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On the heels of Gil Rendle’s Quietly Courageous (Jan. 13 to Feb 3), the Congregational Development Team (CDT) Book Club will next launch into the Lenten season with a study of a new, highly touted, instant classic. Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (2020), by Isabel Wilkerson, examines the unspoken caste system of race that has shaped America and shows how our lives today are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions.
For five weeks, Feb. 23 to March 23, on Tuesdays at 11 AM to noon, CDT Book Club members will read and discuss this “masterful portrait of an unseen phenomenon in America,” described as “immersive, deeply researched narrative and stories about real people.” It was recently named by critics “an instant American classic and almost certainly the keynote nonfiction book of the American century thus far.”
Wilkerson took nearly a decade to write Caste, following her first book, also a recognized classic, The Warmth of Other Suns (2010), about the Great Migration of African Americans from the South. The author won a Pulitzer Prize as a New York Times reporter and fully invests her journalistic gifts of research, exposition and storytelling in her celebrated nonfiction works.
“The hierarchy of caste is not about feelings or morality,” she writes, examining heinous caste systems not only in America but in India and the former Nazi Germany, too. “It is about power—which groups have it and which do not.”
Finally, Wilkerson suggests how our society can “move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.”
The Conference’s Commission on Religion & Race (CORR) will co-sponsor the book study and help CDT purchase and give books free to the first 50 members to register. Book purchase scholarships are also available. Anyone can join by registering in advance.
The Revs. Alicia Julia-Stanley, who co-chairs CORR, Victor Gimenez and Tamie Scalise, a member of CORR and the Whites Confronting Racism group, will co-facilitate the dialogue sessions.
The CDT Book Club is primarily for church lay and clergy leaders who seek to revitalize their congregations, develop their ministries and deepen their discipleship. Learn More