Book Review: This Here Flesh

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) – It Completes Me!

Though I am a pastor, I tend not to read a lot of religious, theological or even spiritual books throughout the year, at least not in comparison to the number of books I read all together.  So when I do choose such a book, it is usually because it captures my spirit’s imagination in such a way I am willing to take a leap of faith, so to speak.  

“This Here Flesh” by Cole Arthur Riley was one such spiritually centered book and it delivered.  With her short packed chapters of theological reflection tied into her personal and familial stories, Cole Arthur Riley offers the reader insight, perspective and a place of connection to God and the Spirit through a lens and experience that has been marginalized or violently silenced in the church for far too long.  She holds a mirror up the popular protestant narratives which perpetuate heteronormative, patriarchal, capitalistic and white supremacism standards. Cole Arthur Riley frees our understanding of God, faith and the movement of the Spirit in our lives and invites the reader to push beyond these tropes and have and articulate a freer and more authentic experience of God. 

Cole Arthur Riley offers no easy answers, no formula for faith, prayer or deeper relationship to God.  She offers her story, the story of her family and God’s presence and revelation in those stories much like we find God in the stories of our faith families, Sarah and Abraham, Rachel and Isaac, etc. None of these stories come without pain, trials and oppression inflicted upon the most vulnerable and it is right in these places of “weakness” and “disdain” that Cole Arthur Riley points to God, the Spirit and a truth that the colonizer has been denying for centuries: liberation for the oppressed is God’s daily work.

Absolutely worth your time, attention and reflection.

Happy Reading!

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