If I had some sense, I wouldn’t blog about four books at once. I would spreeeeeead them ooooooout over multiple posts to make my life easier.
And bonus: I wouldn’t overwhelm you with so many books.
Like I said, I’ve read a BUTTLOAD. And I want to share them. As many of them as I can.
And I want to do it in 31 days.
And these posts will be here forever (practically), so you can refer back to them whenever you want, at your own pace.
The theme of today’s books is: books written by Christians of color on the issue of race.
Anyone can read these books, but they’ll be particularly helpful for white Christians who want to learn more about what race & faith have to do with each other. It’s something I was pretty oblivious to for about 35 years.
Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism (by Drew G.I. Hart) is so so so good. I read it the first time and marked it all up with a black pen. Then, a year later, I read it again and marked it up even more with a red one. I skimmed through it just now looking for quotes with multiple black asterisks and red circles. (There were like 50) I can’t share them all, so here’s one:
“I would be rich if I got money for every time a white person told me that I was playing the race card… This criticism is impulsively used over and over to stigmatize those who disagree with the myth that America is now a colorblind, post-racial nation. This is a script that even white Christians seems to have learned and rehearsed. Rather than remaining open to the stories and experiences of people who have been historically oppressed, people in dominant culture frequently employ cliche phrases that begin with dismissal and encourage willful denial.” (p. 44)
The last chapter of the book is jam-packed with practical suggestions. I particularly love this one: “Practically, I suggest that Christians from dominant culture change their reading habits so that those on the margins become the main stage.” (p. 170)
Yes, yes, yes. I’ve taken that suggestion this year, and it has made all the difference in the world.
Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces That Keep Us Apart (by Christena Cleveland) was good but didn’t resonate with me quite as much. I think maybe because her main goal is, like the subtitle says, to uncover what keeps us (black Christians and white Christians in particular) divided. I had already learned so much of what she was saying and felt like I just wanted MORE. But this book would be really good for someone who is just starting out on the journey and wants to know why we can’t all just get along.
I think this is an important statement: “People can meet God within their cultural context but in order to follow God, they must cross into other cultures because that’s what Jesus did in the incarnation and on the cross.” (p. 21)
And this: “In theory, we support the vision of a diverse, integrated and interdependent body of Christ, but we certainly don’t want to venture outside our neighborhoods to live the vision.” (p. 26)
Lots of interesting social science experiments on how we view people “like us” vs. “others.” Even if I didn’t love love it, I still recommend it.
Aaaaaaand, now that it has taken me this long to only get through two of the four books, I’ve had some sense knocked into me and will blog about these two tomorrow:
Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith (by Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, and Soong-Chan Rah)
The Cross and the Lynching Tree (by James H. Cone)
Any other books written by Christians of color on the topic of race/racism/racial reconciliation that you’d recommend?
(All links are Amazon Associate links.)