In recent months, diverse groups of Christian leaders have spoken up against injustices against people of color and other oppressed people within our society.
Beth Moore shared an open letter about the importance of women leaders and the misogyny and racism within American Evangelicalism. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, also joined the great cloud of witnesses by taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s incitement of racism and his unjust, unethical, and immoral practices in his personal, public, and political life. When Beth Moore speaks, her posts go viral. When Russell Moore speaks, he gets featured on CNN. While I deeply appreciate when sisters and brothers like these use their platforms to influence and speak as the Holy Spirit pricks their hearts, I want us to also ask why the voices of the people of color who have been fighting the good fight and speaking against these same injustices for years, some for decades, go unheard?
White allies and sisters and brothers must acknowledge that when things are bad for White women in society and in the church, they are far worse for women of color. Allies, in their confessions and laments, must also use their platforms as an opportunity to elevate, sponsor, and share space with people of color who have been consistent in their witness and faithful in their work and convictions for years. Whenever the words “race” or “reconciliation” are mentioned within the Christian framework, I need the names and contributions of those like the Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, professor Drew G.I. Hart, Edward Gilbreath, LaTasha Morrison, and the Rev. Efrem Smith elevated.
I know that I have been away for some time and it looks like I may have abandoned the idea of writing or have forgotten about you. Nothing can be further from the truth!
For starters, I have been writing a lot. Over the past year (and a little more actually) I have been faithfully praying, reading, researching, and wrestling with God (he won, he always wins) about the contents of my next book.
I am so pleased to announce its title, “A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World,” and to share my new book cover!
I decided to publish this book with InterVarsity Press because of their commitment to raising up the voices of women (check out their new #ReadWomen campaign) and people of color.
Today, I have a special treat for you. I’m doing an interview with Jo Saxton, a leader I’m honored to know. You might recall that I posted a review of her new book, “The Dream of You” recently on the blog. Now I’m digging into some of the questions I had while reading it. I pray this will encourage you.
Natasha: Jo, you have quite an interesting story. You speak all over the country and have become known as the “Nigerian Brit,” can you share a little bit about that story, and how your name changed from Modupe to Jo?
I call myself a Nigerian Brit because both play a fundamental role in my identity. I’m a Yoruba Nigerian, and my parents moved to England in the 1960’s. Many of my formative years were spent growing up among a wide Nigerian community in London. Nigerian food, Nigerian sounds, Nigerian cultural practices. That was my norm.
Nonetheless, London is my hometown; and it’s a diverse and cosmopolitan city. Its where I grew up, made friends, had crushes on local boys; I walked its streets and loved it. I feel such a visceral connection to London because its shaped me too. Still the London I grew up in is eclectic, much more so than the pictures of England captured in shows like Downton Abbey or The Crown.
My London includes Buckingham palace with the royal family, and Big Ben and tourist attractions, but it’s also Brixton market with its Ankara materials and meats and fruit. My London is fish and chips, and chicken tikka masala and jolloff rice. Its hanging out at the local pub and the local hair salon, knowing they house two different cultural worlds. Its reading Shakespeare, Ben Okri and Zadie Smith. Its Wham & Shalamar, soul music and Seal, as my elders dance to Sunny Ade again. All of that is the London I called my home.