Dec. 20 – Austin Channing Brown – I’m Still Here [Advent Calendar]

The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2018
Advent Calendar
December 20


I’m Still Here:
Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

Austin Channing Brown

Hardback: Convergent Books, 2018
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At a time when the “quiet exodus” of Black Christians leaving White Evangelical churches grows louder with each news headline that amplifies the daily onslaught of racial injustice directed at Black lives, Brown could have easily titled her book, DEUCES: I’m Out. Brown’s collection of essays, chronicle a journey traversing the realities of a racialized America and church, from the origin story of her name, through a life-defining bus trip to the Southern United States as a college student, and while attempting to thrive as a Black professional in predominantly White, Christian organizations. She shows readers that what some might consider a “watershed moment” began as a steady drip of exclusion and marginalization experienced by Black Christians who notice the enthusiasm for “missions trips” across oceans and continents but fear for going to the other side of town or the other side of the tracks; stand silently during worship songs led my acoustic guitars and a barefoot bongo player with no hi-hat, tambourine or organ in sight; or struggle to understand a theology of faith and work integration that leaves no room for the realities of working class immigrants and women called to lead and rule beyond their churches, homes, or Christian ministries. And when Brown’s journey could easily end in departure, abandonment, or intentional isolation, we are brought to a new beginning that boldly proclaims: “I’m still here”:

It is working in the dark, now knowing if anything I do will ever make a difference. It is speaking anyway, writing anyway, loving anyway. It is enduring disappointment and then getting back to work. It is knowing this book may be read only by my Momma, and writing it anyway. It is pushing back, even though my words will never be big enough, powerful enough, weighty enough to change everything. It is knowing that God is God and I am not (181).

  • From our review by Atinuke Diver
    in our Eastertide 2018 magazine issue
    SUBSCRIBE NOW to the magazine)


READ an interview with the author from Sojourners



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