It’s probably no surprise, given my chosen work, that I love to read. To start the year, I thought I’d share a short list of some of the books that have helped fill my cup over the last little while. All can be found on MennoMedia’s list of publications.
If you’d like a chance to win a free book, you can take our Anabaptist World reader survey. We are giving away five books to a lucky few who do the survey and enter the drawing.
The first book I’ve enjoyed is the one we are going to give to the lucky drawing winners: On Love and Mercy: A Social Justice Devotional by Stephen Mattson. Each day’s reading is easy to digest, and the suggested prayer always has a way of helping to set my intentions on loving God and my neighbor. Mattson doesn’t shy away from how difficult the work of social justice is — but also does not back down from insisting it is our work as followers of Jesus.
You can take the survey at anabaptistworld.org/readersurvey2022.
Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace by Osheta Moore is the next one I’ve loved and appreciated. Moore shares from her experiences and invites all of us — especially those of us who are white and want to be allies and peacemakers — to her table. She describes a part of her book as “a call to leave the plantation of comfort and privilege.” Whew! It’s a difficult invitation to accept at times, but I believe we are called to do it. Moore helps open a path for those of us who aren’t sure where to start.
Next is Been in the Struggle: Pursuing an Antiracist Spirituality by Regina Shands Stoltzfus and Tobin Miller Shearer. Are we sensing a theme yet? I was so excited when my copy came. Our team at Anabaptist World has been on a journey of expanding our antiracist understanding. We are learning how a commitment to antiracism and anti–oppression can and should inform our work. I’m grateful for the honest examples individuals and organizations share in this book. Again, there are no easy answers, but it is inspiration for a holy and difficult journey.
AND LAST, IF YOU haven’t yet read Sarah Augustine’s The Land Is Not Empty, go do it now. I’ve written about Sarah and her work before, and I hope you have read her columns here in Anabaptist World. I admire her and her work immensely. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate her willingness to write prophetically. She does not hesitate to speak truth to power. She is unashamed to say that she is working for the freedom of Indigenous people, that she will not stop and that as Christians this is our work as well.
These books aren’t light reading, but all are inspiring and thought-provoking. They allow us to see ways we can pursue peacemaking here and now. These opportunities aren’t new, necessarily, but they might be new for some of us.
Here’s hoping we can all enter 2022 healthy and inspired to take our next steps toward the justice and peace Jesus calls us to.