#WhatsTheMessage EP 028 Racism: A White Christian Agenda

In this episode Carmela and Claudia catch up on the headlines discussing everything from developments with the census, the importance of voting, and how research is showing that White Christians are more racist than non-religious whites. Join them for an awesome conversation right here on YouTube or on the Message magazine Facebook page. And be sure to check out Dr. Tichianaa Armah’s article on Bevelyn Beatty, a Black woman who attempted to cover up a Black Lives Matter mural with black paint while declaring “Jesus matters!” and “vote Trump, vote Republican, vote Christian.” This is an informative and really interesting episode. Check it out, and click on the link below to read the full article.

https://www.messagemagazine.com/artic…

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#WhatsTheMessage EP 027: Bridging the Digital Divide Part 2

Carmela and Claudia welcome back Kirk Nugent and Dr. Paul McNeil to the #WhatsTheMessage podcast. In this episode Carmela and Claudia talk with Kirk and Paul about the practical ways churches can help bridge the digital divide in low-income communities. But they also learn what a good digital survival kit is. What devices, measures, and education do we need to use technology and the internet successfully and safely. This is a great episode you don’t want to miss. Check this episode out today!

Make sure to follow Kirk Nugent on all social media platforms @kirkrnugent and subscribe to his YouTube channel. Visit his websites for his services and content at www.kirknugentspeaks.com and www.howitallwerks.com.

Make sure to follow Dr. Paul McNeil on Twitter @UsableSecGuy and visit his websites for his services and content at www.mbusecurity.com and www.ctspeaks.org.

Subscribe to our print magazine and get our weekly newsletter by visiting our website at www.messagemagazine.com and follow us on social media @Message1898

 




Your Liberation Library

Where You Live Impacts Your Health

In How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick: Restoring Health and Wellness to Our Communities co-authors Veronica Squires and Breanna Lathrop assert that people’s social environments (social determinants) need to be considered and met in order to treat and provide holistic healing.

Title:                            How Neighborhoods Make Us Sick: Restoring Health and Wellness to Our Communities

Author:                       Veronica Squires and Breanna Lathrop

Publisher:                  InterVarsity Press, 2019

Reviewer:                   Omar Miranda, Counselor and Freelance Writer

What are the main concerns being addressed?

The two main concerns being addressed are:

  1. How and why people’s environments make them sick
  2. How to use a comprehensive whole-health approach to meet all the needs people have to provide optimal health.

Were those concerns clearly stated?

Yes. Both Veronica Squires and Breanna Lathrop demonstrate comprehensive and authoritative knowledge about the topic. And they clearly articulate the main concerns listed throughout the book.

What are the book’s strengths and contributions?

The most powerful strength of this book is that Squires and Lathrop actually moved into the neighborhood and community that they were seeking to serve. Both authors take turns writing from a first-person perspective about each issue and topic they address—and how their own social determinants affected them and their neighbors and communities. This book is both humorous and academically rigorous given the research studies it presents. The stellar writing goes a step further in its approach at making the research relevant breaking it down and applying it to specific situations with patients.

The authors powerfully prove their thesis that the old conventional healthcare model of simply providing physical healthcare to the neglect of various social and environmental issues that a patient faces is insufficient and ultimately ineffective. The authors walk the reader through the research behind such a problem and give the reader an inside look at how they shifted in their medical practice at “Good Samaritan Health Center” in Atlanta, Georgia—one of the most successful and effective holistic health centers. 

What do you wish the author would have added?

At the end of the book Squires and Lathrop provide discussion questions for both parts of the book. However, the book packs so much information into each chapter that it would have been much more effective if each chapter had it’s own discussion questions.

What do you wish the author would have left out?

I wished the authors left out their justifications for moving into an urban inner-city community. Considering that both authors are White, I understand that they were trying to be transparent and authentic. However, I perceived this portion of their narrative to be somewhat condescending, and reminiscent of racial imperialism. For example, they write, “I’m white and I’m going to move down to this inner-city, predominantly black neighborhood and save everybody!” Alternatively, the authors could have just written that they decided to move into a community that was close to their work and then written about what they learned. It is possible to be too honest, and not everything a writer thinks needs to be written.

What were some good conscience quickening quotes from the book?

