Readings & Movies
91 Nightingale Street Ministries
by Mako Nagasawa, August 2000
In the Name of Jesus:
Reflections on Christian Leadership by
Henri J.M. Nouwen (required): After
ministering to disabled folks at L’Arche, Nouwen reflects on three temptations
of Christian ministers: being
relevant, spectacular, and powerful.
An Incarnational Model for Personal Relationships by
Sherwood G. Lingenfelter and Marvin K. Mayers (required):
A simple but great book! The
Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ within our world is both the model and power
behind our ministry to others. Contains
a diagnostic test to see how cross-cultural you are.
Theirs is the Kingdom by
Robert Lupton (highly recommended): Contains
very moving short reflections coming out of Lupton’s inner city ministry in
Atlanta, GA. You’ll see the
homeless through new eyes.
The Master Plan of Evangelism by
Robert Coles: When we think of
evangelism or ministry, we may think about church attendance, teaching classes,
or vocational excellence. What was
Jesus’ definition of ministry? This
is a challenge to authentically disciple others in direct relationship like
The Cross and the Switchblade by
David Wilkerson: A small town pastor moves to New York City to minister on the
street. This is his story of what
the Village by Jawanza Kunjufu (required): A black
psychologist and educator talks about what challenges the black community faces,
and how black community can be rebuilt, including visions of fatherhood,
Vulnerable Child by Robert
Weissbourd (highly recommended): Aimed
at influencing public policy regarding children, an excellent study of how the
emotional instability of parents is affected by poverty and how parents can
resist it; why kids join gangs; why certain child services fail; creating
Ophelia: Saving the Selves of
Adolescent Girls by Mary Pipher: Good
discussion on the way young girls develop, what challenges they face today, and
what they need for healthy emotional growth.
The study concerns mostly middle class white girls and may need some
cultural translation, but the principles are fairly universal.
Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life
of Boys by Daniel J. Kindlon: The
equivalent book on young boys, how they grow, what challenges they face today,
and what they need for healthy emotional development.
Hip-Hop vs. MAAT by
Jawanza Kunjufu (required): Why did
hip-hop culture form? What
are kids trying to communicate? How
can we draw on African values to address today’s youth culture?
Motivating and Preparing Black Youth
to Work by Jawanza Kunjufu (highly
recommended): A must read for
anyone trying to work with African American teens.
How values and desires must be addressed for work to be meaningful,
including a satisfying challenge to American materialism.
Developing Positive Images and
Discipline in Black Children by
Jawanza Kunjufu: Starts from
challenges in African-American child development, looks at where children get
their identity, argues for an Afro-centric education.
Ourselves to Death by Neil
Postman: What has television,
multi-media, and gadgets done to us??? The
title says it all. A very readable
When Kumbaya Is Not Enough (1997),
Agenda for Youth Ministry (1998), God
at the Mall: Youth Ministry That
Meets Kids Where They’re At (2000), and A
Theology of Youth Ministry: Reflecting
on Our Work With Young People from Biblical and Cultural Perspectives (out
of print) by Dean Borgman: Borgman
is an expert on youth, especially youth spirituality. Anything by him is excellent.
Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by
Beverly Daniel Tatum (required):
Excellent discussion on why minority groups form at a young age, what is
the impact on minority youth when white culture is seen not just as a
“culture,” but as “normal.” Very
helpful breakdown of stages of personal growth when coming to grips with one’s
own race, whether black or white (or other).
Future of the Race by Henry Louis
Gates III and Cornel West (required): Two contemporary black Harvard professors wrestle with early
20th century black American scholar W.E.B. DuBois.
Why are the black “Talented Tenth” more pessimistic and discouraged
than the other 90%? West’s
section – understanding the black struggle in America as a failure of the
Enlightenment – is outstanding.
Divided by Faith by
Michael Emerson and Christian Smith (required): A very recent book by two white evangelicals.
Argues that racialization is a deeper driving force in American society
than we think, and that the white evangelical church has a particular theology
that makes it hard to understand the world.
Namely, it focuses on individualistic spiritual issues and is resistant
to discussing broader social or community structures.
by Earl Shorris (for our
household, read about the Puerto Ricans in ch.6, 10):
Fascinating history in storytelling form of virtually all the Latino
groups from the Spanish Old World until today.
See also Distant Neighbors by
Alan Riding about Mexico and the interaction between the U.S. and Mexico.
From a Different Shore and A
Different Mirror: A History of
Multicultural America by Ronald Takaki:
Strangers focuses on Asian
immigration to America; especially helpful for Dorchester is the section on the
Vietnamese. Mirror is more broad, highlighting many different immigrant groups.
People’s History of the United States by
Howard Zinn: American history as
seen through the eyes of every oppressed or minority group in America.
Excellent use of statistics and original documents.
Heartbreaking to think about the native American experience.
Inequality: The Structural Transformation of the African-American Family by
Donna L. Franklin:
Black women are more likely than ever to bear children as teenagers, to
remain single, and to raise their children in poverty, leaving children without
fathers and living in destitution. Franklin
discusses why the marriage and family experiences of African-Americans differs
from those of white America, and highlights the historic, cultural, and
political forces that have combined to create this divide.
the Mayflower by Jerome Bennett. Traces black history from its origins in western Africa,
through the transatlantic journey and slavery, the Reconstruction period, the
Jim Crow era, and the civil rights movement, to life in the 1990s.
