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Reading For Power In The Black Church

A historic African American Church full of people working in ministries that are each doing whatever they want to do based on a colonial understanding of Christianity is a church that is not living up to its greatest potential.

We can maximize our impact, glorify God, and serve the Black community by sharing a commitment to African-centered Christian ideals and working in greater harmony together rather than lead our respective ministries in silos - separated from one another.

I am redoubling my efforts to pastor Pleasant Hope in such a way that we radiate in unity a liberative, womanist, and Black Christian Nationalist ethic and praxis. We do not have the luxury to be ambivalent about who God is calling our church to be specifically when the Adversary and spiritual wickedness in high places is working overtime in the business of our systemic oppression.

I encourage every member and ministry of Pleasant Hope to prioritize the reading of these books in your ministry meetings, informal fellowships and personal devotion. Establish reading clubs with other Pleasant Hope members, and purpose to incorporate the reading of these books into your regularly scheduled ministry meetings.

If you do, more and more we'll be able to say in unison - "We are unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian!"

[Note: When purchasing these books, please consider buying them from Black-owned or more socially conscious bookstores like Everyone's Place, Mahogany Books, HalfPrice Books, Biblio, Social Justice Books or other options like the ones listed on this page.]


Children and/or Youth Ministry Leaders

  • SBA The Reawakening of the African Mind by Asa G. Hilliard

  • Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children by Amos Wilson

  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools by Monique Morris

  • Warrior Method: A Parents Guide to rearing Healthy Black Boys by Ray Winbush

  • A is for Africa, S is for Sovereignty by Baoku Duduyemi

  • Revolutionary Pedagogy: Primers for Teachers of Black Children by Molefi Asante

  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

  • Kill Them Before They Grow: Misdiagnosis of African American boys in American Classrooms by Michael Porter

  • Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks

  • The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child by Amos Wilson

Women's Ministry/Deaconess

  • The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships by Sobonfu Some'

  • Just A Sister Away: A Womanist Vision of Women's Relationships in the Bible by Renita Weems

  • Assata: An Autobiography by Assata Shakur

  • Sacred Woman: A Guide To Healing The Feminine Body, Mind, and Spirit

  • Just a Sister Away: Understanding the timeless connection between Women of today and Women in the Bible by Renita Weems

  • Showing Mary: How Women Can Share Prayers, Wisdom, and the Blessings of God by Renita Weems

  • Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective by Kelly Brown Douglas

  • What's Love Got To Do With It? Love, Power, Sex & God by Frank Thomas

  • The Red Tent: A Novel by Anita Diamant

  • We Should All Be Feminist by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

  • Combahee River Collective Statement: Black Feminist Organizations in the 70's and 80's

  • Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde

  • We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For: Inner Light In A Time of Darkness by Alice Walker

Men's Ministry/Deacons

  • The Spirit of Intimacy: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships by Sobonfu Some'

  • Adam Where Are You? Why Most Black Men Don't Go To Church by Jawanza Kunjufu

  • Message to the Black Man in America by Elijah Muhammad

  • New Black Man by Mark Anthony Neal

  • We Real Cool: Black Men & Masculinity by bell hooks

  • Sexuality and the Black Church: A Womanist Perspective by Kelly Brown Douglas

  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X

  • Love Is An Inside Job by Romal Tune

  • The Complete Poems of Paul Lawrence Dunbar

  • The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

  • Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Africa & Christianity

  • Whose Religion Is Christianity: The Gospel beyond the West by Lamin Sanneh

  • West African Christianity: The Religious Impact by Lamin Sanneh

  • African and the Bible by Edwin Yamauchi

  • A History of Christianity in Africa: From Antiquity to the Present by Elizabeth Isichei

  • Christianity in Independent Africa edited by Edward Fashole-Luke, et. al

  • The Lord's Prayer Through North African Eyes: A Window into Early Christianity by Michael Joseph Brown

  • How Africa Shaped The Christian Mind: Rediscovering the African Seedbed of Western Christianity by Thomas C. Oden

  • The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition by Thomas C. Oden

  • Early Libyan Christianity: Uncovering A North African Tradition by Thomas C. Oden

Personal Spiritual Growth

  • Know Thyself by Na'im Akbar

  • Breaking The Chains of Psychological Slavery by Na'im Akbar

  • The Community of Self by Na'im Akbar

  • Light from Ancient Africa by Na'im Akbar

  • Let The Circle Be Unbroken: Implications of African Spirituality by Marimba Ani

  • Afrikan-Centered Consciousness Versus The New World Order by Amos Wilson

  • A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward An Undivided Life

  • The Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community by Malidoma Patrice Some'

  • All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes by Maya Angelou

  • Disciplines of the Spirit by Howard Thurman

  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster

Christian Education

  • Black Christian Nationalism: New Directions For The Black Church by Albert Cleage

  • What Color Was Jesus? by William Mosley

  • Africentric Christianity: A Theological Appraisal for Ministry by J. Deotis Roberts

  • Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe

  • Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and The Throne by Wilda Gafney

  • Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman

  • The Miseducation of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson

  • Africans Who Shaped Our Faith by Jeremiah Wright

  • Must God Remain Greek? Afro-Cultures and God-Talk by Robert Hood

  • Theology Brewed in an African Pot by Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator

  • Katie's Cannon: Womanism and the Soul of the Black Community by Katie Cannon

  • God of the Oppressed by James Cone

  • Dancing With God: The Trinity from a Womanist Perspective by Karen Baker-Fletcher

  • Our Lives Matter: A Womanist Queer Theology by Pamela Lightsey

  • Africentric Christianity: A Theological Appraisal for Ministry by J. Deotis Roberts

  • Pragmatic Spirituality: The Christian Faith Through An Africentric Lens by Gayraud Wilmore

  • Maat: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt by Maulena Karenga

  • The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the True Revolutionary Nature of Jesus' Teachings and How they have been Corrupted by Obery Hendricks

  • The Apocrypha: Including Books from the Ethiopic Bible by Joseph Lumpkin

Trustee Ministry/Financial Stewards

  • PowerNomics: The National Plan to Empower Black America by Claud Anderson

  • Black Labor White Wealth: The Search for Power and Economic Justice by Claud Anderson

  • The Biblical Vision of Sabbath Economics by Ched Myers

  • Black Economics: Solutions for Economic and Community Empowerment by Jawanza Kunjufu

  • Church Administration in the Black Perspective by Floyd Massey, Jr.

  • The Spook Who Sat By The Door by Same Greenlee

Health/Kitchen Ministry

  • African Holistic Health by Llaila Afrika

  • How to Eat to Live by Elijah Muhammad

Leadership Development

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