“The neighborhood [urban, lower socioeconomic] is deadly, but . . . for those living within the neighborhood, poverty, unemployment, racism, the built environment, and systems of oppression are literally making them sick.” 7

“Ignoring social determinants is equivalent to treating patients with unwashed hands and wondering why disease keeps spreading. . . .Community members, city planners, social services providers, educators, faith communities, and businesses must collaborate to create a new normal: a society where zip code doesn’t determine life expectancy.” 25

“ . . . God wants his creation to be healthy. The Gospels show Jesus healing, serving, and being with people, often the ones most ostracized by society.” 106

“Small changes can gain national momentum when increasing numbers of people demand change and commit to being part of that process. Be a part of that change process. . . . There is a better way for our nation to be healthy.” 195

What was so liberating about the book?

What was liberating about the book was that the authors, both in their personal and professional lives, made amazing shifts in how they perceived their realities. They were able to learn, live, and truly begin to understand becoming more than just being empathetic. Ultimately, they came to know how many communities only exist, but don’t truly live! Then they realized that they, and really all of us, can each work together to make a real and lasting change in the way healthcare is delivered in the United States of America. Understanding their shift and making it a reality in multiple communities could bring us all one step closer to truly being the United States of America.




#WhatsTheMessage EP 026: Bridging the Digital Divide Part I

In this episode Carmela and Claudia welcome Kirk Nugent and Dr. Paul McNeil to the podcast to discuss the digital divide and the recent digital shift. COVID-19 has thrust our churches, schools, and businesses into an exclusively digital space. But many still don’t know how to transition, they work with organizations that are still hostile to the digital shift and are simply pushing and awaiting reopening, and still others do not have access to the internet or digital devices. Our conversation highlights the realities of both the digital divide and this pandemic induced digital shift. Tune in to hear the tremendous information these experts share with us.
Make sure to follow Kirk Nugent on all social media platforms @kirkrnugent and subscribe to his YouTube channel. Visit his websites for his services and content at www.kirknugentspeaks.com and www.howitallwerks.com.
Make sure to follow Dr. Paul McNeil on Twitter @UsableSecGuy and visit his websites for his services and content at www.mbusecurity.com and www.ctspeaks.org.
Subscribe to our print magazine and get our weekly newsletter by visiting our website at www.messagemagazine.com and follow us on social media @Message1898



Your Liberation Library

How Dietrich Bonhoeffer met the Black Christ in Harlem, NY

In Reggie Williams’ Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance he argues that Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s protest against the Nazis was largely influenced by his experience in New York, where he met a Jesus who sides with the oppressed rather than the oppressor.

Title: Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus: Harlem Renaissance Theology and an Ethic of Resistance

Author: Reggie L. Williams, PhD (Christian Ethics)

Publisher: Baylor University Press, 2014

Reviewer: Carl McRoy, ordained minister and MESSAGE magazine propagandist

What are the main concerns being addressed?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German theologian who is celebrated for his book, The Cost of Discipleship and revered for his resistance against the Nazis during World War II. Tragically, Dr. Bonhoeffer was stripped naked and hanged in a concentration camp shortly before Allied forces arrived. What led him to defiantly endanger himself when he had opportunities to escape and lead a comfortable life in the U.S.? Reggie L. Williams argues that a pivotal life experience came during Bonhoeffer’s fellowship at Union Theological Seminary, where he studied the Harlem Renaissance literary movement and was active in the Abyssinian Baptist Church, then under the leadership of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. From there, he went back to Germany with a love for Gospel music and confronted Hitler’s Church with Harlem’s Christ.

Were these concerns clearly stated?

Yes. Dr. Williams, who is a member of the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society, documents the trends found in Bonhoeffer’s sermons, writings, and ministry activities before and after his time in America. An example of the Harlem Renaissance influence may be found in this excerpt from a 1932 Lutheran catechism that Bonhoeffer coauthored:

“God has arranged it so that all races of humanity of the earth come from one blood (Acts 17:26). Therefore, a defiant ethnic pride in flesh and blood is a sin against the Holy Spirit” (quoted on page 112).

Compare that to an excerpt from W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Credo,” which states, “I Believe in God who made of one blood all nations that on earth do dwell. I believe that all men, black, brown, and white, are brothers” (quoted on 56). 

What are the book’s strengths and contributions?

Bonhoeffer’s Black Jesus gives us a fuller picture of who Dietrich Bonhoeffer was, along with some of the motivating factors and people in his life. Here was a German Lutheran theologian who found joy serving under the leadership of an African American Baptist pastor—in the 1930s! He was of aristocratic background, but his heart was moved by inequalities of various sorts, from New York to the Deep South to Mexico to Cuba, and then back to the poor and outcast in Germany. Williams also provides copious resources to better understand the settings of “Harlem’s Christ” and “Hitler’s Church” in the body of the text as well as the endnotes.

