Gustavo Gutierrez–A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, and Salvation
I am excited to begin this book as Gutierrez’s work has been profoundly inspirational to theological work regarding justice and liberation today. From reading the preface, Gutierrez’s main concern is to theologically reflect on how Christian commitment to liberation brings us to reexamine major themes of the Christian life–i.e. salvation, the church, politics, end-times, and solidarity with the poor.
Edward Baptist–The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism
When I first read this book in 2017 it was one of the most powerful books I read all year. Baptist unflinchingly engages how American slavery was integral to the development and flourishing of American capitalism. In essence, without American slavery, the U.S. is not the economic superpower it is today. Baptist’s historical engagement is unique, as he relies predominantly on first-person accounts; most particularly the accounts of enslaved and freed African Americans. From these accounts, Baptist relates an American history often omitted from our history books: a history in which the entire Western world financially gained from the enslavement of African Americans who were extorted, stolen from families, murdered, and yet still survived. Baptist’s book raises poignant questions about racial justice, particularly how can we mediate justice today if we ignore the history of the past?
Ta-Nehisi Coates–The Case for Reparations
Reparations are defined as “making amends for a wrong one has done, by paying money or to otherwise helping those who have been wronged.” In his essay, Coates makes an argument for reparations by illuminating an American history where African American’s are habitually subjected to unjust financial practices. From slavery, to Jim Crow and outright property theft, to FHA policy and redlining, and even to banks and the Great Recession of 2008, Coates argues that this country has financially preyed on African Americans and justice means calculating these financial costs. Yet, Coates makes a secondary argument alongside the necessity for reparations: that our inability to even discuss reparations reveals a country that is in denial. Reparations are about justice, but they are also about honesty and truthfulness. Coates’ article raises questions about racial justice, particularly that it requires accountability, confession, and financial repentance.