In Yolanda’s childhood home, Jesus was a black man, and He was as close as a kind neighbor who visited often. Her grandmother called on Him to help her with every need in her life. This left the author with a sense of Christ that was both personal and real.
She calls her book a work of grandmother theology, which she describes as “rooted in generational wisdom, in the way that time and age and maturity provide an alternative lens through which to know and understand God.” I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I think most conservative Lutherans (and many others) would say that the Bible is the only lens we should use.
That being said, there were parts of this book that brought tears to my eyes. Certainly we have all been mentored by those who are older and wiser in the faith, and we have all experienced sacramental moments with those people. Speaking of her grandmother, she says:
“Cooking was her ministry, and I witnessed as she ministered to the lonely and the sick and the lost with a Bible in one hand and a freshly baked pound cake in the other.”
I’ve know women like this, haven’t you?
Growing up in the Holiness-Pentecostal tradition, Yolanda eventually moves to a less individualistic understanding of salvation, one that was not all about me and whether I have been saved. As she says,
“What good was it if I was saved but everyone else was lost? How did my salvation benefit those around me?”
She also has things to say about racism in our country, and in the church that are both hard to hear, and hard for me to comprehend. For example, she finds herself unable to sing certain well-loved hymns because they use metaphors such as “white as snow” or that refer to God as “Master.” To her these words evoke slavery and demean people of color.
VERDICT: 3 STARS. Read it for insight on the spiritual journey of a fellow pilgrim, and ignore the theology.
For more spiritual autobiographies see: