Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD: Silence, the Disinherited, and the Wisdom of Howard Thurman for Our Time
June 9, 2020
Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown returns to the podcast to share more wisdom about Howard Thurman.
One of the first guests on this podcast was Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown, who joined us on our episode #9 in 2018. Today we are delighted to welcome her back to the podcast. You can hear Professor Brown's previous conversation with us here.
Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD is the author of When the Heart Speaks, Listen: Discovering Inner Wisdom, detailing her remarkable spiritual journey as a heart transplant recipient. She has also contributed essays to books including Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color, Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America, and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around — Stories of Contemplation and Justice.
Professor Brown is the Ayse I. Carden Distinguished Professor Emerita of Psychology at Agnes Scott College. She has survived over 25 years with her transplanted heart, and 14 years with a transplanted kidney as well. She has also endured a heart valve replacement and a pacemaker implant. In addition to her work as a psychologist and educator, she is a spiritual director and retreat leader who often shares her love for the contemplative wisdom of the renowned African-American mystic, Howard Thurman. You can learn more about her online at www.peaceforhearts.com.
Our answers are in the silence. — Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD
Given the extraordinary moment that we find ourselves in, and especially our commitment here at the podcast not only to celebrate the gift of silence (and to dismantle all forms of toxic silence, including racism), it seemed natural to invite Lerita back — not only for her insight into the towering contemplative genius of Thurman, but also for her own perceptive words of wisdom about how we can spiritually navigate the urgency for fighting racism and other forms of injustice in our time.
One of the problems with white and black is that they're totally constructed sociopolitical identities... disinherited people have no protection from the state. — Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD
Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown with 2/3 of Encountering Silence. Left: with Cassidy at the Wild Goose Festival, 2019. Right: with Carl, 2018. (photos by Cassidy Hall and Fran McColman)
You've got to be able to center down and feel that sense of renewal from the Spirit, and I think it's really important to learn to listen... We're all called to do something to help restore God's beloved creation... Every single person has a role to play. What is your role in this? — Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD
Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:
Lerita Coleman Brown, When the Heart Speaks, Listen: Discovering Inner Wisdom
Sherry Bryant-Johnson (ed.), Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color
Cathering Meeks (ed.), Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America
Therese Taylor-Stinson (ed.), Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around — Stories of Contemplation and Justice
Howard Thurman, Essential Writings
Howard Thurman, Jesus and the Disinherited
Howard Thurman, The Living Wisdom of Howard Thurman: A Visionary for Our Time (audio recordings of sermons on a 6-CD set)
Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart
Howard Thurman, The Centering Moment
Howard Thurman, Disciplines of the Spirit
Howard Thurman, Footprints of a Dream
Howard Thurman, The Luminous Darkness
Howard Thurman, The Creative Encounter
Howard Thurman, Deep is the Hunger
Howard Thurman, The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman
Howard Thurman, The Inward Journey
Howard Thurman, A Strange Freedom
Howard Thurman, With Head and Heart: The Autobiography of Howard Thurman
Martin Doblmeier (director), Backs Against the Wall: The Howard Thurman Story (DVD)
Thomas Merton, New Seeds of Contemplation
Billy Graham, Angels
Gustavo Gutierrez, A Theology of Liberation
James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree
Luther Smith, Jr.,