On this first day of July, a few days before most people gas up their cars for the long 4th of July weekend or buy shrimp to throw on the barbie, we here at UrbanFaith.com and Urban Ministries Inc thought it’d be fun to share what we are reading this summer. Some of our staff has shared one book on their “to read” list this summer and now we are sharing the list with you, our readers, in hopes that it will provide you with some book options this summer–we also hope that you will share what you are reading in the comments below. So without further adieu, here’s the UrbanFaith.com Summer 2014 Reading List as provided by the UrbanFaith.com and Urban Ministries Inc. family. Happy Reading!


Dr. Melvin Banks, Founder and Chairman of Urban Ministries, Inc
“Uncommon” by Tony Dungy

I’m in the process of reading “Uncommon” by Tony Dungy. I’m about 3/4ths way through it and find it refreshing as he uses his many years as a football coach to identify principles for building an uncommon but fulfilled life. It’s an easy read appropriate for anyone, yet you can tell he especially has younger people in view. (Dr. Melvin Banks, Founder and Chairman of Urban Ministries, Inc)




Nicole Symmonds, Editor, UrbanFaith.com
“The History of Sexuality” by Michel Foucault

Foucault’s three-book “History of Sexuality” volume is at the top of my summer reading list. In the volume the French philosopher explores the development of discourses on sex starting with his exploration of the “repressive hypothesis” which posits that society suppressed sexuality since the 17th century and the discourse of repression came out of that movement. I’m reading this because I’m interested in learning the different perspectives on sex throughout the ages and I believe that Foucault’s breakdown of the discourses on sex is a perfect primer to that goal.


summerreading-fortymilliondollarslavesJohn Richards, Adult Content Development, Urban Ministries Inc.
“40 Million Dollar Slaves: The Rise, Fall, and Redemption of the Black Athlete” by William C. Rhoden

The book has a controversial title and this has been a topic of controversy in sports for decades. Connecting multimillion dollar athletes with the institution of slavery seems tenuous at best, but as a sports fan, I look forward to reading Rhoden’s treatment of what he feels like has been evolution from literal plantations to figurative ones on the sports landscape.



Christine Scheller, Contributing Writer
“A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness” by Marlena Graves

This book is at the top of my summer reading list. Seeing how Marlena communicates with people online made me want to read her book. She is such a thoughtful person and handles herself with such grace in what can be a brutal environment. So, despite my general resistance to books on suffering, I want to read hers because I know I can trust her to offer more than spiritual cliches that do more harm than good. (Christine Scheller, Contributing Writer)



Jacqueline Holness, Contributing Writer
“Things I Should Have Told My Daughter: Lies, Lessons & Love Affairs” by Pearl Cleage.

Cleage is a legendary writer in Atlanta, and this is a collection of her journals from when she began her writing career in the ’70s and ’80s. She was a speechwriter and the press secretary for Atlanta’s first black mayor Maynard Jackson and was once married to Michael Lomax, president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund. I hope to see the city of Atlanta during that time period through her eyes and learn about how she was able to build such a monumental writing career, raise her daughter and navigate whatever came her way.



Natasha Robinson, Contributing Writer
“A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power” by Jimmy Carter

President Carter has been unapologetic about his Christian faith and support of women’s rights. In this new book, he addresses interpretations of religious texts while raising several issues of misogyny, abuse, and oppression against women all over the world.




Terri J. Haynes, Contributing Writer
“Small Island” by Andrea Levy

This summer I plan to read “Small Island” by Andrea Levy, a novel about a Jamaican immigrant in England in 1948. The book’s unique approach on a familiar theme, racism, peaked my interest. Racism is an international problem I feel that, oftentimes, the racial struggles of African-Americans eclipse those of other peoples of the Diaspora. Racism, or rather, the determination to overcome it, is a thread that connects people of color. By acknowledging that connection, we create a stronger global bond.



Jelani Greenidge, Contributing Writer
“Engines of Heaven” by Evan Wiggs

I’m reading “Engines of Heaven” by the late Evan Wiggs. He was a pastor and traveling evangelist who has seen God do the miraculous in developing nations. His book is about how to live and develop a relationship with God in such a way that the miraculous and supernatural can become real and accessible in our every day lives. I got to know Evan for a year or so before he passed away, and the book reads in the same manner he spoke and preached — plainly and without pretense, but with twinkles of delight and excitement throughout.



Amber Travis, Content Specialist- Youth, Urban Ministries Inc.
“Lost and Found” by Sarah Jakes

I have read great reviews on the book. Jakes is the daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes, but her book is about so much more. Although she grew up as a “PK,” she now serves as head of the Women’s Ministry at the Potter’s House, travels across the nation for speaking engagements specifically for young women and female adolescents and has an inspiring blog for women of all ages. Sure, she has lived a life of privilege in recent years, but the story that lead her to this point is so compelling, and I look forward to reading “Lost and Found” soon.



Wil LaVeist, Contributing Writer
“A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle

Excellent book on how to live life in the Present Moment, “in the now” to truly find and enjoy our purpose in God. Tolle makes clear how many of us are wrapped up in the insanity of our worldly thought patterns that are manifested in our attachment to our “ego.” We can break free and awaken by recognizing when the ego is talking and thinking and feeding itself with negativity. Basically, “be not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of your mind…”



Maya Boddie, Intern, UrbanFaith.com
“The Gentlewoman” by Enitan O. Bereola, II.

Bereola is an award-winning,  best-selling author, public speaker, and relationship advice columnist–he also refers to himself as an “etiquette impresario.” In his writing, Bereola focuses on the importance of relationship etiquette among men and women, as well as holistic healing for women. “The Gentlewoman” is aimed toward women, and has had great success across the country, as well as on social media. I hope I will be able gain an understanding, and receive advice on how a woman should conduct herself, in every way, through the eyes of a man – and see how it may be beneficial to my life and relationships. (Maya Boddie, UrbanFaith.com Intern)



Ramon Mayo, Content Specialist- Adult, UrbanMinistries Inc.
“The Insanity of God” by Nik Ripken and Gregg Lewis

This book is about a missionary’s time in war torn Somalia and how he is confronted with the question of whether God can still work in such a hard place. I’m reading this book because it deals with the problem of evil and whether God can still work in the most horrific and desperate situations.

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