.

birth-of-a-nation-bill

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Presidential Elections and Why Abortion is not the Issue

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.

For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

They have no struggles;

Their bodies are healthy and strong.

They are free from the burdens common to man;

They are not plagued by human ills.

Therefore pride is their necklace;

They cloth themselves with violence.

From their callous hearts comes iniquity;

The evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

They scoff, and speak with malice;

Their mouths lay claim to heaven,

And their tongues take possession of the earth.

Therefore their people turn to them

And drink up waters in abundance.

They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”

This is what the wicked are like—

Always carefree, they increase in wealth.

Psalm 73:1-12 NIV

The idea of rich people abusing their power, thinking they know more than God, or having no regard for other people is not lost on the Psalmist. Yes, these people may increase in status, success, and wealth as defined by the world’s standards, but that is not the end of their fate.

This humble reminder is my thought of meditate today. I meditate on these words and share my thoughts not to encourage support of one candidate on another. I have no political alliances.

Continue reading “Presidential Elections and Why Abortion is not the Issue”