Since the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, many white Christians have looked to black writers and thinkers for how we should respond to the continuing violence carried out on black bodies.
Many excellent reading lists on understanding racism and becoming antiracist have emerged in the last few days, but few are oriented toward Christian readers. Since our launch in 2008, we have been committed to opposing racism and featuring the work of diverse writers. We offer the following guide to antiracism books for Christians that have been helpful for us. (There are a lot of books here, some of which you may have already read, but we have tried to organize them in a way that you can quickly find ones that are of most interest to you.)
the Local Church
Church Forsaken: Practicing Presence in Neglected Neighborhoods by Jonathan Brooks
“There are no God-forsaken places, just church-forsaken places.” ―Jon Fuller, OMF International Jonathan Brooks was raised in the Englewood neighborhood on the south side of Chicago. As soon as he was able, he left the community and moved as far away as he could. But through a remarkable turn of events, he reluctantly returned and found himself not only back in Englewood but also serving as a pastor (“Pastah J”) and community leader. In Church Forsaken, Brooks challenges local churches to rediscover that loving our neighbors means loving our neighborhoods. Unpacking the themes of Jeremiah 29, he shows how Christians can be fully present in local communities, building homes and planting gardens for the common good. His holistic vision and practical work offers good news for forgotten people and places. And community stakeholders and civic leaders will rediscover that churches are viable partners in community transformation in ways that they may never have considered. God has always been at work in neglected neighborhoods. Join Pastah J on this journey and discover new hope for your community.
We are all located in different places. And the way we grow as disciples and lead others in spiritual growth depends on our contexts. Pastor José Humphreys recognizes how deeply our faith is tied to our particular stories in our particular places. Grounded in his own deep faith and wisdom, he writes out of his experiences as a Puerto Rican pastor who has planted a multiethnic church in East Harlem. In this book, he offers a framework to help church leaders take discipleship seriously in their places, calling them to show up, stay put, and see what God is doing in their midst. Combining spiritual formation with activism, vivid narrative with exhortation, and realism with hopefulness, Humphreys offers pastors and church planters a thoughtful look at discipleship in a complex world.
Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew G.I. Hart
What if racial reconciliation doesn’t look like what you expected? The high-profile killings of young black men and women by white police officers, and the protests and violence that ensued, have convinced many white Christians to reexamine their intuitions when it comes to race and justice.
In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, antiblack stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice.
What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble we’ve seen?
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Reading for the Common Good
From ERB Editor Christopher Smith
"This book will inspire, motivate and challenge anyone who cares a whit about the written word, the world of ideas, the shape of our communities and the life of the church."
-Karen Swallow Prior
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