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“To be human in an aching world is to know our dignity and become people who safeguard the dignity of everything around us.”  

On Wednesdays, starting October 19th at 7 pm, we will have some time to sink into this compelling book. 

The title is a nod to the character Baby Suggs, in Toni Morrison’s epic novel, Beloved.   Suggs, the matriarch, gathers an enslaved, freedom-seeking family as they dwell in a ghost-haunted home. She leads them in a set of embodied actions – icluding dancing, crying, and laughter – and then delivers to them a sermon of sorts.   Bailey quotes from her words, “In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard” (4).

These words are central to Riley's project - which is part memoir, part contemplative meditation, and part storytelling. Riley attends to a spirituality that is both embodied and contemplative, a spirituality rooted in the past of her ancestors and rooted in a present and future liberation.

In her preface, she notes that “… as a Black woman, I am disinterested in any call to spirituality that divorces my mind from my body, voice, or people” (ix). In this practice of integrating the mind with the body in contemplative reflection, Riley goes on a journey through her own story, and the story of her family going back two generations (with her father and grandmother). This integration brings together the formative stories of her childhood with the contemplative practice of “beholding the divine in all things” (x).

She explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith:

How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive?

How do we honour, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit?

How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest?

In this indelible work of contemplative storytelling, Arthur Riley invites us to descend into our own stories, examine our capacity to rest, wonder, joy, rage, and repair, and find that our humanity is not an enemy to faith but evidence of it.

Read further reviews about this book here and here.


Copies of the book are available locally at Munro's, online (audio, e-book, and print) and wherever fine books are sold.

A time of prayer will also happen in the space at 8 pm and folk are welcome to stay!