It is Black History Month. This is when we are reminded of the people and events that create what some call “the African diaspora”. We often see pictures of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, Rosa Parks, and Jackie Robinson. For many of us Caucasians this is one of the few times during the year where we are reminded that “history” doesn’t equal “European history”.
Today I thought briefly about my book shelfs. I asked myself, “How many of your books are written by African, Asian, or Latino authors?” Sadly, not many. I have a book shelves with names like Barth and Bonhoeffer, Foucault and Pascal, Gadamer and Vanhoozer, Wright and Dunn. I am not embarrassed that I have those names listed. I am embarrassed because it is obvious I continue to do monochromatic Christian theology!
While I may not say that the best Christian theology comes from Germany, Italy, France and the people in the United States who look like me my book shelf tells me that I must think that. I am not justified in reading a few speeches by Dr. King. Do I have any James Cone on my shelf? Nope. Have I read any contemporary Black theologians like Anthony Bradley? Nope.
What is wrong with me?
I am sure I am not alone. I imagine some of my Black brothers and sisters wouldn’t want me to read a book just because the author is Black, but that is not the point. The point is that this is something I have become without realizing it. Christianity looks a lot like me. What to do?