Mocked, Vilified, and Caricatured: A Theological Response for Clinically Depressed African-American Men from the Pulpit of One of America's Oldest Black Churches

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9780979295348: Mocked, Vilified, and Caricatured: A Theological Response for Clinically Depressed African-American Men from the Pulpit of One of America's Oldest Black Churches
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Webster's Dictionary defines an endangered species as a class of individuals having common attributes and designated by a common name {which is} in danger or peril of probable harm or loss. This description applies, in a metaphorical sense, to many African-American men in urban areas who are miseducated by the educational system, mishandled by the criminal justice system, mislabeled by the mental health system, and mistreated by the social welfare system. All major institutions of American society have failed to respond appropriately and effectively to African-American men s needs and problems. Consequently, many African-American men are living with what famed psychologist Kenneth Clark, author of the book Dark Ghetto, coined as the "tangle of pathology"; indicating the moral malaise that produces men whose lives are unequivocally dejected and counter-affluent to most people in the dominant society. The truth is that these men aren't monsters or hopeless fiends; rather, for the most part, they are men who have experienced various societal and personal traumas that have worked to induce a particular form of depression, which largely goes undiagnosed and untreated. This book is an attempt to inform and empower black communities to understand and work toward healing this pattern of chronic self-perpetuating pathology that has engulfed too many African-American men who are now as a consequence living below society s radar screens, working and earning wages illegitimately and illegally, or deteriorating away in prison.

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About the Author:

Britt A. Starghill is a 4th generation Baptist minister and is Senior Pastor of the Kaighn Avenue Baptist Church in Camden, New Jersey, the oldest African-American Baptist church in The State of New Jersey. He pastors a thriving cosmopolitan congregation within one of the most impoverished cities in the United States. Britt A. Starghill grew up in Detroit, Michigan and has lived and studied urban issues in Washington D.C.; Dayton, Ohio; Richmond, Virginia; Rochester, New York and Jackson, Mississippi. He is a visionary leader that believes religion, spirituality, and a holistic approach to ministry can bring transformation and is a dedicated community activist in the Delaware Valley (the Greater Philadelphia area) that includes Southern New Jersey and Delaware. He teaches and lectures at many colleges, seminaries and retreats throughout the United States.


An overdue masterpiece. This emotional provocative book reveals the "worst kept secret" in America. An absolutely must read by all. -- Dr. Ed Yancey, Professor of African & African-American Studies, University of Memphis

Profoundly moving...Rev. Starghill has identified a new role and a progressive vision for the black church and this new role is very meaningful in that it is empowering and it makes much needed mental health interventions accessible in our churches and communities. This book fills in the gaps and addresses the mental health treatment needs of many African-American men. -- Charles E. Thomas, Senior Treatment Coordinator of Volunteers of America Delaware Valley

Britt Starghill gets it! This book provides a useful look into the world that many of us academics and practitioners - are still sorting through to develop answers, public policies, and theologies that are appropriate and useable in the present day and future. With respect to the health of the minds of black men, Starghill sagely connects the dots between lack of opportunity, apartheid residential realities, educational failures, economic collapse, and the resultant infliction of psychological, psychiatric, and emotional trauma. -- --Marshall Mitchell, founder of Different Drummer LLC; former Executive VP of Wilberforce University; former Congressional Chief of Staff

This book will surely be of great benefit to the black clergy in understanding and dealing with issues of depression in black men. -- Demico Boothe, bestselling author of Why Are So Many Black Men in Prison? and Getting Out & Staying Out: A Black Man s Guide to Success After Prison

Starghill's acute analysis of the intra-psychic and extra-systemic forces that inform the black male psychic dilemma serves as both a cultural critique and ecclesiological model. He goes beyond the empty theorizing, glib forecasting, and piecemeal pontificating that characterizes contemporary discourse on the subject. What he has provided is a working model an effective program of personal and communal transformation that is relevant and worthy of duplication. This fresh perspective will be useful to those who are interested in urban ministry, black church studies, and the future of American civilization as a whole. -- --Dr. Adetokunbo Adelekan, Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics, Eastern University; Chief Executive Officer, The Tosabo Group; Instructor in Ethics and the Humanities, The W. E. B. Du Bois Summer Program, Princeton University

