Race and Justice

“Diversity” is used all the time by people with all kinds of different beliefs. Growing up, I didn’t think diversity had much to do with Christianity, but the Lord has been gracious in placing really important people and books in my path. These are some of my favorites.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree.jpg

For Finding Christ in America.

This book revolutionized my understanding of Christ and the US church. Growing up, I always heard that Jesus died for my sins because I'm a sinner. I also always grew up white (#obvi).

But what if Christ didn't just die for our sins but also for our suffering? What if the cross stands in solidarity with those who suffer? What if the greatest example of Christ on the cross in American history is the person of color hung on a southern tree? What are white people missing (and how are we sinning) by refusing to recognize our tragic past?

Orbis Books (2011)

Just Mercy.jpg

For a Great Place to Start.

Bryan Stevenson and everyone over at the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, AL are doing amazing things. This book helped put them (and Bryan Stevenson) on the national map, and since then they’ve opened the first memorial for lynching victims in America, the National Memorial for Peace and Justice.

This is a wonderful book to begin thinking about racial justice and the Christian faith. Written with mercy truly at its core, Stevenson patiently walks the reader through the darkness of racialized society and into the hope he’s fighting towards.

Penguin Random House (2014)

Eight Years.jpg

For Mourning Where We’re At.

Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the foremost authors writing today. He marries beautiful prose with incisive research. This is a collection of nine essays he wrote for The Atlantic as well as new “notes” he wrote about each year of the Obama administration (and the oncoming of the Trump Administration). What surprised me most was how much this acts as a story of creativity and fame as well as thoughts on modern America.

One World (2017)

Roadmap to Reconciliation.jpg

For Practically Doing This Thing.

Dr. McNeil is amazingly kind and practical and wonderful. I actually gave my mom, who’s an adult discipleship pastor, this book for Christmas because I felt it was the perfect companion to ministry.

It gave terms to the common experiences people have engaging with race and ethnicity within ministry contexts, the most helpful of which is the roadmap itself: a diagram outlining the healthy working out of these tricky issues.

InterVarsity Press (2016)

Underground Railroad.jpg

For Experiencing Black Autonomy and White Oppression.

This is a surreal book. It spans eras and compresses time and leaves you a better person for it. Written with beautiful language, Colson Whitehead refuses to give us white folks a white-hero to save the day.

Written with honesty and beauty, this is a book to marinate in.

Doubleday (2016)

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For Understanding Bonhoeffer.

Bonhoeffer is hands-down one of the most influential theologians and Christians. His writings still sell, and his thoughts are prescient for Christians today. However, a lot of people overlook the time he spent in Black Harlem during his year in America. Reggie Williams argues it was those six months which shaped his theology to see Christ as a God who suffers with his people.

Baylor University Press (2014)