An Open Letter to Pastors - An Appeal to include voices from the margins. Sarah Bessey, Anne Lamont, and Brene Brown are a great start. Now let's learn from black, brown, and LGBTQIA+ perspectives.
Last weekend I listened to three sermons and two podcasts. Yes, I will admit, I am a sermon junky. For the most part, these sermons were biblical and contextual. However, they all had one thing in common: Each sermon mentioned or quoted the following writers: Anne Lamont, Brene Brown, Sarah Bessey. Yes, each of these three female writers is an incredible thinker and wordsmith.
It is about time women’s voices were represented in the pulpit. Their experiences are invaluable and have so much to add to the conversation related to spirituality, church, and personal growth. I applaud pastors who are digging deep beyond their old classic illustration books (Do you remember 5001 sermon illustrations? That was my personal favorite for years.)
Did you know there are a plethora of BROWN, BLACK, LGBTQIA+ theologians who have important things to say about current culture, social justice, and a different perspective on the interpretation of scripture?
As much as I love Brene, Anne, and Sarah, their collective experience is confined to a small point of view due to their whiteness. Yes, they are minorities, as women. Yes, we should still listen and learn from their point of view. However, if we do not include the voices from the margins, we forfeit an experience representing our communities.
I recently told a friend about a fantastic self-published book I read by a Brown writer. My friend muttered, “well, if they can’t get published by a real printing house, I am not sure if it is worth the read.” I responded hastily with anger. “Well, sadly, not many brown and black authors will never be able to share their story because of the racism embedded by publishers and editors who are looking for a story that resembles their own experience.
I want to share a few leaders in the margins I believe should have a broader voice in the Christian community. These are BLACK, BROWN, LGBTQIA+ voices whose social commentary should be recognized, repeated, and quoted from the pulpit. Many of these names do not have published works, but you can follow their thoughts on social media. Here is a small sampling of voices I recommend:
Rev Tracy Blackmon
Dr. Heather Thompson Day
Dr. Larycia Hawkins
Rev Jacqueline Lewis
Dr. Keisha McKenzie