What do you wish the author would have added?

To add more would need another volume. The book is under 150 pages before getting to the endnotes, however it is weighty reading. What I wish Williams would consider is writing a less scholarly version, perhaps a middle or high school level biography, to reach a wider audience with his valuable contribution.

What do you wish the author would have left out?

Anything less and I think the author would have come up short of his goal. There wasn’t much duplication of phrases, ideas, or quotes. There wasn’t much fluff either. 

What were some good conscience quickening quotes from the book? 

Since Dr. Williams seeks to give voice to Dietrich Bonhoeffer in ways that others haven’t, I’ll simply share a few Bonhoeffer quotes that Williams has curated:

“Isn’t it downright cynical to talk about consolation in heaven because one does not want to give consolation on earth?” (104)?

“Things do exist that are worth standing up for without compromise. To me it seems that peace and social justice are such things, as is Christ himself” (110).

“The church is the church only when it is there for others” (128).

Speaking of his fellowship with African Americans, Bonhoeffer wrote:

“Here one gets to see something of the real face of America, something that is hidden behind the veil of words in the American constitution saying that ‘all men are created equal’” (75).

What was so liberating about the book?

It demonstrates that we can find allies from different backgrounds. It also shows that the dominant culture can learn a lot by considering the perspectives of the oppressed. Through Bonhoeffer’s example we know that we can break free of cultural restraints instead of simply being a product of the times. The cross of Christ provides a lens for us to critique and work towards correcting social ills.




#WhatsTheMessage EP 025: Entanglement & Toxic Femininity

In this episode Carmela and Claudia welcome Amelia Flynn, Marriage and Family Therapist and PhD student at Antioch University New England. She specializes in father-daughter relationships, and as a clinician engages in premarital counseling, multiracial relationships and families, and African American familial dynamics. Amelia joins us on #WhatsTheMessage to discuss Jada Pinkett, Will Smith, and August Alsina’s “entanglement,” whether or not Jada is a predator, and so much more. This is an episode you do not want to miss.
Make sure you follow Amelia Flynn on Instagram @amelia.flynn424
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Your Liberation Library

Book Review of P.E. Moskowitz’s How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and The Fight for The Neighborhood

When building up a community actually tears it down.

P.E. Moskowitz’s book How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for The Neighborhood is a comprehensive study on the systemic problem of gentrification (the changes in urban neighborhoods across the country), how it’s affecting African Americans and other minorities, and who really is in power in our cities.

 

Title:                            How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and The Fight for The Neighborhood

Author:                       P.E. Moskowitz

Publisher:                 Bold Type Books, 2018

Reviewer:                  Omar Miranda

 

What are the main concerns being addressed?

The main concern being addressed in Moskowitz’s book is that there is a systemic program to shift the economic and political power in urban cities from the majority of the “regular” people who comprise the lower socioeconomic classes, who have lived there, to large, faceless organizations, with enormous bank accounts, and the political power that follows it.

Were those concerns clearly stated?

Yes. The author has comprehensive and authoritative knowledge about the topic.

What are the book’s strengths and contributions?

The book’s strengths are two-fold:

  1. The author clearly and powerfully paints a comprehensive picture of all the social, cultural, economic, and political factors that cause gentrification in urban cities and how it affects those who live in those cities—and are slowly being pushed and “priced” out of their own cities.
  2. The author effectively gives the reader first-hand accounts of how gentrification is affecting regular city dwellers through thorough and poignantly written stories, biographies, and vignettes.

What do you wish the author would have added?

In retrospect, I wish Moskowitz would have added discussion questions at the end of each chapter. This is an expansive expose of a book, and consequently, each chapter is dense with a lot of facts and figures! Discussion questions would be helpful in allowing the reader to further and more effectively learn and apply the powerful truths brought out in each chapter.

What do you wish the author would have left out?

Admittedly, Moskowitz writes with a chip on his shoulder and comes across as very angry—not as an unbiased journalist. Additionally, there are many expletives in this book, and I didn’t feel that the these needed to be included. Many times the author includes the expletives in actual quotes from people he has interviewed. I understand why the author left them in; for the simple reason of adding “teeth” to the interviewee’s statements, however, in my opinion, the expletives didn’t need to be included. I believe the interviewees points would have been just as strong and compelling without them.

