Narada's Children is a dazzling work of visionary fiction-a spiritual tale of two cities that brings together mystical elements from a diversity of religious traditions to connect far-flung communities with a common African heritage. Firmly rooted in the Ramayana of India, the narrative begins in an unforgiving desert expanse in the Horn of Africa during the late nineteenth century. Narada is wandering, without provisions, under a curse that's the result of his own act of deception. After stumbling to a lush oasis, a young woman invites him to her father's home in the old walled city of Ja'Usu. She will become one of Narada's children, along with other self-actualizing characters who receive spiritual guidance from the wanderer through the magic of storytelling. Each evening for seven days, Narada takes his audience on a magical journey to Oakland, California, in 2003, where Arthur Renfro works to improve the health of the African-American community while struggling with spiritual possession and a broken marriage. Story and audience eventually weave together, illuminating the spiritual process of becoming whole, in spite of all-too-human tendencies such as jealousy and hate, by exploring our limitations and discovering there is more beyond.
Woody Carter is a narrative theologian who holds a doctorate in theology, religion, and the arts from the Graduate Theological Union, in Berkeley, California. Carter has served as an associate professor in the Bachelor of Arts Completion Program at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco and as an instructor in theater arts at several community colleges in the Bay Area. He is a retired executive director of the Bay Area Black United Fund, an identity-based philanthropy in Oakland, California, and the author of the nonfiction work Theology for a Violent Age: Religious Beliefs Crippling African-American Youth. He divides his time between living in the Bay Area and Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands. For information about current activities of Critical Mass Health Conductors, visit the Bay Area Black United Fund's website at www.babuf.org.