This month, we focus on the Black family and investigate the building blocks
of HOPE, FAITH, and LOVE as we HEAL, BUILD, and WAR for this God-given institution.
Of course, the Black family is threatened as African Americans experience many disparities, including physical and mental health and socioeconomic well-being. These disparities are magnified in the Southeastern, which, as a region, is home to 58% of the nation’s Black population. According to UGA’s Center for Family Research (CFR), approximately 29% of Black children in Georgia live in poverty. The challenge of overcoming the environmental obstacles associated with poverty and chronic economic stress is exacerbated by oppressive social structures and racial discrimination. Many Black families in Georgia thus live with chronic economic and social stress that undermines their physical and mental health and personal development.
Despite all of these problems, the Black family endures. Let’s examine why together!
"A revolutionary woman can't have no reactionary man. If he's not about liberation, if he's not about struggle, if he ain't about building a strong Black family, if he ain't about building a strong Black nation, then he ain't about nothing."
-Assata Olugbala Shakur
FEATURED ARTIST | This month's Bulletin features limited edition works by Larry "Poncho" Brown. On the front cover, Soul Survivors is a testimony to how the love and the strength of family can be a healing force in the lives of its members.
Above, Love, Links & Lineage is an offset lithograph. It is a testimony to the ability of the family to show love and strength in the face of adversity and endure. A native of Baltimore, MD. He started his first business at the age of 17 as a signwriter and he has since been a full-time artist.
SERMON SERIES | Pastor Johnson preached a powerful series from Ruth focusing on the essential qualities that make a family. Beyond having a common ancestor or blood relationship as defined by the dictionary, family are those to whom we are bound in a redeeming hope, enduring faith, and everlasting love.
Redeeming Hope - We begin exploring Ruth Chapter 1 with key verses from Ruth 1:11-22. Introduced to Naomi, Orpah, and Ruth as wealthy and privileged women, each suffers terrible misfortune as their husbands all die. Naomi's sons are married to Orpah and Ruth. Their death threatens to shake Naomi's identity and livelihood. Hopeless and marooned in Moab, Naomi decided to return to her home in Bethlehem. Ruth, though a Moabite, decides to go with her. Her words and actions redeem hope in Naomi and characterize an essential bond of family. Hope speaks with holy anger at what has happened and righteous courage to do what is necessary to change it for the better. Together, they set out on the long journey, arriving in time for the barley harvest.
Enduring Faith - We explored Ruth Chapter 2 with the key verse from Ruth 2:2. Zora Neal Hurston wrote "Faith hasn't got no eyes, but she's long-legged," in The Sanctified Church." In other words, faith must be worked out. Ruth decides to go glean the barley harvest. Gleaning is important to stave off complete destitution and exercise Ruth's faith. She gleaned grain in the fields of Boaz.
Overcoming Love - Before James and Florida Evans in the 1970s TV Show Good Times, there were Boaz and Ruth. Their love story, dating from approximately 1000 BC, is still powerfully relevant in the twenty-first century. Concluding Ruth Chapters 3-4, we focus on the extent to which Ruth and Boaz overcome obstacles to be together.
HEALING OUR FAMILIES | Healthy boundaries. We all know we should have them to achieve work/life balance, cope with toxic people, and enjoy rewarding relationships with partners, friends, and family. But what do "healthy boundaries" really mean - and how can we successfully express our needs, say "no", and be assertive without offending others?
Licensed counselor, sought-after relationship expert, and one of the most influential therapists on Instagram Nedra Glover Tawwab demystifies this complex topic for today's world. In a relatable and inclusive tone, Set Boundaries, Find Peace presents simple yet powerful ways to establish healthy boundaries in all aspects of life. Rooted in the latest research and best practices used in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), these techniques help us identify and express our needs clearly and without apology - and unravel a root problem behind codependency, power struggles, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more.Learn More
SCHOLAR IN FOCUS | The Rev. Dr. Andrea C. White is an Associate Professor of Theology and Culture at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. She has served as Executive Director of the Society for the Study of Black Religion and chair of the Black Theology Unit for the American Academy of Religion. Her research specializes in womanist theology and critical theory, philosophy of religion, and phenomenology.
Her forthcoming volume is The Scandal of Flesh: Black Women’s Bodies, God, and Politics. She is also the author of The Back of God: A Theology of Otherness in Karl Barth and Paul Ricoeur, and editor of several future volumes including Political Theology on Edge with Catherine Keller and Clayton Crocket, and The State of Black Theology.
BUILDING OUR FAMILIES | The Center for Family Research conducts pioneering research on the ways in which stress affects family relationships, youth development, and adult health with an emphasis on Black people in the southern United States. Central to this research is the translation of basic research on development and health into empirically proven preventive interventions that leverage the strengths of families to promote family well-being. Learn more about the Center.
What do Strong Black Families Do? There are things we know from research that caregivers do to raise strong kids who do not fall prey to negative influences and seek out positive goals for their lives (the science). Learn More.