An Easy Burden by
Andrew Young, the first black Congressman from George since the Reconstruction.
One of the best histories of the Civil Rights Movement, told by an insider
(Young was very close to MLK). Takes
readers to the streets of Birmingham, Selma, and Washington in a tumultuous
time. Young is part of the black
middle class; see also John Lewis’ study of the Civil Rights Movement, Walking
with the Wind, for a lower-income perspective.
Coming of Age in Mississippi by
Anne Moody. Moody’s
autobiographical story of growing up as a black woman in MI.
She eventually cannot return safely to her hometown, is estranged from
family members who do not share her passionate commitment to fight racism, and
questions MLK’s nonviolent stance.
Color of Water by James McBride: Gripping autobiography of a half-black, half-Jewish man.
He writes movingly about his family’s struggles, in particular his
strong Jewish mother.
Labor, White Wealth: The Search for
Power and Economic Justice by
Claud Anderson. A suggestion from a friend, who said it was powerful.
It won five stars on Amazon.com’s rating scale.
Than Equals by Christopher Rice
and Spencer Perkins: Great look at
how Christian racial reconciliation between black and white folks could look,
and particularly helpful from the white perspective.
Justice Roll Down by John Perkins:
Perkins’ autobiography, spanning his early teen years in rural
Mississippi when he saw his brother murdered by white police, through his
encounter with Jesus, and to his current ministry reaching out to the black
community. Great intro to Perkins.
Common Ground by
J. Anthony Lukas: Pulitzer award winner, covering the turbulent Boston school
bus controversy in the 1970’s.
Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children
and the Conscience of a Nation by
Jonathan Kozol: Kozol conducts
interviews with people in the South Bronx, the poorest congressional district in
the country. Draws a vivid picture
of an urban ghetto with its hunger, disease, drugs, and violence.
See also Ordinary Resurrections by
A Heart for the City:
Effective Ministries to the Urban Community by
John Fuder: A collection of stories
and reports from Christian ministries in urban Chicago, from inner city churches
to city rescue missions, redevelopment projects, youth programs, and recovery
The Death and Life of Great American
Cities by Jane Jenkins:
Stimulating book to break into city planning circles.
Jenkins has a great eye for how sidewalks, public spaces, and diverse
populations promote relationships and community, and how it can decline.
When Work Disappears:
The World of the New Urban Poor by
William Julius Wilson: Why jobs
leave cities and how that affects inner city communities.
The Meaning of the City by
Jacques Ellul: Challenging analysis
of the biblical theme of the city, from Cain’s city and Nimrod’s Babel to
God’s New Jerusalem. An excellent
prophetic work, but somewhat lacking in textual analysis.
Life in the City by
(yours truly) Mako Nagasawa: Workbook-style
study of the biblical theme of the city, combining Ellul’s work with some more
textual analysis, added reflections, and contemporary examples.
Some have called it provocative and helpful.
Money, Rich, Poor
Money and Power by
Jacques Ellul (highly recommended): Excellent
study of how money is a spiritual power opposed to God’s gift of free grace.
This book should be more widely read in the evangelical community.
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger and
Just Generosity by Ronald J. Sider:
Challenging combination of hard-hitting passages from the Bible on money
and the sad state of affairs worldwide.
Shifting Fortunes by
Chuck Collins, Betsy Leondar-Wright and Holly Sklar:
How the wealth gap has widened in America in 1990’s.
Wealth and Democracy by Kevin Phillips: Phillips is a Republican of the Theodore Roosevelt stripe, which means he is extremely critical of how the Republican party (in his words) has sold the country to Wall Street; i.e. how wealth corrupts democracy. Though not from a Christian perspective, this is a must read for those who consider themselves a "conservative."
An Economic History of the United
States by Charles Beard:
A textbook for AP U.S. History, but nevertheless a classic invaluable for
understanding how the United States has developed economically.
God by Larry Crabb: Moves you
from “using God to solve our problems” to “using our problems to find
God.” Passionate, thoughtful,
very helpful to me in my own season of healing.
Healing Presence by
Leanne Payne: Payne’s premise is
that many of our spiritual/emotional problems stem from not adequately
understanding how being in Christ unites us lovingly with God.
This is a study of how to connect with God in prayer.
One of Ming’s favorites.
Larry Crabb: Is it detrimental that
counseling and healing been left to a few certified professionals?
What could the church be as a community of counselors and healers? This is Crabb’s vision for the church. Could we translate his vision into an inner city context?
Other subjects to investigate:
studies: Haitians, Jamaicans,
Hondurans, Vietnamese, Puerto Ricans
of black professionals: Ben
History of Rap, Caribbean and Latin music
Eyes on the Prize: Major
documentary about the Civil Rights Movement. Invaluable!
The Color of Fear: Documentary
drawing six men (2 Af-Am, 2 Asian, 2 White) together to talk about race
Gripping story about 3 boys growing up in Dorchester, MA.
Down in the Delta
We Were Colored
in the Hood
on the Bus