Embracing Our Roots
Rediscovering the Value of Faith, Family, and Tradition
Imprint: Wipf and Stock
184 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.37 in
- Published: March 2021
- Published: March 2021
- Published: March 2021
America has provided a platform for countless migrant peoples who have, in turn, contributed to the nation's landscape as a multicultural land of opportunity. Still, the waves of assimilation can obscure the distinctive customs and beliefs of immigrants, many feeling coerced to conform to American attitudes towards race, the economy, and politics. Others, inundated with American media, consumerism, and secularity, have forgotten those aspects about their family heritage that make them unique. Drawing from Palma's background as an Italian American evangelical, Embracing Our Roots considers the significance of rediscovering our ancestral history in a society where many are forced to repress, ignore, or reject their heritage. A nation of immigrants, every American is, in some sense, an "ethnic" American and stands to gain from considering how the people and places they come from make them unique. In addition to using genealogy databases and social networks, Palma maintains the rich value of thumbing through the family archives, hearty conversations with loved ones, and building one's family tree. This book is for scholars and laypersons alike with interest in the themes of biblical living, faith-based traditions, food culture, immigration, social class, race, family dynamics, and mental health.
"Paul J. Palma explores ethno history as an Italian American Pentecostal who has learned to successfully navigate divergent worlds. He displays affection for his own heritage, showing how it has contributed immeasurably to his own life. An inspiring and provocative read firmly grounded in both cultural diversity and church history, this book speaks to the broad needs of a diverse reading audience, and will help others to appreciate their own unique ethnic and spiritual heritage."
--Joseph J. Saggio, executive vice president, Southwestern Assemblies of God University: American Indian College
"Paul Palma takes us on a journey. He shares a glimpse into his family history, but more than that, draws readers into serious reflection about their own lives. Specifically, he urges readers to consider the importance of their relationships, with family members and with God, as this dimension of life, more than any other, contributes to the shaping of who we are. His words may be just the reset some people need."
--John P. Lathrop, author of Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity
"In a rich biographical and self-exploratory excursion, Paul Palma dismantles prevailing understandings of Italian American ethnoracial identity, religious tradition, and history in the United States. Reflecting on his Italian ancestry, he exposes the social discrimination and marginalization these people faced upon their arrival in the United States. He uncovers that not all Italians were Catholic. Among them, there emerged a strong contingent of Pentecostals, who formed what would become, today, the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. In the end, he brings it all together under the rubric of being made in the image of God. This affirmation rejects destructive racist attitudes that can be countered through learning to value other humans as God's creatures."
--Nestor Medina, assistant professor, Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto
"Since the beginning of history, people have been on the move for various reasons. Paul describes the beauty and challenges of diversity in the American cultural context by making a theistic journey to his Italian roots. Through excellent academic research and constructive transparency about his personal life, he persuasively writes that it is vital to comprehend one's origin, the cultural and religious influences that build personality, to understand who you are clearly. The book contains appealing and helpful insights to those who struggle to adjust to a foreign culture and personal health issues."
--Alex Mekonnen, associate professor, Regent University
"In Paul J. Palma's latest work, faith, family, and tradition unite in a celebration of both past and present. Embracing Our Roots is a go-to guide for Christians who seek to strengthen their faith as it is connected to their family's background. This book demonstrates that, like the quest for a hidden treasure, the discovery of one's heritage can have a variety of twists and turns that bring a person home to themselves and, ultimately, to God."
--Stephanie Longo, instructor of history, Lackawanna College