Summer Reading Selections

This was posted on MissivesFromMarx, but I thought I’d add it to my own blog.

Here are the books I’ve started this summer. I am incredibly guilty of starting many selections and finishing few, but my girlfriend says that’s okay, since some books might not be worth finishing. The list moves from recent finds to stuff I started back in May:

– Lament For A Son, by Nicholas Wolterstorff – A friend of mine had her younger brother killed in a random accident, and I knew him, so I’ve been looking for some solace here and there.
– Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking, by D. Q. McInerny – I got this because of my new-found love for Vulcans. The book attempts to be akin to Strunk and White’s ‘Elements of Style’.
– The Need for Roots, by Simone Weil – I’m reading ahead for a class on her Political Theology that I’m taking this fall. Weil is an intriguing person for many reasons.
– Jesus and the Disinherited, by Howard Thurman – Re-reading this, since I may use it in my masters thesis.
– Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison – Because I’ve never read it. Shame on me, cause it’s good!
– White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity, by James W. Perkinson – A good approach to life for postcolonial whiteys like myself. I’m taking a class on Dismantling White Privilege this fall, and I recently (and happily) found that we’ll be reading it.
– Race, by Studs Terkel – There are some amazing interviews in this book…..

I also started the Cartoon History of the Universe, which is fun bedside reading.

From The Cartoon History of the Universe, by Larry Gonick

From The Cartoon History of the Universe, by Larry Gonick

Congresswoman Says She Wasn’t Aware “Great White Hope” Has Racist Connotation – Jenkins defends great white hope – Jezebel

Newsflash: Republican congresspeople are idiots, or racists, or both.

Rep. Lynn Jenkins said the party was looking for their “great white hope” and later claimed that she didn’t know the phrase was racist, used against boxer Jack Johnson way back in the day.

I already knew Republicans are racist, but I’m extremely amused by the idea that they are so ignorantly accidentally racist.

Questions for my (few) readers: Do you think Rep. Jenkins really didn’t know it was racist? Do you think she should/could have known better? Do you think she was just seeing what she could get away with saying?

Watch the video below:

Here’s the video:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Modern-Day Crucifixions

Wiyot Dance Regelia

Wiyot Dance Regelia

The families had been celebrating the World Renewal Ceremony for a week—dancing, singing, feasting, remembering ancestors and enjoying each other’s company. The celebration was held annually, on an island in the bay, where the ancient village of Tuluwat stood. At night, the Wiyot people slept.

Early on the cool winter morning of February 26, 1860, a group of white settlers armed with hatchets, clubs and knives paddled to the island. They left their guns behind so that their presence would not be know to the nearby neighbors in the town of Eureka. Once arrived, sleeping Wiyot men, women and children, exhausted from a week of ceremonial dance, were caught unaware and brutally slain. Two other village sites were raided that night, on the Eel River and on the South Spit. Reports of the number of people killed that night vary from 80 to 200.

A young writer named Bret Harte, who lived in the area, reported the 1860 massacre. Harte published a detailed account condemning the event, writing, “a more shocking and revolting spectacle never was exhibited to the eyes of a Christian and civilized people. Old women wrinkled and decrepit lay weltering in blood, their brains dashed out and dabbled with their long grey hair. Infants scarcely a span along, with their faces cloven with hatchets and their bodies ghastly with wounds.” After publishing the editorial, his life was threatened and he was forced to flee to San Francisco. No one was ever brought to trial.


Reading this account of the massacre of the Wiyot people, I am deeply saddened. When I was in El Salvador, visiting the site where six priests were murdered in cold blood in 1989, we were shown photos taken the morning after. Their bodies lay in the grass, blood pooled around their heads. Looking at the photos, my stomach churned. My limbs felt heavy. I could barely catch my breath. A crucifixion.

These stories seem gruesome for a church newsletter, but for a religious people who worship a man brutally killed by oppressors, I have hope that we can face the violence in our world. But I also hope that our stomachs churn and a deep mourning surges up through our souls, so that we may be called to act. This are the stories that our young people face as they learn our history, and we as a church must help them face these modern-day crucifixions so that they can take part in the redemption and resurrection of the world.