Re-run, Encore: Reviews of The Cosmopolitan Canopy, Just Mercy, Forgive Us, Some of My Best Friends Are Black, Bloodlines, Living in Color and more… HEARTS & MINDS recommends BOOKS ON RACE – ON SALE 20% OFF

In BookNotes a few days ago I shared with you about our work serving an Episcopalian clergy retreat;martin-luther-king-pic.jpgfor those that enjoy knowing about our work, and to give a thank-you shout-out to those who hosted us, we talked a bit about books we highlighted there, and some of what sold.

And then I told you about their speaker, urban sociologist and “people watcher” Dr. Elijah Anderson, and his useful book on building safe spaces for true multi-ethnic conversation, exploring how some cities are able to develop “cosmopolitan canopies” and how people of color navigate these different sorts of cultural spaces. The book is called The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life (Norton; $17.95 — sale price, $14.35) and we told you about it.

Then I highlighted what I have been saying is one of the most important, and truly thrilling books I’ve ever read, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Spiegel & Grau; $28.00 — sale price $22.40) by Eastern University alum and Harvard Law School grad, Bryan Stevenson. What a book!

I rarely do this, but wanted to re-post those two reviews, since some people may not have seen them.  The books are so good, and so timely, I just had to share them again.

I’ve taken the liberty of collating a few other reviews that I’ve done on books about race and sharing links of other lists I’ve made on this topic in the last year or so.  

I hope you have some of these kinds of resources in your personal library, for your own reflection, for sharing with others, for using as tools in your church or fellowship as you continue to have important, hard conversations about these vital matters.  These are “things that matter” and we are grateful for the opportunity to serve you as you read and learn and share.

cosmo canopy.jpgThe Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life  Elijah Anderson (Norton)  $17.95 — our sale price, $14.35

…our speaker, Dr. Elijah Anderson, was gracious and kindly. His grandmother was a mid-wife (and knowingly named him after a Biblical prophet) and his parents worked on a plantation in the south, picking cotton in the years of Jim Crow and lynching and horrors big and small, until they moved North in the great migration.  Dr. Anderson himself came of age as cities were burning after the killing of Martin King, and his own interest in people watching and trying to figure out how and why things were happening in the “iconic ghetto” grew into a life calling in urban sociology.  His early books include the scholarly ethnographies, A Place on the Corner, Street Wise, and the remarkable study of inner city Philadelphians, The Code of the Street. His work is considered classic ethnography — serious sociology which is also, in the words of People magazine, “a people watcher’s delight.”

I have been reading his latest book The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life and have been blown away by how very interesting, and useful it is. I so hope people come to study it — it offers really enlightening and even necessary information in these days of complicated conversations about racism, white privilege, police brutalities, and what is or isn’t plausible about racial aggressions in modern North America.  I’ve read a lot of books about how races interact, what minority folks do or don’t tend to do, or say, in “white spaces” and the like.  Maybe you have, too.  But there is data in here that is very important, really enlightening, and interesting to read.  

Many pages could be shared just reproducing the many, many rave reviews this important book has accrued, such as Ellis Cose (who wrote The End of Anger: A New Generations’s Take on Race and Rage) who called it, simply, “An amazing achievement.”

Or, William Julius Wilson, the eminent urban sociologist from Harvard, who said it is “Vintage Elijah Anderson – original, creative, engaging, and thought provoking… a must-read.”

It isn’t every book about racial disunity and the glimmers of hope found in truly cosmopolitan settings that earns rave blurbs from authors as diverse as Cornel West and George Wills.  Have West and Wills ever agreed on anything else?  They both commend this book.

It may even be true, what Randall Collins, president of the American Sociological Association, says: “The Cosmopolitan Canopy is the most important book on race relations in many years.”

Two things you should know about this book.

Firstly, it isn’t a rant against racism – not at all like, say, the new Cornel West title which is called Black Prophetic Fire a book of interviews with Christa Buschendorf and up-to-date criticism of the current status quo in race relations and public theology. Agree with him or not, Brother West is always worth reading, and we commend it to you.

The Cosmopolitan Canopy, however, is nuanced, and at times quite delightful.  One reviewer said that Anderson may be the nation’s leading “people watcher” – and who doesn’t enjoy that?  He is, here, attempting to offer a major reinterpretation of the racial dynamics in America, by introducing terms such as the “cosmopolitan canopy” by which he means islands of civility and cultural convergences existing amid the ghettos, suburbs and ethnic enclaves in which segregation is the norm.  Of course, he identifies “the racial fault lines that on occasion rend the ‘canopy’ and describes the ways in which it recovers.”   His stories of racial injury, discrimination, harm, are painful – in part because they are so commonplace and believable.  (As the Springsteen song [I had mentioned American Skin: 41 Shots in the earlier version of this review] puts it, “It ain’t no secret…”) Yet, white folks too often haven’t talked with their black friends enough about this, or haven’t immersed themselves in the literature.   So reading this sociological account could be very, very useful.

