Conversations, VOLUME 11

J. Wilson-Hartgrove -Reconstructing the Gospel [In Conversation]

A good book is a conversation, engaging other books and ideas in conversation, and setting the stage for future conversations…

This is the first in a series of posts that explore the conversation into which a particular recent book emerges. 

(Use the comments below to let us know what you think. Is this approach to a book helpful to you?
ALSO, feel free to suggest other books that are vital to this conversation…)


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”250″ identifier=”0830845348″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”162″]Reconstructing the Gospel:
Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Hardback: IVP Books, 2018.
Buy Now:  [[easyazon_link identifier=”0830845348″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B0794FRTWP” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]

Watch for our review of this book in our May 2018 magazine issue!



Wading into the Conversation

(Helpful pre-reading)

What is Slaveholder Religion?


Author’s Background:

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”1600061907″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_link identifier=”1600061907″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line[/easyazon_link]

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (2008)

Wilson-Hartgrove’s memoir of how his understand of race and Christianity was changed.


Introductions to the Racial History of Christianity in America:

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”1513800000″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”104″][easyazon_link identifier=”1513800000″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Trouble I’ve Seen:
Changing the Way the Church Views Racism[/easyazon_link]

Drew Hart (2016)


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”1587434008″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”106″][easyazon_link identifier=”1587434008″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]America’s Original Sin:
Racism, White Privilege, and the Bridge to a New America[/easyazon_link]

Jim Wallis (2016)


Broadening the Conversation

(Books that explore similar themes)

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0807007412″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″]Books by William Barber:

  • [easyazon_link identifier=”0807007412″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear[/easyazon_link]
  • [easyazon_link identifier=”0827244940″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Forward Together:
    A Moral Message for the Nation[/easyazon_link]

Churches Living into God’s Work of 
Healing / Reconciling:

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0830834516″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”104″][easyazon_link identifier=”0830834516″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Reconciling All Things:
A Christian Vision for Justice, Peace and Healing (Resources for Reconciliation)[/easyazon_link]

Chris Rice /
Emmanuel Katongole (2008)

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0830844422″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”107″][easyazon_link identifier=”0830844422″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Roadmap to Reconciliation:
Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice[/easyazon_link]

Brenda Salter McNeil (2016)

Extending the Conversation

(If you’ve found this book helpful,
here are some that will take you deeper into its themes)

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0300171366″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”103″][easyazon_link identifier=”0300171366″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]The Christian Imagination:
Theology and the Origins of Race[/easyazon_link]

Willie Jennings (2010)

A deeper look at the history of modern Christianity and its role in the emergence of racism

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”0195152794″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”112″][easyazon_link identifier=”0195152794″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Race: A Theological Account[/easyazon_link]
J. Kameron Carter (2008)

Carter traces the pre-history of race back to the earliest days of the church.



The relevance of monastic practices (especially stability) to a new, reconciled way of being church.

Wilson-Hartgrove makes this suggestion in the final pages of Reconstructing the Gospel.

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”1557256233″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”108″][easyazon_link identifier=”1557256233″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]The Wisdom of Stability:
Rooting Faith
in a Mobile Culture[/easyazon_link]

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove (2010)
[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”080706341X” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”104″][easyazon_link identifier=”080706341X” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Staying Put:
Making a Home
in a Restless World[/easyazon_link]

Scott Russell Sanders (1994)


C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at:

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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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