I’m looking forward to being with you again as your Theologian in Residence starting June 14, and to preaching in the Cathedral June 23. Since last summer, I’ve been largely focused on the work I have shared with you on race, film, and reconciliation. Sister programs to the conversations and screenings on race and film we did here in Paris took place at Washington National Cathedral and Trinity Wall Street in New York City, and I turned in the first draft of my book History Writ with Lightning: Race, Film, and Reconciliation to Oxford University Press a few weeks ago. I’ll be revising that book at the American Library while I’m in Paris, and look forward to sharing it with you next summer, when it will be a lead trade title from Oxford. It is dedicated to you and Dean Lucinda, and I could not have finished it without the time and space to think, read, and write here the past two summers and last December.
I’m also heading over to the UK between Sundays in early July to appear on BBC Radio and do some events in the UK with past Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Our book In Conversation: Rowan Williams and Greg Garrett came out in the States May 17, and features thoughtful discussions about religion, politics, art, culture, and writing. We range across lots of our passions, from Shakespeare to great novels to Doctor Who! The book also models the increasingly difficult job of talking to each other, a topic I’ve been asked about over and over since the book came out. We hope in that respect to offer a model of how to talk about things we have a hard time talking about—which I notice has been the focus of much of my theological work of late.
I’ll also be thinking a lot this summer about James Baldwin. While I promised my bride Jeanie I’d take some time off before I launched into writing my next book, I think when I do I want to write about Baldwin, one of my favorite writers and an essential guide to race, politics, religion, and culture. I’ll be returning to some of his favorite cafes, reading Baldwin books I’ve not yet read, and following him to the village in Switzerland where he figured out his first successful novel and came to some important conclusions about race and identity. If you too are a fan of Baldwin, I hope we’ll have the chance to talk about him over the next month.
I send greetings from my family here in Austin, Texas, and am so happy that I will be back among you soon. Google says we are separated by 5000 miles, but despite the miles and the changes, it always feels that I have come home when I walk through that front gate. À bientôt!
Theologian in Residence