Charlotte Readers Podcast: Greg Jarrell

Greg Jarrell

A Riff of Love: Notes on Community and Belonging

In today’s episode, we meet Greg Jarrell, pastor, community activist, saxophonist and author of A Riff of Love, a melodic true story of his life in Enderly Park, a Charlotte community misunderstood and often ignored by the movers and shakers in the Queen City.

Charlotte Readers Podcast is sponsored by Charlotte Mecklenburg Library.

Learn More About This Episode
Learn More About This Episode

In today’s episode, we meet Greg Jarrell, pastor, community activist, saxophonist and author of A Riff of Love, a melodic true story of his life in Enderly Park, a Charlotte community misunderstood and often ignored by the movers and shakers in the Queen City.

This is not a book to be taken lightly, nor one that a white person can read without becoming a bit uncomfortable at times. Greg pushes the reader to see race and poverty in ways that weren’t taught to white folk growing up and he invites every one of us to walk the streets of his neighborhood with new eyes.

He starts the story late at night, with him standing on the steps of a trap house, where his skin color makes him stand out. He knocks. Someone answers, turns and shouts: “There’s a white man at the door.”

Greg is co-founder and Chief Door Answerer at QC Family Tree, a community of rooted discipleship in the west Charlotte neighborhood of Enderly Park. He shares life there with a host of neighbors who have become family, as well as his wife Helms and sons John Tyson and Zeb.

He is proud of his neighborhood and the people who occupy it and fights the good fight for them every day. As the words in his book reveal, he does not back down when the adversary is racism, poverty and the forces that perpetuate both.

Greg is the author of A Riff of Love: Notes on Community and Belonging, from Cascade Books (2018). In the acknowledgments, Greg says: “Sounding like yourself is not the sort of work done by yourself. It takes a whole community of friends and companions to help you learn who you are and what you have to say, and to hold you accountable for saying it. I have an extraordinary gift of a wide community of folks who have helped me along the way to learn a bit more how to live into my own voice.”

In the forward, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove observes that “Greg knows–and this book shows–that the Word of God is something more than the words on the pages of your Bible.”

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