Welcome back to another Fall semester (albeit a strange one!). Our UTS blog has been silent this summer. In the last post, Dr. Ken Cuffey pointed us to Jesus’ Great Commandment – to love our neighbors as ourselves. The circumstances of the COVID pandemic, racial justice demonstrations and economic upheaval have been a period of testing for our country and certainly for the bride of Christ. It has been a time of revealing during which we have likely seen and/or experienced the ill effects of isolation, loss, animosity, misunderstanding, financial incapacity or poor physical health.
When it comes to loving our neighbors as ourselves in relation to the malady of racism, there are no prescriptions. We must each do the soul work of interrogating our own thinking, emotions, intentions and actions; things both spoken and left unspoken, done and left undone. While there are no one-size-fits-all prescriptions, one of the ways that we can love our neighbors as ourselves in this sensitive and critically important area is to develop empathy for others’ perspectives and experiences – particularly the experiences of people of color. And, one of the paths we can travel with this motivation as our guide is to pick up and read.
Seminary people typically don’t have trouble with this recommendation, which makes the recommendation one to heed with caution, lest we simply be hearers of the word but not doers. Reading is important for understanding and can help build empathy and connect us with new voices of wisdom, but reading is not the end game. Love is. Love is not passive or neutral. Love is active. Action looks like working to dismantle racism in and around us and to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God as we do so.
In terms of what we can read on the subject of race, racism, racial justice or systemic racism, there is a host of great resources at our fingertips today. Personally, I can’t keep pace with all that I would like to be reading and digesting in this tremendously important area for Christian discipleship. You likely have done much reading on this subject yourself this summer.
At the risk of adding even more to your “to read” lists, here are some of the works I have been paying attention to this summer. I pray that our Lord will lead you to the voices, perspectives and words that will meet you where you are at on your journey of being formed into the image of Christ in this important area.
The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism, by Jamar Tisby
Insider Outsider: My Journey as an Outsider in White Evangelicalism and My Hope for Us All, by Bryan Loritts
White Awake: An Honest Look at What it Means to be White, by Daniel Hill
Articles and Interviews
Esau McCaulley (Asst. Prof. of New Testament at Wheaton College and Anglican priest)
- “Race, Gospel, and Justice: An Interview with Esau McCaulley” (Five Part Interview with Ed Stetzer)
- “I Have Only One Hope for Racial Justice: A God who Conquered Death”
- “A Nation on Fire Needs the Flames of the Spirit”
- “Ahmaud Arbery and the American that Doesn’t Exist”
- “What the Bible has to Say about Black Anger”
- “How to Give Children Joy Even During a Pandemic”
James K. A. Smith (Prof. of Philosophy, Calvin University) – “What White Evangelicals Can’t See When They See Racism”
David French (Journalist at The Dispatch) – “American Racism: We’ve Got So Very Far to Go”
Latasha Morrison and “Be the Bridge” (see her book) – “Be the Bridge statement on Critical Race Theory”
“Race in America” explainer video by Phil Vischer (Veggie Tales co-creator and co-host of The Holy Post podcast)
“Why Words Matter for Race and Justice” by Geoff Holsclaw and Sean Palmer
Peace in Christ,
Director of Outreach