I’ve spent time over the last few years researching people in church history who struggled with depression, but intertwined with their stories are those of their friends and family members who kept company with them in the dark.
It’s a mystery our culture often refuses to face, Peterson argues; and while her book was written almost entirely before the Covid pandemic, this contemplation of death—our cultural refusal to face death, the transformative power that accompanies those who do—is prescient, Peterson’s voice prophetically calling us to “awaken to death” as a way to live more profoundly.
These days, my emotions are not a reliable source. They are up and down and back and forth and all over the place, telling me stories and lies and leading me down all sorts of rabbit holes. I don’t need emotional authenticity—I need something solid. I need a touchstone to ground me. I don’t need high-energy, emotional worship; I need liturgy.
Reading While Black is not, in the end, just about Black Christianity, Black church history, or Black Biblical theology. Rather, it is a significant contribution to the larger Christian conversation over what it means to be the multi-ethnic body of Christ.
For those of us who have survived war, abandonment, cancer, abuse, the loss of a loved one, or generational trauma, this litany is for us.
She becomes a loving whistleblower uncovering the ways the church has failed to embrace suffering as part of its inheritance, and how the suffering ones have been left on the scrap heap of success-driven Christianity.