Rod Garvin tagged me back in August, and so here are my responses -- finally:
One book that changed your life: Jim Marrs’s Crossfire:The Plot that Killed Kennedy. While some call Marrs’ work “conspiracy theory,” I read this book as a high school senior because I wanted to know more about the Kennedy Assassination. I wasn’t satisfied with the “official” story. Reading this book whet my appetitie for the inquisitive historical investigation to which I’ve devoted my professional life. Looking back eleven years later, it also oriented me to begin to read history from alternative vantage points, what you might call history from below.
One book you've read more than once: Neil Postman’s Amusing Ourselevs to Death. The late Neil Postman helped me to better understand the powerful role media shapes and influences both individual and collective thought. I’ve never watched television the same since.
One book you'd want on a desert island, besides the Bible: James Baldwin’s Collected Essays, edited by Toni Morrison. This is what I’d call my “Baldwin Bible.” Reading James Baldwin I’ve discovered he knows me better than I know myself, many times, and his pointed honesty calls me to be more authentic.
One book that made you laugh: Anything related to The Far Side by Gary Larson and Paul Lewis’s Cracking Up: American Humor in a Time of Conflict. I’m chuckling even as I write.
One book that made you cry: Timothy Tyson’s Blood Done Sign My Name. This powerful story of racial violence brought me to tears, while the redemptive end to the book prompted me to sob with hope.
One book you wish had been written: A solid social and cultural history, an ethnographic study of contemporary megachurch ministers – a book I’m working on right now with a fellow scholar. Also, a book that offers a template for race reconciliation that follows the traditional Christian year (Lent, Pentecost, Advent, etc.) – a book a friend and I are working on.
One book you wish had never been written: Hmmm…..I’ll have to think about this one.
One book that you've been meaning to read: Charles Marsh’s The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice, from the Civil Rights Movement to Today. I've browsed some parts of it, but need to read it more closely.
One book that you are currently reading: Richard A. Horsley, Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder.
Alright, Jasie and LK, you are now it!