book report: between the world and me AND my name is hope

I thought I'd do a quick debrief of the last two books that I read this month. I had some folks ask me about both of them, so it's worth sharing. 

The first one was:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

Memoir/Black Culture

I heard lots of good things about this before picking it up, and it's been sitting on my shelf so I thought I oughta give it a go. I will say - this is one you should aim to read in one sitting. I loved the content and really dug his writing style, but I read it in a few sittings and it was kinda hard to remember what he had been talking about in the prior pages. It's divided into three sections (and they aren't that long) so maybe I should've just read it by that division.

Ok, beyond that comprehension issue...I think this book is so important.  I wrote down a few quotes that I think I'll revisit for a really long time, and he had lots of interesting things to say about black culture and creativity and intellectualism and I liked all of it. 

I will keep this one around and revisit it often, I'm sure. 


Up next was:

My Name is Hope by John Mark Comer 

Christian Life/Psychology

Ok. I have a lot of thoughts about this one - and I think I remember having similar thoughts about this concept when I heard JMC speak about this a while back at church. 

Here's the thing. I agree with most of the points he made in the book. He advocates for a deep soul care process in supplement to traditional therapy for anxiety/depression. I don't have any doubt it worked wonders for him. BUT. I really think it's prescribing something that isn't necessarily accessible to all christians.

Here's what I mean. He speaks of a dynamic, invested, caring church community that surrounded him in this time. I crave that, I want that, but I don't have that. And I know many folks who don't have that either. I've been in traditional therapy for a couple years, and honestly, it's changed my life. There is something deeply transitional about having someone get at root issues that no pastor or spiritual mentor ever processed with me. 

It's hard - and I remember hearing about the controversy (perhaps too strong a word...) that this book and mindset caused when it came out - because I want to fully believe what he is writing is really true. I actually think after hearing his sermon on this I may have picked up this book before? But I'm just sorta in the phase of life where hearing "you need Jesus to heal you" is not helpful or healing. And that's not a good thing...but it's just the true thing in my life. 

I will say, this book has challenged me to think about my journey of experiencing emotional and spiritual health in light of a new set of practices. Prayer, authentic conversation with other Christ-followers, and meditation are things that I want to implement on a regular basis in addition to traditional therapy. This may or may not be a helpful review...but I am still processing how I feel about this one.