Thinking Together Column 1/26/2016

I’m giving Highland a head-start on a book that I hope many will be talking about in our city a month from now—a book that has changed my life: The Half Has Never Been Told (THHNBT).

Next week, I will have an op-ed in The Courier-Journal inviting greater Louisville to join a virtual city-wide book club, as together we read this book on the history of slavery in the U.S.

THHNBT is not exactly a religious book, and yet there are parts of it that preach.

What it does best is to name bravely the background from which so much of today’s racial division was born and continues to do harm. Its purpose is not to make whites feel shame or guilt (though any white person with a pulse will surely feel it quicken as you read), but rather to discover the journey of black Americans as well as the privilege our white forebears passed on to white Americans in the ability to advance more effortlessly economically, educationally, socially, and politically than black Americans.

The author reports the reality. The Spirit of God does the rest—calling, awakening, transforming, reconciling.

If willing, you may want to read THHNBT as part of your Lenten discipline.

On February 29 (a bonus day in Black History Month 2016!), Highland will host a city-wide conversation on THHNBT with its author, Cornell historian Edward E. Baptist. The event is sponsored by EmpowerWest, our new black-white alliance of churches and pastors.

What new ground might we plow together? What new seeds might be planted? What hope can be born when the truth sets us free?


Mac Brown’s prayer in Sunday’s 11:00 service addresses what true praise looks like. It spoke to me and I hope to you. ~ Joe

Heavenly Father. Thank you for today and for the life you have given each of us.

In each day of each of our lives, we face questions and alternatives and choices; the instinctual response

to which is often to go with what will support OUR purpose or provide US with some sense of earthly satisfaction.

Lord, please help us be different today.

Today, Lord, please help us praise you by making choices that support YOUR purpose. Today, Lord,

please help us praise you by joining YOUR story, by helping others and by living with a servant’s heart.

Just for today, Lord. Amen.