What’s Next for the Red Couch BookClub?

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I used to be a classroom teacher. One of my favorite things to do was present my class of eight-year-olds with ideas and then let them make their own connections. In some cases––like math class––they would make connections and we’d have to keep solving the problem to get to an answer that worked. In other cases––like learning about the Spanish conquistadors in South America––we had a range of reactions to what the curriculum required me to present. We’d discuss and respond and come to our own conclusions about what happened. I did my best to present all sides of the story in limited time and space, though I know I could have done better.

Looking at multiple narratives and giving students opportunity to connect with history in new ways excites me and gives me hope for the future.

As SheLoves shifts and changes, Red Couch joins the shift. I’ve had the honor of facilitating Red Couch book discussions for nearly three years and in that time, we’ve discussed some incredible books. But I believe it’s time to reform the way we present and tackle our book selections.

Rather than reading one book per month with an introduction and discussion post bookending it (ha!), we’re trying something different. We’ll be reading three books at a time over the course of three months. Our Facebook discussions will be driven around topical themes, rather than specific chapters. Here on the website, you’ll see a response to the themes we’re digging into, rather than a discussion around one specific book.

For example, from February through April, we’re looking at Racial Identity and Audience. We’re reading “I’m Still Here” by Austin Channing Brown, “The Color of Compromise” by Jemar Tisby, and “Sing, Unburied, Sing” by Jesmyn Ward. All of these books deal with the identity of people of color in the United States. They tackle questions of rights and complicity of white people in the historical narrative. Over in our Facebook group, we’re talking about audience––who are these books written for? Can we still learn from them, even if the target audience isn’t us?

Later this month, Abby Norman will give us an essay about how white women can join the conversation well. How can we listen and learn without losing our own newly-acquired voices?

I’m excited to try something new in this space. My hope is that by offering several genres around the same topic, we’ll allow for more space as readers to engage. I know that some seasons, I need fiction to help me see big topics in a new light, while in other seasons, I need theology or history to ground my thinking.

Wherever you’re at in your reading life, I hope you’ll join our Red Couch discussions over in the Facebook group.

I want this space to be a resource to help us all along the journey toward justice and reconciliation. Whether you’re a seasoned activist or newly stepping into the world of reimagining what we’ve been taught, I hope you’ll find your seat with us.

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