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Head Librarian & Professor
Timothy F. Sedgwick, Ph.D., the Clinton S. Quin Professor of Christian Ethics, recommends the following books as part of the Bishop Payne Library’s monthly series highlighting a faculty member’s “picks”:
Reconciliation stands at the heart of the Gospel as gift and command, reality and hope. To be known and cared for by one another is to be the people of God. “Abide in my love . . . love one another,” says Jesus (Jn.15:11,17). This is the center of the basic course I teach in Christian ethics as we seek to make sense of Christian faith, life, and vocation in an age of terrorism and failed states, genocide, Black Lives Matter, and the legacy of patriarchy and colonialism. Here are five sources that may advance our understanding of the Gospel and reconciliation.
Jill Stauffer. Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard. NY: Columbia University Press, 2015.
Following personal accounts of the experience of those who have experienced traumas—from torture and subjugation to abuse and neglect—Stauffer focuses on when memory cannot forget, what is possible as a matter of healing, and the difference between reconciliation and forgiveness. This eloquent book dispels simple answers and focuses attention where it belongs: on recognition as the ground of human agency and the basis for reconciliation and forgiveness.
“Moonlight.” Feature film. Directed by Barry Jenkins. Written by Tarell Alvin McCraney. A24 Productions, 2016. Available on Amazon Video.
“I Am Not Your Negro.” Documentary film. Directed by Raoul Peck. Text by James Baldwin. Magnolia Pictures, 2016. Available on Amazon Video.
These two, highly awarded and acclaimed films of 2016 break any single narrative of race in America. Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney tell the coming-of-age, understated, love story of Chiron, born in Liberty City, the black neighborhood in Miami where the drug dealer is “the man.” Haitian-born director Raoul Peck reveals in the words of James Baldwin—written and spoken in interviews and speeches—America defined by blackness and undefinable by blackness. If speech and recognition of the particularity of our different lives are the necessary condition of being heard, these two films are primary sources for repairing the memory of “race” that is singular in silencing others and ourselves.
Gardiner H. Shattuck, Jr. Episcopalians & Race: Civil War to Civil Right. Lexington, KY: The University Press of Kentucky, 2000.
The recognition of the history of one’s own history is to begin to hear the history of others. Shattuck gives us the history of race and the Episcopal Church as shaped by white elites institutionalized in its polity. This remains essential reading for hearing others and avoiding reducing theological claims to platitudes about the reconciling power of the Gospel.
Entries on “Reconciliation,” “Forgiveness,” and “Retributive Justice”. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edward N. Zalta, ed. URL = https://plato.stanford.edu.
These three entries provide the clearest, most comprehensive account of understandings of and the relationships between reconciliation, forgiveness, and justice. Concluding bibliographies are as well comprehensive. With refereed articles by outstanding scholars, regularly updated, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is by far the best reference in philosophy and more broadly intellectual history—and it’s available online.
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Just a reminder that Alums retain borrowing privileges with the Bishop Payne Library and can request these as well others in the catalog be sent at no cost. Alums do pay the shipping costs for the books’ return.