In graduate school I picked up the intriguing book, The Three Mile an Hour God, by Japanese author Kosuke Koyama. As I turned each page, my tightly wound inner clock slowly unwound. I had no idea how time conscious and efficient I had become; in fact, I thought these to be virtues. Koyama confronted my idolatry of productivity with the speed of love. Drawing on his experience in Northern Thailand, where walking is the typical mode of transportation, Koyama invited me to slow down and enjoy God’s affectionate pace–three miles an hour–the time it takes us to walk a mile.
Koyama’s unique cultural perspective from rural, northern Thailand, enabled him to speak prophetically to my Western idolatry of speed. Similarly, many black authors offer perspective-shifting insights. The copy of The Africa Bible Commentary that sits next to my desk often illuminates the Bible in fresh ways, drawing my attention to the demonic forces behind idolatry and sin and providing insight into how and why New Testament authors treat the topic of slavery the way they do.
Black History Month is a great opportunity to delve into African-American authors. The national conversation on racism over the years has heightened my interest in learning from my black brothers and sisters. I’ve appreciated insights from authors like John Perkins in One Blood, Carl Ellis in Free at Last, and Esau McCaulley in Reading While Black. I could name many others.
If you prefer articles to books (shame on you), then here’s a brief Black History Reader put together by our sister Acts 29 church, Grace + Peace. Francis Grimke’s, “A Sermon During the Spanish Flu Epidemic” may be of particular interest as he addresses epidemic death, lockdowns, white supremacy, and church during stay at home orders. Brew a coffee or tea, set aside some time, and slow down to soak in the history and insights of our black brothers and sisters.