(Excerpts from my new book)
The house is on fire, and it’s time to stop standing around debating
about which fire extinguisher is best; it’s time to pick up one
and begin working to put the blaze out before the house burns to
the ground. This book of meditations on racial healing offers one
such tool. We have arrived at the place in our shared journey where
we are allowing conspiracy theories, distortions of history, fear,
and outright lies about race and many other cultural challenges to
determine the quality of our lives together. These are damaging
and will continue to fuel the fire until we choose to stop it.
Though issues surrounding race have existed since America’s
founding and the inability of some to see all of God’s children as
equal has permeated history all over the world, we seem to have
found ourselves in a defining moment in the long journey, and
it’s up to us how we intend to embrace it. We can stop for a moment
and reimagine the way ahead, or we can choose to continue
as we have been. When we decide to make true progress, we’ll need
to reexamine many of our narratives and seek to find deeper clarity
within ourselves as participants in shaping the future. This
book is meant to help facilitate that work.
These meditations offer a wide range of possibilities for the
reader. Some of them will be comforting, and some of them will
be unsettling. They will help seekers find many different opportunities
to reflect deeply about their own journey. They will challenge
readers to interrogate their own perspectives, to listen more carefully
to what others are saying, and to be better at discerning
their path forward.
These meditations will challenge readers to ask and answer this
very essential question: Do you really want to be well?
This foundational question lies at the root of all the work that
needs to be done to repair our relationships and our nation. All
of us will need to discover how to answer it honestly. When we do
that, our answer will help us to know how to go forward—or to
know if we really intend to go forward. This book will help you to
find your answer and to imagine your way forward as you grapple
with our collective future.
Foreword (partial) by
Bishop Michael Curry
This book by my soul friend and sister Dr. Catherine Meeks, was clearly written in the spirit of the late Howard Thurman, Rabbi
Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Thich Nacht Hanh who were spiritual advisors and friends of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let me show you what I mean.
More and more you hear the cry of people declaring that now is the time to act! And God knows that action is desperately
needed. As Dr. Meeks rightly notes, “the night is long.” Indeed, for far too many who have faced years of harassment and the fear of violence, have endured countless slights and the stigma of being other—and all of this for no other reason than the color of their
skin, the accent when they speak, the persons whom they love—for all these the night might seem endless. Action is needed.
But what kind of action? Action based on rage or revenge simply adds to the darkness already engulfing us. As we have seen too many times in the past, violence begets violence. And action based on selfishness can corrupt the very antidote we seek to end the pandemic of hatred that threatens to overwhelm us. Action of another, more profound variety is needed, action that promotes justice and equity through love. This love—unselfish, unsentimental, unstoppable love—is, in Archbishop Oscar Romero’s words, “the force that will overcome the world,” and, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. asserted, “the only answer to [hu]mankind’s problems.”
This is action that results from the creative transformation of rage into a righteousness characterized by passion for a better world, a more just social order, a compassionate global community and humanity….
….“Do you want to be healed?” If your answer is “Yes,” then these meditations are for you, and for all who will dare to join you on this journey towards deep healing and the casting out of the demons that poison our collective soul. Now is the time to act!...
…Thank you, Dr. Meeks, for teaching us today in the spirit of Howard Thurman, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Thich Nacht Hahn, and above all, Jesus of Nazareth.
—The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal