Bearing Witness with James Baldwin
During this pandemic, as alternative to our usual weekend event, ISW invites you to join us for a contemplative reading of Eddie S. Glaude Jr.’s book, Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own (2020). In four weekly, 60-minute Zoom sessions, we will host four interfaith, heart-based conversations with representatives of four faith traditions as they engage Professor Glaude’s masterful reading of James Baldwin—his life, his times, his legacy.
“In this powerful and elegant book on James Baldwin, Eddie Glaude weaves together a biography, a meditation, a literary analysis, and a moral essay on America. Like Baldwin’s own essays and books, it is at times both loving and angry, challenging and uplifting, and always beautiful. Both Baldwin and this book speak directly to today.”
–Walter Isaacson, author and professor
Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where he is also Chair of the Center for African American Studies and Chair of the Department of African American Studies. He has written extensively, and notably on African American religion for several decades. Glaude was elected President of the American Academy of Religion for 2017.
About the Practice of Contemplative Reading:
Contemplative reading is reading not only with the mind but with the heart—the heart feels what the mind is thinking. Rightly understood, it is not just a reading, but a listening with the heart. When these come together, deep listening can become a way of prayer that clarifies and enables our activities for justice. “When the heart speaks, take notes!”
Dates for Book Study:
Zoom sessions on four consecutive Mondays from 4:00—5:00 pm beginning on February 22nd and ending on March 15th. “Itinerary” is below. All sessions will be recorded. This study is self-directive, or you can join or host your own independent Zoom sharing circle. See Study Support.
Dates for “Opening” and “Closing” companion sessions:
Our entire ISW 2021 Webinar entitled, “Bearing Witness from Fresno’s Mason-Dixon Line,” begins on President’s Day, Monday, February 15, 4:00-5:30 pm, with an “Opening” panel featuring three guest scholars—Dr. Malik Simba, Dr. Nathan Hensley, Mr. Uziel Jimenez. It ends on March 22 with a roundtable discussion among these guest scholars, and our four interfaith speakers.
Bring your own—the best kind—or start with these: What do Glaude and Baldwin say to me? What do they say to the America of our times? What do they say to our own locality, Fresno, with its particular history of racism and redlining?
Itinerary for the Journey
“Bearing Witness with James Baldwin”
Week 2: February 22, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Readings: “Introduction,” Chapter 1: “The Lie” and “Conclusion”
Christian Faith Tradition
Moderated by: Ashlie M. Kosinski, Co-founder The Wildflower Collective, Information Coordinator, ISW
Speaker: Rev. Dr. Paul Binion, Pastor of Westside Church of God, Fresno
- Rev. Anna Lopez, New Thought Community, Fresno, indigenous cosmology and modern spirituality perspective
- Daniel O’Connell, PhD, Executive Director, Central Valley Partnership, Quaker-Buddhist perspective
Week 3: March 1, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Readings: Chapter 2: “Witness” and Chapter 3: “The Dangerous Road”
Reform Jewish Faith Tradition
Moderated by: Gaonoucci Belle Vang, Social Media Coordinator, The Ethics Center, Fresno State University, Southeast Asian Parks Youth Advocate, Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries
Speaker: Rabbi Dr. Laura Novak Winer, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
- Sukaina Hussain, Deputy Executive Director for CAIR Sacramento/Central Valley, Islamic perspective
- Lady Jessica Criner, St. Rest Baptist Church, Fresno, Christian perspective
Week 4: March 8, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Readings: Chapter 4, “The Reckoning” and Chapter 5, “Elsewhere”
Muslim Faith Tradition
Moderated by: Mariah Cushing, M.A., Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
Speaker: Hajj Reza Nekumanesh, Executive Director, Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno
- Rabbi Rick Winer, Temple Beth Israel, Fresno, Reform Jewish perspective
- Sister Kathleen Drilling, SSND, St. Paul Catholic Newman Center, Director of Religious Education, Roman Catholic perspective
Week 5: March 15, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Readings: Chapter 6: “Ruins” and Chapter 7: “Begin Again”
Hindu Faith Tradition
Moderated by: Zena Chafi, Community Organizer for CAIR Fresno/Merced
Speaker: Veena Howard, PhD, Professor Asian Religions, Coordinator, Peace and Conflict Studies, Fresno State University
- Darren Duerksen, PhD, Associate Professor of Intercultural and Religious Studies, Fresno Pacific University, Evangelical-Anabaptist Christian perspective
- Rev. Akiko Miyake-Stoner, Senior Pastor, United Japanese Christian Church, Clovis, United Methodist Christian perspective
Create an Independent Zoom Circle:
This book study can be self-directed, or we invite you to create your own sharing group with your community, or even one or more friends or family members on Zoom after each plenary session. See “Study Support”
*All plenary sessions will be recorded. You do not need to be present to participate.