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Lament, Pray, & Care

Reading book

In Sunday's sermon, we looked at responding to the racial divisions by learning to Lament, Pray, and Care. I promised that I would post a number of book recommendations that may help you think through how to Care better. 

As always, be discerning as you read; I don't agree with everything in these books. But the goal of reading these books is to learn how to care better and be more aware of the complex issues around race.

The following will help you think seriously about the serious issues facing God's people right now in this cultural moment. Take a look, and see if one strikes your fancy and read. Even better: get someone to read it with together! 

So here it goes: 

Letter from a Birmingham Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. This is a classic letter that all should read. The link I provide is to an online copy where you can read it right now. If you have not read this before, read it now. I promise, it is a quick read!

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Revised) - Emerson, Michael O; Smith, Christian - 9780195147070

Divided by Faith, Emerson & Smith. This is an important work that leaders should read. Some of its data is a bit dated now, but Emerson & Smith provide much for evangelical leaders to consider. 

Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice - Mason, Eric; Perkins, John M (foreword by); Duncan, Ligon (foreword by) - 9780802416988

The Woke Church, Eric Mason. Don't let the provocative title of this book keep you away. Eric Mason is a compelling pastor doing some compelling work in urban ministry. The book comes highly commended by Ligon Duncan who wrote the forward. If you are going to read just one book, maybe start here. 

The Color of Compromise, Jemar Tisby. If you want a brief overview of how the American Church has played a tragic role in the racial divides, read this. There are other books that are much longer and more nuanced, but this smaller book is a good starting place to know our history. 

Just Mercy, Brian Stevenson. Stevenson, who is a Christian, tells the story of how he got involved in helping innocent black men get released from death row. Powerful story. Watch out, for you will also find it to be very troubling. (This book has also been made into a movie.)

The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson. This is a book for those who really want to dig deep. It is a big book, but worth the energy. Wilkerson works hard at helping you understand the cultural forces and policies between 1915-1970 that shaped the racial divides that still exist today. 

Black Like Me, John Howard Griffin. This is an older book, written first in 1962. Griffin, a white journalist, used a medication to make his skin and black. He immersed himself in 1950's southern America. What he discovered and wrote about will help a reader grapple with what African Americans experienced during this time in our history.