Archives For Race

 

Toward Greater Courage and
More Authentic Community
 
A Review of

The Color of Life:
A Journey toward Love and Racial Justice
Cara Meredith

Paperback: Zondervan, 2019
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Reviewed by David Swanson
 
 
On October 1, 1962, James Meredith enrolled in the University of Mississippi for his final year of college. What should have been a straightforward process involving applications and recommendations was anything but easy. Riots broke out on campus two nights before the arrival of the 29-year-old incoming senior. The possibility of the first African American student at Ole Miss was significant enough to draw concerted opposition from the governor of Mississippi and intervention by Robert Kennedy, then the U.S. Attorney General. Reflecting later, Meredith, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, remembered his time at the university as a war, one which he won by forcing the federal government to intervene to defend his civil rights. This was a war against white supremacy and Meredith was willing to lead the charge, no matter how violent the response.

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An excerpt from this insightful new book…
 

Insider Outsider:
My Journey as a Stranger in White Evangelicalism
and My Hope for Us All

Bryan Loritts

Paperback: Zondervan, 2018
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An Invitation
to Life Together

 
The slain corpse of Michael Brown has decimated the myth that we live in a post-racial society. The election of our nation’s first African-American president did not end racism. In many ways, we witnessed a fresh proliferation of conflicts between people of color and whites, the powerless and the powerful. In the aftermath of Brown’s demise, there have been riots in his hometown, as well as on social media. In the Christian community, the commentary has likewise been combustible, as one side has appealed to the “facts” of the case— Michael Brown had just stolen some cigars and could very well have been the aggressor—and the other side has spoken out of a deep well of hurt, dug for more than four hundred years with the shovels of racism and institutionalized segregation, where the value of a black life was on a par with that of a horse. So as Michael Brown’s body lay abandoned for hours on a street in Ferguson, Missouri, like some run-over possum or deer, it’s more than understandable that African Americans began to wonder, “What exactly is the value of a black life?”

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Confronted and Grieved
by the Sins of our Past.

A Feature Review of

The Color of Compromise:
The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism
Jemar Tisby

Hardback: Zondervan, 2019.
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[ 20% off retail – Hearts & Minds ]

Reviewed by Dorothy Littell Greco.
 
Writer, speaker, and historian (PhD Candidate, University of Mississippi) Jemar Tisby has created an authoritative masterpiece. The Color of Compromise relies on history as “the main vehicle to take us on a journey toward greater racial understanding.” And what a journey Tisby takes us on.

The author topples multiple sacred cows as he dismantles the prevailing textbook narrative that nearly deifies both the early European settlers as well as the men who wrote the Constitution. Yes, the document was vital for our nation, but it also legalized systemic racism—and misogyny. Had the Founding Fathers actually been willing to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defencefor everyone (as written in the preamble for the US Constitution), the history of the United States would have been radically different.

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This collection of short stories has been nominated for a number of awards this year (long-listed for the National Book Award, Finalist for the Kirkus Prize):

Heads of the Colored People: Stories
Nafissa Thompson-Spires

Hardback: Atria, 2018
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Listen to a great interview that Nafissa Thompson-Spires
did with NPR’s Audie Cornish:

 
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Becoming We.
 
A Review of 
 

One in Christ:
Chicago Catholics and the Quest
for Interracial Justice

Karen Johnson

Hardback: Oxford UP, 2018
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Reviewed by Claire Johnson
 
 
During this past Easter Break, I exited what was supposed to be a unified, city-wide prayer and worship service in my hometown of Nacogdoches, Texas. Instead, the event was marked with sharp racial divisions of black and white. Catholics and far-fetched liberals weren’t present, or if they were, the white, evangelical event planners had stripped their voices. The body of Christ was not unified. The service was held in a conservative, white Protestant church with white contemporary Protestant Christian music led by the white band from the Southern Baptist church down the street. White pastors from white Protestant churches led the inter-song devotionals. The façade of unity came only from the closeting of diversity. Unity with no diversity is not unity at all.

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Lament and Conversation

A Feature Review of 

White Picket Fences: Turning toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege
Amy Julia Becker

Paperback: NavPress, 2018
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Reviewed by Cara Meredith

 

*** ENTER NOW
to win a copy of this book
!
(through Tues. Oct 16)

 
Sometimes realizing your privilege starts with looking at your bookshelf.

Perhaps like you, I’m a book person. I read and consume books like it’s my job, because sometimes it really is my job to learn and grow and put words to the stories and experiences of those who’ve gone before me. But it took me nearly three decades to realize that it was a privilege to even have than fifty books in my house, let alone to choose to read books about characters that looked like me written by people who looked like me.

After all, having the ability to choose is oftentimes the biggest privilege of all.

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October 7 is the birthday of Michelle Alexander, the noted author and lawyer…

In honor of the occasion, we offer this series of brief video clips that introduce her work on race and the criminal justice system.

Alexander is author of the important book
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness  

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Sunday September 30 is the birthday of Ta-Nehisi Coates, one of greatest nonfiction writers of our day!

 Whether you love or loathe his work, it’s hard to argue that he is one of the most thought-provoking essayists writing today. 

His atheistic naturalism, for instance, challenges us as Christians to take the Incarnation, and our bodies, more seriously.

In honor of his birthday, we offer the following list of eight of Coates’s finest essays from THE ATLANTIC!

 

Letter to My Son

An excerpt from Between the World and Me
Published: July 4. 2015

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Toward a More Equitable
and Racially Just Society.
 
A Review of

Plantation Jesus:
Race, Faith and New Way Forward
.
Skot Welch, Rick Wilson
with Andi Cumbo-Floyd

Paperback: Herald Press, 2018.
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Reviewed by Drick Boyd

 

Skot Welch and Rick Wilson met in the late 1990s when they were both members of a large Christian church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They later joined another large church desiring to be “multi-ethnic” but was over 99% white. Under the leadership of a visionary pastor the church started on a path to become more authentically multi-ethnic. Skot and Rick were part of a group called “Mosaic” whose job it was to facilitate the church’s transition to this new multi-ethnic status. However, their efforts were quickly undermined by the overwhelming congregational resistance to the pastor’s multi-ethnic vision.  Despite this frustrating experience, Skot, who is black, and Rick, who was white (Rick died in 2014), created a radio show called Radio in Black and White, which addressed issues of racism, diversity and inclusion in society at large and the church in particular. This book is a result of that program and all that the authors learned in their dialogues and conversations with their guests, listeners and each other.

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The Roots of Slaveholder Religion.
 
A Review of
 

Christian Slavery:
Conversion and Race in the Protestant Atlantic World

Katharine Gerbner

Hardback: U of PA Press, 2018
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Reviewed by Joseph Johnson

 

Katharine Gerbner’s Christian Slavery is a meticulously researched, insightful, and at times haunting read—haunting because it feels like the past is always with us. First and foremost, this is an academic work of religious history, but as Gerbner goes into the historical roots of, to use Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s phrase, “slaveholder religion,” the book’s significance doesn’t seem confined to the past. Throughout its pages, Gerbner endeavors to trouble accounts of this historical period that overly-focus on searching for possible early precedents of the 19th century antislavery movement. She argues that it’s significant to acknowledge and recognize that the history of early Protestant missionary efforts unfortunately includes both ideological accommodation to slavery as well as struggle against it (3-4).

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