What were some good conscience quickening quotes from the book?

“ . . . since I [the author] began reporting How to Kill a City in 2013 we haven’t come any closer to solving the central cause of gentrification. High rents. Displacement, small businesses being replaced by large chains—these are all signs of gentrification. The central cause is that we’ve turned cities into capital-producing machines, and city governments have become addicted to this capital to function (xii).”

“Today, many development deals are initiated by foreign investors, and many neighborhoods are affordable only to the global elite. Buildings spring up that are meant less to house people and more to house the wealth of millionaires and billionaires (34).”

“How do you solve a problem as old as the United States? Gentrification may be a relatively recent phenomenon, but as geographer Neil Smith notes, it’s really just the continuation of the ‘locational seesaw”—capital moves to one place seeking high profits, then. When that place becomes less profitable, it moves to another place. The real estate industry is always looking for new markets in which it can revitalize it’s profit rate. Fifty years ago that place was suburbs. Today it’s cities. But that’s only half the explanation for gentrification. In order to understand why cities are so attractive to invest in, it’s important to understand what made them bargains for real estate speculators in the first place. It may sound obvious, but gentrification could not happen without something to gentrify. Truly equitable geographies would be largely un-gentrifiable ones. So first, geographies have to be made unequal (105-106).”

“The suburbs were the prototype for gentrification, not aesthetically but economically. Suburbinazation was the original American experiment in using real estate to reinvigorate capitalism . . . . Gentrification does not mean that the suburbs are over. They will still exist. But because they are no longer as profitable as cities or as desirable for the wealthiest Americans, who now populate cities, suburbs have become the leftover spaces are being reused, reconfigured, and repopulated. They are becoming poorer, and that has wide-ranging implications for policy and the lives of lower-income people (147).”

What was so liberating about the book?

The most liberating thing about this book is that the author identifies not only what the chief problem is, but more importantly, that the reader, and other “regular people” can actually do something to get actively involved. Through educating ourselves about the issues, learning to advocate for your own cities, and the people in those cities, we can educate, inform, and energize others about this systemic, ever-increasing, and very real, problem.

 

Overall rating: 4.5 out of 5




#WhatsTheMessage EP 024: Preaching Black Lives (Matter)

In this episode we welcome Rev. Dr. Gayle Fisher-Stewart, PhD, interim Rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. She is the recent author and editor of the book Preaching Black Lives (Matter). We discuss with her the importance and necessity of preaching a Gospel that speaks to the value of Black lives, as well as have an interesting discussion about the inherent spirituality of the Black Lives Matter Movement. I can guarantee you will not regret tuning in to this amazing conversation.

While recording this powerful episode, our stream dealt with a few issues which caused the recording to break into a few parts. We were able to recover the parts and combine it into one video. Please watch the complete episode here.




#WhatsTheMessage EP 023: Monuments & Teen Entrepreneurship

In this episode Carmela and Claudia discuss the controversy around the confederate monuments with David Person, journalist, podcaster, and protestor at a recent Alabama rally. But we’re also excited to announce a new podcast hosted by David Person featuring the voices of black teens called “Message in Your Ear,” season 1: “Black Teens Being.” In honor of that podcast we’re also excited to welcome teen entrepreneurs Joelle Hinds and Darryl Josiah to come and talk with us about life, business, and the hope they see for society. Make sure you tune in tomorrow morning at 11am. You will NOT regret it.

Follow David Person on Facebook and Instagram

Support/Follow Joelle Hinds and Slay All Day Nails @slayalldaynailss https://www.etsy.com/shop/slayalldayn…

Support/Follow Darryl Josiah @dschicken.dmv

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#WhatsTheMessage EP 022: The Fight For My Life

In this episode Carmela and Claudia welcome Pastor Tricia Wynn Payne, author of “The Fight For My Life.” She is going to be live on the podcast Thursday, June 25th at 11am sharing with us her testimony, her book, and her journey from physical therapist to pastor to patient to author. Tomorrow is going to be a powerful conversation about destiny, triumph, and God’s amazing power that you do not want to miss. Make sure you tune in live with us at 11am.
Make sure you follow Tricia Wynn-Payne on all social media @triciawynnpayne and visit her website at www.triciawynnpayne.com. You can purchase her book: https://www.amazon.com/FIGHT-MY-LIFE-…
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