The AAA (All African-American Authors) Book Club will take a hiatus beginning in February 2022 to return at a later date.  We initiated it soon after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent worldwide protest in solidarity with the anguish and anger of the African-American community. As many of you may recall, it was a very raw time in which the state of the American justice system for black and brown people was blown wide open for the world to see.

In response to my own deep hurt and anger, I thought it would be a good thing to share some of the AAA experience with the community at Redeemer from a literary perspective.  I have always been a book nerd, and it seemed to me that the artists of the world always speak truth in lived reality.  I believed that exposure to African American authors would be a good way to experience some sort of unity and solidarity with the lived experience of fellow citizens of the African diaspora in these United States.  It was well-received and although our numbers dwindled over time, the passionate discussions and engagement with those of us who remained, has continued.

A couple of months ago though, I received an enlightening article from a member of the book club titled, “The Lofty Goals and Short Life of the Anti-racist Book Club.” It described the outcomes of innumerable book clubs which had sprung up all over the country from the same catalyst—Floyd’s death.  The article articulated the questions that had been circulating in the back of my own mind:  Reading black authors and gaining knowledge leads one where?  In other words, now that we know, so what?  To what end does learning about the life experience of an entire group of people with whom I live change me— or you?  Let me tell you one way.

I want to tell you about LOVE.

I had voiced several times over the past few months how tiring, sad and dissatisfying it was for me to facilitate the book club alone.  I asked whether or not we should consider discontinuing our time together, since our numbers and interest seemed to have dwindled significantly.  That night those present were adamant that we should continue to read, reflect and engage. HOWEVER, acknowledging the toll it was taking on my own health and well-being, several of them volunteered to step in to facilitate our times together.  They might not realize it, but I felt heard, supported and could breathe a bit.  The actions of those four of you (you know who you are!) who volunteered to help showed me what love looks like.  THIS is how compassion and solidarity show up in the world y’all!

Although we are taking a hiatus, we WILL BE BACK!  The first reading, though will be a discussion of the article I referenced so that we might arrive at an intention for continuing our time together.  LOVE and Compassion are both verbs, you know?

Meanwhile, we will begin a new journey of spiritual growth here at Redeemer called “Life in the Spirit,” where we will explore the realm of the spirit in contrast to the realm of religion. You will be hearing more about it in the next few months and may want to join in!

L-I-F-E?  It’s All GOOD!  (With a shout-out to Patty, Steve, Cathy, and Mark)

Enjoying this Season of HOPE!

Freda Marie+