Read Interview







“As a pastor I continuously see members struggle with establishing a solid devotional discipline and a practical understanding of the scriptures, Kenyatta Gilbert has helped me to help them. In Just Living, Gilbert makes the scriptures come alive with a modern meditative voice connecting the Bible with contemporary issues and reflections on faithful living in these difficult times. The prayers, meditations, and personal reflective questions press us past the daily pursuit of personal prosperity into the space of thankfulness, care and concern for others, and a search for how we each are part of the divine work of justice in our world. These meditative steps begin a journey that will bear fruit and last a lifetime. I will confidently recommend it to members, use it within our small groups, and place it on my own nightstand for my morning time with the Lord.”

Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, Senior Pastor, Alfred Street Baptist Church, Alexandria, VA 


“Rich. Deep. Provocative. Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert’s latest work, Just Living, is not for complacent churchgoers or contented spiritual lightweights. In the daring mystical tradition of the great Dr. Howard Thurman, Gilbert’s meditations challenge us to do more than even the best we’ve done and to be more than perhaps we ever imagined we could become.” 

“Read it if you dare but be forewarned: this book’s contents will disrupt your status quo, and your self-view and societal perspective won’t be the same.”

Nolan Williams, Jr., CEO, NEWorks Productions, Social Practice Resident, The Kennedy Center, Chief Music Editor, African American Heritage Hymnal 


“Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert has given us a deeply spiritual gift in this small, but profound offering. The questions at the end of each meditation are provocative. The prayers drew me into a posture of gratitude and repentance. The meditations that led for both pushed me to reconsider the scriptures under scrutiny and our relationship to them and the faith they ask us to embrace. This book will be a go-to meditative guide to all who embrace it for years to come. I’m honored to have been given the opportunity to start this journey.” 

Rev. Valerie Bridgeman, Ph.D.
Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs
Associate Professor of Homiletics & Hebrew Bible Methodist Theological School, Founding President & CEO, WomanPreach! Inc. 


“Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert has captured the essence of contemporary meditative reflection in this enriching text. In a season where Millennials and Gen Z seek to align activism with spiritual practice, Just Living is a rich resource of deep thought and practicality. Dr. Gilbert delicately addresses societal issues with traditional scriptural references that can garner the attention of all generations. Each lesson, meditation, and question sub-set leads the reader through a distinct and memorable journey. ”

Rev. Cecil Andrew Duffie, M.Div.
Assistant Dean of Religious Life
Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel
Howard University 

“The words penned in Just Living literally leaped off the pages into my soul.  The meditations, prayers, and reflections seemed to come alive in a meaningful, yet uncomplicated fashion.  Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert’s work clearly demonstrates the importance of compassion and contentment over greed and grandeur. I am certain this book will be a blessing to individuals, small groups, and congregations. I’m humbled by the opportunity to be a part of its beginnings.”

Cheryl L. Bridges
Licensed Pastoral Counselor
Certified Temperament Counselor
Board Certified Mental Health Coach
Founder/CEO, Bridges 2 LIFE, LLC
The People’s Community Baptist Church

Standing in the rich tradition of Howard Thurman’s classic Meditations of the Heart, Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert has offered to a new generation this remarkable treasure trove of meditations in which expositions of scripture intersect with issues facing contemporary culture. Each entry follows a similar pattern: deep engagement with lectionary texts, followed by a prayer and questions for reflection, contemplation, and discussion. Just Livingwas written for ‘an intergenerational, racially and ethnically diverse, politically and socially conscious lay readership.’ In its pages, Gilbert exposes the false dichotomy between social justice and spiritual formation that has too long plagued the contemporary Christian Church; and he invites us, once again, to ‘come alive’! 

Mikeal C. Parsons, Professor and Kidd L. and Buna Hitchcock Macon Chair in Religion, Baylor University

Just Living is a beautiful new collection of meditations, prayers, and discerning questions from Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert, the author of Exodus Preaching, The Journey and Promise of African American Preaching, and A Pursued Justice. This collection of 13 reflections on scripture, sacredness, and society addresses the vibrancy and poignancy of our present moment with the timeless conviction of faith. For pastors, preachers, and prayerful prophets in the seminary, sanctuary, or street this devotional is food for the journey.

Rose Marie Berger, senior editor, Sojourners  

Table of Contents



I.  Distress the Comfortable

  1. Scenes and Signals
  2. World Prophet
  3. Act For Others
  4. Come and Pray

II. End of the White Throne

  1. Sin-Stained Garments
  2. New Social Order
  3. Growth of Evil
  4. An Inherent Dignity

III.  The Life-Giving Presence of a Debt-Canceling God

  1. Forsaking Fidelity
  2. Spoiled and Reworked
  3. Lost and Recovered
  4. The Poverty of Wealth
  5. Storing Up Contentment