This work will prove to be a major contribution to African-American churches who dare to seek healing for our men. Dr. Starghill has magnanimously put his intellect and passion on display to benefit our churches and communities. -- Rev. Dr. John Duckworth, Pastor, Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church of Westland Michigan; Vice Chair of the Health & Human Services Committee of the Council of Baptist Pastors of Detroit & Vicinity, Inc.; Vice President of the Inkster Ministerial Alliance; Community Advisor to the Westwood and Inkster Public School Districts

Dr. Starghill delivers! Mocked, Vilified, and Caricatured gives voice to the social illness of male depression within the African-American context, from arguably the most historical platform in the black community: the pulpit. A must read for those seeking to dissect and understand black male depression and promote holistic healing. -- -- --Rev. Dr. Tony F. Drayton, Pastor, St. James Missionary Baptist Church of Riviera Beach, Florida

The time has truly come for us to move from talking about the plight of black men to identifying what factors are causing the destruction of our men. This book is well written and has opened my eyes to how impactful depression has become in our modern families. -- --K. Z. Smith, Senior Pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church, Cincinnati, Ohio

Dr. Britt Starghill has now brilliantly given voice to what our eyes have only seen. This book is critically important, both for the church and community and I am glad it provides a Christian perspective. African-American men are hurting and still healing from the vicissitudes and ugly residue of slavery. America must come to terms with the damages it helped to cause. --- Dr. David Hampton, Senior Pastor of Light of the World Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana

Reverend Starghill masterfully unearths clinical depression as a source of consternation for the urban African-American male. By using an approach that combines social science and theology methodologies, Reverend Starghill provides an insightful and interesting analysis of social conditions and practices that contribute to clinical depression in this population. This book offers many useful tips for teachers, school administrators, social service and mental health professionals as well as others that work in low-income urban areas. His intellectual curiosity, quantitative analysis and command of theology make for a thought-provoking and worthwhile read! --- --Sherle L. Boone, Ed.D. Founder/President, W.E.B. Du Bois Scholars Institute, Professor of Psychology at William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Dr. Starghill's book is one of the most helpful that I have read about the challenges facing African-American men and the ministry of the church with them. He quotes Mahatma Ghandi who once said, "we must be the change that we wish to see in the world." A major strength of the book is a creative and practical model of a church and pastor who are being the change that they wish to see in ministry to African-American men. Indeed it is a working model that gives very clear evidence that Dr. Starghill and his congregation not only "talk the talk," but they also "walk the walk."

Another major strength of this book is the engaging and thoughtful way in which Dr. Starghill grounds the model in a provocative and challenging biblical and theological understanding that touches base with some of the most noted African-American male and female scholars.

Another major strength of the book is the informative and insightful way in which Dr. Starghill provides a sociological and psychological analysis of the factors and forces which contributes to the "clinical depression" experienced by so many of our African-American men today. Especially notable are the documentation, resources, and statistics that he uses to support his conclusions.

Another major strength of the book is its affirmation of the need to equip and empower the laity as co-laborers in the prophetic and transformative ministry with African-American men. Dr. Starghill notes that "the pastor must be removed from his/her perch of exalted ineffectiveness by allowing him/her time to equip the saints." He furthermore observes that "one of the reasons pastors do not teach congregations effectively is that they are being burned out doing things that the congregation ought to be doing."

Another major strength of the book is the global vision of Dr. Starghill. He issues an invitation for a prophetic leadership that "must engage comprehensively a ministry that pursues the agenda of justice for the whole world through the church." Thus, "the church must speak against the evils that are present in the African-American community, but we must also broaden our scope in speaking against evils done to any oppressed people anywhere and everywhere." Finally, I think it is significant to observe that if one reads between the lines of his book it can clearly be seen that Dr. Starghill has PASSION for ministry to African-American men. It is true that "where there is no vision the people perish (Proverbs 29:18)." But I also find it true that where there is no PASSION for the vision, the vision will also perish. --Zan Wesley Holmes, Jr., Pastor Emeritus, St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church, Dallas Texas, Retired Adjunct Professor of Preaching, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas

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