A Gift Grows in the Ghetto (Paper)

Reimagining the Spiritual Lives of Black Men

  • 9780664267056
  • 6 x 9
  • 176
  • 50.00
  • Paper
  • 066426705X
  • 10/10/2022
  • 7-10 days processing
$ 22.00


In his classic essay “Of Our Spiritual Strivings,” W. E. B. Du Bois asks, “how does it feel to be a problem?” This question has become a means of diagnosing the lived experience of Black men, particularly in  America’s most neglected and feared environment: the ghetto. What is often overlooked, however, is the vital role that spirituality has in remedying the problem. A Gift Grows in the Ghetto examines how not being in relationship with one’s gift can lead to feelings of despair, entrapment, and abandonment, all of which contribute to Black men feeling as though they are nothing more than a problem. By utilizing the biblical story of Ishmael’s miraculous survival, growth, and giftedness in the wilderness, the book encourages Black men to embrace a life of faith that is dependent on the God who always sees, nurtures, and is in relationship with us and our gifts in the wilderness and the ghetto. 

Product Excerpts and Related Resources


A Gift Grows in the Ghetto insightfully interprets how Black male spiritual formation occurs in complex ghetto realities. Hinds’s multidisciplinary project is like no other, drawing upon sociology, psychology, literature, theology, and Biblical studies to envision possibilities for spiritual growth in contexts shaped by systemic racism. The book is a creative resource for understanding and contributing to Black male spirituality.” —Luther E. Smith, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Church and Community, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

“Contemporary popular narratives concerning the deficits and stigmatization of urban Black males abound. A Gift Grows in the Ghetto fills an important need in applied theological literature, where those popular narratives have found root, problematizing Black males as objects of ministry. Jay-Paul Hinds has chosen instead to mine their experiences for resilience and assets in the midst of oppression and deprivation. He posits their experiences, against the backdrop of the Biblical Ishmael and African American literature, as sources of theological reflection and a corrective to deficit narratives. This book finds its way onto my syllabi in religion and the criminal legal system immediately.” —Harold Dean Trulear, Associate Professor of Applied Theology, Howard University School of Divinity

“In a breathtaking account of racism, inequity, and violence that Black men face, Jay-Paul Hinds reminds us of the inestimable gift of attending to their spiritual lives. He directs our attention to the spiritual, not in opposition to structural, systemic, and institutional factors, but as essential to ameliorating the plight of Black men and making life more just, compassionate, and empowering for all people. This elegant book issues an important call to action that promises to make us more human and humane.” —Allan Cole, Dean, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin

“Hinds’ book is ‘a voice calling in the wilderness’ with a message of hope that is grounded in interdisciplinary scholarship and his own poetic style. While focusing on the spiritual lives and journeys of Black men, he provides an invaluable resource to pastoral caregivers, mental health clinicians, educators, and anyone seeking the gifts of belonging and healing within God’s loving presence.” —George Stavros, Executive Director of the Danielsen Institute and Clinical Associate Professor of Pastoral Psychology at Boston University

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