Dr. Anderson – even though he has accumulated his own experiences of demeaning discrimination over his lifetime – seems relaxed, here.  He is a congenial people-watcher and he is telling the stories and making connections;  The Cosmopolitan Canopy  is popular sociology and not terribly polemical.  He loves the city, and he loves trying to understand the social boundaries, constructs, institutions, and social locations that help create a flourishing public space. As a skilled ethnographer, he is exceptionally perceptive.  And he relishes his task as storyteller and interpreter.

Here’s the second thing you should know: not only does Anderson enjoy cities and telling the stories of their inhabitants and their patterns of behavior, he particularly loves Philadelphia. The Cosmopolitan Canopy is a study of race relations in the city of Brotherly love, and a tribute to the unique public spaces in that city of neighborhoods.  Even if, like me, you do not know Philly all that well, you will love these chapters on different places in the metropolitan area that seem to invite greater civility and racial harmony.  Not unlike, say, James Howard Kunstler who (in The Geography of Nowhere or Home from Nowhere) tells of very specific suburban messes, bad city planning and ugly American architecture, you don’t have to really know or care much about the particular place he is describing: you get the picture. But Cosmo Canopy is set in Philadelphia.

Doc Anderson takes readers through a walking tour of Center City, and that first chapter is sheer delight, learning how urban spaces do or don’t facilitate multi-ethnic diversity and civility.  But then the real fun begins, as he then moves to the Reading Terminal (a true “cosmopolitan canopy” he says.) The Gallery Mall is a “ghetto downtown” and his look at Rittenhouse Square offers a study of the practice of civility.

You see, Anderson is not just lamenting the ghettos and the “white spaces” that dominate much American life, he is pointing towards what works, how to create more democratic and safe spaces that are civil and full of what he calls comity.

Anderson’s survey of those he calls “ethnos” and “cosmos” is very, very illuminating. That is, there are those who chose to see themselves largely as part of a particularized racial enclave (this can be whites, blacks, or others, of course) and whose worldview is formed mostly by surrounding themselves mostly by people who are just like them.  And there are those who have a more cosmopolitan vision, who are truly multi-racial in their orientation, comfortable with diversity.  Of course there are those who have to switch sensibilities – urban blacks who live in black neighborhoods, are formed in black churches, and attend mostly black schools but who go to work in mostly white career tracks or white institutions.  Some resent and find this very difficult while others seem to relish this.

Don’t you just wonder about all of this?

Anderson explains for us the emotional toil and drama of being “black middle class in public” and this part was especially interesting for me.  If most BookNotes readers are white, but who have black friends, it may be surprising to you how your black friends may relate in the predominantly white spaces, and how they may act in their own homes and neighborhoods.  All of this was very stimulating, if hard, at times – I thought I knew a lot about this stuff, and I feel, now, as if I’ve got so much more to learn!

Even as Anderson documents features of a healthy civic society, and these places that are “cosmopolitan canopies” — thanks, Philadelphia! — he follows with a powerful chapter called “The Color Line and the Canopy.” (You may know that “the color line” phrase comes from W.E.B. Du Bois.) There is stuff about “provisional status” that you must read, and an excellent bit about how many black employees experience the mostly-white workplace. The Cosmopolitan Canopy ends with some powerful stories that invite all readers to ask if they are committed to civility and willing to resist those who are racist or rude or uncivil. 

He writes,

Under the cosmopolitan canopy, city dwellers learn new ways of interacting with people they do not know who are visibly different from their own group. They become more comfortable with diversity and discover new ways that people comfortable with diversity and discover new ways that people express themselves in public. These experiences may lead people to question and modify their negative presuppositions about others. Even if they do not want to know those others intimately they practice getting along with everyone. The canopy offers a taste of how inclusive and civil social relationships could become. That people find such pleasure in diversity is a positive sign of the possibilities of urban life in the twenty-first century.

JM.jpgJust Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Bryan Stevenson (Spiegel & Grau) $28.00 — our sale price $22.40

In recent days I have had some difficult conversations with friends who do not seem to trust the concerns and perceptions of the uprising against the apparent sense of abuse felt by many people of color, especially when thinking about criminal justice, the police, and so forth. I do not know how you’ve talked about Ferguson or the NYPD/Garner case, and if you are seeking a moderate, fair-minded, just approach – which is to say, not knee-jerk reactionary one way or the other, but seeking evidence, prudence, justice.  But if you have had these conversations, I am sure you have met people (maybe you yourself are one of them) who are suspicious of the claims that race is, without a doubt, a factor in many of the situations of police violence and what seem to be unjust verdicts and mishandling of evidence by the courts.

