Skip to main content

BookTuesday: The Post-Racial Church

Race still matters in America, despite many people's protests to the contrary. That we have a non-white President shows the array of possibility for all people in this country, but closer to home for many of us is the reality that we live in racial bubbles that do not readily pop. Instead, we take our bubbles out and push through the aisles of the grocery store hoping our bubbles don't get squished too hard against other bubbles.

Then, for many of us, we retreat into a bubble-safe zone on Sunday. It's called "church." While we can hang whatever explanations on that fact we'd like to, most Christians live in that reality. Most of us also recognize that something's not quite right there—racially isolated sinners worshiping God apart from each other when we know eternity will look very, very different from that.

How do we adjust for that? How do we change the reality that is into what it ought to be?

The first tendency may be to simply accept the way things are as the way things will be and not bother with change. The next tendency is to change the appearance, change the practice, without considering how or even why to make the changes.

Yet as Christians, we have to base our decisions on more than just the need to feel better about ourselves. We cannot excuse inaction, but feeling doesn't cut it. Our lives are supposed to be grounded in the Bible and led by the Spirit. it is the Spirit of God that is convicting us and bringing that unease about the status quo. We need to search the Scriptures to base our actions on the foundation of God's Word.

That is the express goal of Matthews & Park's The Post-Racial Church. They write to highlight the need for rekindling a passion for racial/ethnic reconciliation through Christ among His people. The effort is to shine a light first on the need and then on the direction for reconciliation.

The book was a challenging read for me. The church I pastor is essentially monolithic in ethnicity. Honestly, there's not many folks in the church that aren't related to the ground around here. And the community isn't diverse, either—it's not a matter of divided churches in a divided town. It's a lack of option. Problems of race and ethnicity are big-city issues and far away problems (even with 'far away' being ten miles), not things that are here and now for us.

So, the book was challenging because it lit up issues that I have tended to downplay. With marriages falling apart, kids with needs, and an aging church population with shifting needs, is there really a need to consider how to reach people that don't live here? This book hit me with a resounding "YES" answer to that question.

Within the covers of this book are chapters addressing large-church issues like missions and worship and chapters looking at one-to-one issues like marriage and family. Each chapter address the biblical passages and examples related to the issue at hand. The chapters then conclude with a "Thought Provokers" section intended to help the reader put into practice what they've read.

In all, I would strongly recommend this book. It was challenging to read: some of the terms and style reflect that this is from Kregel's Academic and Professional group. Other parts are challenging because they shine light into places that it's hard to have light shined on. Get through it. It will make good reading for a church staff group or small group study.

The Post-Racial Church: A Biblical Framework for Multiethnic Reconciliation

Note: Disclosures! reflects my policy on book reviews, though it may be out-of-date with names of publishers. Kregel provided this book in exchange for the review. They do not exert any influence on the content, only the scheduling.

Comments

  1. Well put. I'm glad you let the book really get into you. Thanks, Doug!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciated the chance to read it. It was very challenging to me.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

To deal with SPAM comments, all comments are moderated. I'm typically willing to post contrary views...but I also only check the list once a day, so if you posted within the last 24 hours, I may not be to it yet.

Popular posts from this blog

Book: By the Waters of Babylon

Worship. It is what the church does as we strive to honor God with our lips and our lives. And then, many churches argue about worship. I have about a half-dozen books on my shelf about worship, but adding Scott Aniol’s By the Waters of Babylon to the shelf has been excellent.

First of all, Aniol’s work is not based on solving a musical debate. While that branch of worship is often the most troublesome in the local church, By the Waters of Babylon takes a broader view. The starting point is the place of the church. That place is a parallel of Psalm 137, where the people of God, Israel, found themselves in a strange land. The people of God, again, find themselves in a strange land.
Second, in summary, the book works logically to the text of Scripture, primarily Psalm 137 but well-filled with other passages. Then it works outward from how the text addresses the problems submitted in the first chapter into how worship, specifically corporate worship, should look in the 21st century Weste…

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Sermon Recap for October 14

Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!