Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD: Silence, the Disinherited, and the Wisdom of Howard Thurman for Our Time

One of the first guests on this podcast was Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown, who joined us on our episode #9 in 2018. Today we are delighted to welcome her back to the podcast. You can hear Professor Brown’s previous conversation with us here.

Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD is the author of When the Heart Speaks, Listen: Discovering Inner Wisdom, detailing her remarkable spiritual journey as a heart transplant recipient. She has also contributed essays to books including Embodied Spirits: Stories of Spiritual Directors of Color, Living Into God’s Dream: Dismantling Racism in America, and Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around — Stories of Contemplation and Justice.

Professor Brown is the Ayse I. Carden Distinguished Professor Emerita of Psychology at Agnes Scott College. She has survived over 25 years with her transplanted heart, and 14 years with a transplanted kidney as well. She has also endured a heart valve replacement and a pacemaker implant. In addition to her work as a psychologist and educator, she is a spiritual director and retreat leader who often shares her love for the contemplative wisdom of the renowned African-American mystic, Howard Thurman. You can learn more about her online at www.peaceforhearts.com.

Our answers are in the silence. — Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD

Given the extraordinary moment that we find ourselves in, and especially our commitment here at the podcast not only to celebrate the gift of silence (and to dismantle all forms of toxic silence, including racism), it seemed natural to invite Lerita back — not only for her insight into the towering contemplative genius of Thurman, but also for her own perceptive words of wisdom about how we can spiritually navigate the urgency for fighting racism and other forms of injustice in our time.

One of the problems with white and black is that they’re totally constructed sociopolitical identities… disinherited people have no protection from the state. — Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD

Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown with 2/3 of Encountering Silence. Left: with Cassidy at the Wild Goose Festival, 2019. Right: with Carl, 2018. (photos by Cassidy Hall and Fran McColman)

You’ve got to be able to center down and feel that sense of renewal from the Spirit, and I think it’s really important to learn to listen… We’re all called to do something to help restore God’s beloved creation… Every single person has a role to play. What is your role in this? — Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD

Some of the resources and authors we mention in this episode:

Find Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown online at her website, www.peaceforhearts.com.

To learn more about Howard Thurman (and to hear online audio files of his sermons), visit the website for the Howard and Sue Bailey Thurman Center at Boston University.

Episode 103: Silence, the Disinherited, and the Wisdom of Howard Thurman for Our Time: A Conversation with Dr. Lerita Coleman Brown
Hosted by: Carl McColman
With: Cassidy Hall and Kevin Johnson
Guest: Lerita Coleman Brown, PhD
Date Recorded: June 5, 2020

Featured photo by Cassidy Hall.

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Carl McColman
Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.