Starlette Thomas is a member of the Good Faith Media strategic advisory board and host of the forthcoming GFM podcast, “The Raceless Gospel.”
- What story, verse or passage from your faith tradition’s sacred texts has significantly influenced / shaped your life?
Paul’s letter to the Galatians, where he writes to them, “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (3:27-28, NRSV).
It is one of the most liberating and consciousness-expanding verses I have ever read.
It is why I cannot get my head around a Christianity that racializes, genderizes and capitalizes on oppression. It suggests that the waters of baptism are not troubled, that Christianity cannot heal the world of these social ills.
- Who are three people (other than your family) who have shaped your life and worldview? And why?
I have a cloud of witnesses that includes Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and Jarena Lee. But the three people who have shaped my life are the incomparable James Arthur Baldwin, Toni Morrison, the griot, and the mystical Howard Thurman.
I choose Baldwin for his faithfulness to truth, for his prophetic edge and his unflinching nerve when writing and speaking about race and the intersections of religion and politics.
Toni Morrison is almost otherworldly in that she chose and knew she could write without “the white gaze,” which is critical to my raceless gospel work.
Howard Thurman is my spiritual advisor, who informs me that I have a “center” that race and its progeny have no access to.
- List three of your “desert island” books, movies or TV shows.
I am a bibliophile so this is like choosing a favorite child, but I can safely speak from the collections of my literary trinity. I would include the collected works of all three as you cannot read just one.
But my three “desert island” books are Howard Thurman’s The Creative Encounter, James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye.
Because on a desert island, I would still be thinking of ways to undermine the credibility of the sociopolitical construct of race.
- What is one of the most critical issues people are facing today?
Aside from the basic needs of food, shelter, justice and equal treatment under the law, access to clean drinking water, healthcare and a fair living wage, I believe that one of the most critical issues that people are facing today is an incomparable breadth and depth of deception, self, social and spiritual.
Consequently, there is the need for authenticity, to connect with our truest selves and not some prepackaged version of existence, to be in community with persons who really see us and who show up in the world as mutually valuable and vulnerable selves.
- What are a few of your hobbies?
I’m a high-functioning introvert so my hobbies aid and abet me in hiding in my head. Consequently, I love to read, write and take long walks in the park. This sounds familiar so I should also add, I’m a Capricorn and not looking for a serious relationship.
- If you could freeze your life into an already-lived 10 seconds, what would they be?
This is such an inspiring question. For 10 seconds, I see myself completely free of every social ill. Not standing on a mountain or running in a field of flowers but looking in a mirror and seeing myself freely.
- Our tagline at Good Faith Media is, “There’s more to tell.” What’s your “more to tell”?
My “more to tell” is that I am writing a book on the raceless gospel. I am sharing it so that the readers can hold me accountable and pray for its completion.
Reflection and resources at the intersection of faith and culture through an inclusive Christian lens.