Resources from the Margins

Taking Discipleship Seriously

The Danger of a Single Story, by Chimamanda Adichie. A fantastic TED talk.

Commentaries & Hermeneutics

Prayer Guides

Anabaptist, Western, and Post Christian

General Resources on Racial Reconciliation and Intercultural Integration:

Latino/a

Black:

Feminist & Womanist:

Palestinian Christianity & the Persecuted Church:

Poverty

GLBTQ:

Movies: Here’s a list of movies from a distinctly Christian perspective exploring faithfulness from the margins.

  • Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maathai (Nobel Prize winner and eco-peace activist in Kenya).  Ridiculously amazing story illustrating systemic injustice, faith, the connection between the environment and justice, and the power of one person’s vision.
  • Of Gods and Men, about Christian monks in Africa pressured to abandon their mission and their faith by violent radicals. My top movie of 2011!
  • The Radicals, the dramatic story of the Anabaptist movement. Tells the story of Michael and Margharetta Sattler.
  • Little Town of Bethlehem,  a documentary film, follows the story of three men of three different faiths and their lives in Israel and Palestine. The story explores each man’s choice of nonviolent action amidst a culture of overwhelming violence.
  • Pray the Devil Back to Hell, telling Leymah Gbowee’s story of peacemaking and faith.
  • Romero, about Oscar Romero, Archbishop in El Salvador, murdered by his government for identifying with the poor and demanding justice and peace.
  • The Mission, A powerful action epic about a man of the sword and a man of the cloth who unite to shield a South American Indian tribe from brutal subjugation by 18th-century colonial empires
  • Gandhi
  • Bread and Roses, shows us the world of the undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles who clean buildings for sub-standard wages and no benefits.
  • Amish Grace, about the Nickel Mines shooting in Pennsylvania.
  • Ben Hur, in ancient Rome, Ben Hur forsakes the sword to instead follow Christ, despite pressure from not only the Empire, but his best friend.
  • Uganda Man, about a Ugandan pastor who brings a well to his village despite extreme pressure from the government not to do so.
  • End of the Spear, tells the story of 4 missionaries murdered by those they are trying to reach. But who later come to faith after family members reach out.
  • Women, War, and Peace, a PBS series.

Here are other Hollywood movies, not distinctly exploring faith, that empower seeing life from the margins, in no particular order: Children of Men, 800 Mile Wall, Crash, Babel, The Help, The God’s must be crazy, The Joy Luck Club, Avatar, To Kill a Mockingbird, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Visitor, Gran Torino, Amistad (about faith on a slave ship), The Killing Fields, Invictus, For the Bible Tells me so, Milk,  Freedom Riders (a PBS series), Slavery: Under a Different Name (a PBS movie).

Personal Reflection/Group Exercise: Writing an Ethnic Autobiography From Churches, Cultures, and Leadership, by Mark Lau Branson and Juan F. Martinez, pgs 24-25.

Begin by reflecting on these questions and making notes on each. Then take the time to craft a narrative around experiences and how you interpret their impact on your ethnic identity. In small groups, share selected elements of your autobiography. (For this exercise we use the words ethnic and ethnicity to refer to cultural and racial elements plus other major sociocultural factors.)

1. What do you know (or can you discover) concerning the ethnicity and national origins of your parents, grandparents and earlier generations? If this is different from the heritage of the household in which you were raised, describe those differences.

2. When were you first aware of ethnic (or racial) categories? When were you first aware of persons who were different?

3. How did your parents and grandparents voice ethnic matters or convey to you what they perceived or what they thought was important? How did other members of the household contribute to your understandings about your own ethnic heritage?

4. Think about phases of your life—childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, middle and perhaps later adulthood. How did your ethnic identity affect you? How has your awareness changed? What difference did it make in relationships, where you lived, what activities you participated in, how you experienced school, and how you experienced your society (city, nation)?

5. How have you experienced societal matters of discrimination, prejudice and inequality among ethnic groups? What do you remember about experiences of being treated unfairly because of cultural identity? Or of treating others unfairly?

6. How have you experienced significant boundary crossing (either in travel, through relationships or in some organization)? What did you learn about others and yourself?

7. What is the relationship between your ethnic identity and your faith? What difference did or does it make in church? In your beliefs or theology?

8. In what ways do the stories, values and practices of your ethnic heritage parallel the gospel or facilitate and nurture being a Christian? What elements of your ethnic heritage make being a Christian difficult?

9. What do you value most in your ethnic heritage? What do you value least?

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