Empathy Read

Cheryl Harris, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Attleboro, MA joins Jonathan for a “deep read” of Richard Wright’s classic and powerful book, Black Boy. It is a real joy to spend time with one book and to fall into the writings of one author – especially with such a great work.

The Deep Conversation

Why is it that we read books of other people’s experiences? Shouldn’t we only read what we know. Jonathan should only read about bassoon playing pastors because then he will really know what is going on and if the author has gotten it right or not. Yet instead he and Cheryl discuss a book about a black boy growing up in the South in the 1930s, dealing with poverty and racism and coming into his own sense of self. This is a brilliant and excellent book on its own but also one that, in this day and age, should be on that list of required reading for all those who want to try to begin to understand the difficulties and complications and emotions around racism.

Part of the challenge of life is that we can never truly know what it is like to be someone else. We can only speak for ourselves and our experiences. Yet we live in community at various levels and thus need to try to understand each other. We need to understand where anger, distrust, and sadness come from. We need to understand what some people hold to as dreams and hopes. Good literature can be one way of connecting. Richard Wright brilliantly draws the reader into his life and his experiences in ways where the reader can say, “I now begin to understand.” Full understanding is never accomplished, but partial is still a step in the right direction.


As always, thanks for listening. Check out the website: www.twelveenough.com Send your comments and questions to twelveenough@gmail.com, and don’t forget to rate the show on iTunes.


Next Episode – Jonathan and Bob Houghtaling get angry, reads from 2 Kings, and likes stuff