I myself have often said — despite my passion for racial reconciliation and public justice — that it is unwise to jump too quickly to accusations about motivations, especially when we don’t know all the facts of any given incident.  Although we dare not be naive about the prevalence of racial animus in our land, and must continue to struggle with the legacy of racial injury upon which this nation was built, it is nonetheless wrong to declare that racism is involved if we do not know that.  Fair enough?

But we do need to know about the patterns of institutional racism, the ways in which things tend to go wrong, even in our good land.  To be ill-informed about how (for instance) our courts and criminal justice systems has been tainted by racism is irresponsible, in my view (especially if one is sharing opinions about it.) We simply must know the facts on the ground.

And so, I beg you to purchase (as soon as you can!) and read this amazingly moving book, a book I’ve been saying is one of the most important books I have read in my entire life, the stunningly outrageous, very interesting, page-turning, and finally inspiring work by Bryan Stevenson, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. I will say a bit more about this when we announce our “Best Books of 2014” at the end of the year, as this will be named. 

Here is a video of a 20-minute talk we heard Bryan give at the Q gathering in Washington DC a few years ago, an event at which I spoke, and Beth and I sold books.)

Here is a review of Just Mercy that I had published (in an slightly edited version) in Capitol Commentary, a weekly on-line publication of the Center for Public Justice, for whom I write a monthly book review column. I hope it inspires you to read the remarkable book.

For those who care to learn about the need for greater public justice, and how legal practices, lower court rulings and higher court appeals, and complex cultural attitudes about poverty and race in the United States too often subvert “liberty and justice for all” there is simply no more compelling way to be introduced to the painful realities of our land than to take up the study of racially-charged mass incarceration and the inequities of how poor people are treated by the criminal justice system. We can learn much from the experiences of those courageous lawyers who toil over legal details at low wages as they serve in legal aid clinics to help the under-represented get a fair hearing in court. 

It is in such a world that even stalwart conservatives like the late Charles Colson have spoken out against the death penalty: in our terribly broken legal systems, even what some might see as a legitimate task of the state cannot be adjudicated justly.  And it is into just such a situation that Bryan Stevenson has served in the deep American south, fighting unjust incarceration, and what are often poorly handled legal cases involving poor, usually black, often uneducated citizens who have been degraded and sometimes abused in U.S. prisons. His Equal Justice Initiative is an extraordinary organization, and those that have heard him speak — at gatherings such as Jubilee or Q or The Justice Conference — have long awaited this fuller telling of his heroic tale. Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is one of the most powerful, painful, informative and inspiring books that I have ever read. It has been worth the wait for Stevenson to find time (amidst a grueling schedule of life-and-death advocacy) to pen this must-read memoir.

In this volume, we come to learn the excruciating details of several key cases on which Stevenson worked.  We learn about the most egregious miscarriages of justice, the most brutalizing treatment of people in prison, and it is revealed how – in Alabama, particularly – bad laws and ugly practices have continued on with little reform or safeguards that have been instituted in most other states.  In some cases Alabama is one of the few places in the country where certain choices (like putting young teens in with adult prisoners, where rape and abuse is common) are still permitted. This book documents outrage after outrage, and you will be troubled. This is an expose that needs to be read; written in Stevenson’s first-person narrative, it is nothing short of riveting.

Some of the racial inequity regarding mass incarceration and extreme punishment has been documented in Michelle Alexander’s rightly famous The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in an Age of Colorblindness so it will come as no surprise to read her glowing endorsement: “Bryan Stevenson is one my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary.” 

Desmond Tutu says that Stevenson is “America’s young Nelson Mandela, a brilliant lawyer fighting with courage and conviction.” 

Southern Baptist bestseller, lawyer John Grisham says, “Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope.”

Throughout some of these stories, ironically, Stevenson is working — against compromised prosecutors, judges complicit in gross negligence and sometimes overt, disturbing racism — in the very town made popular by the filming of To Kill a Mockingbird. When Time magazine last month asked Mr. Stevenson about the obvious comparison with Atticus Finch, he was quick to note that Finch lost the famous fictional case. He realizes deep in his bones that lives of real people are at stake; he dare not resign himself to lose. He dare not rest in the popularity of his TED talks or NPR interviews.  He simply must win more of these cases, prevent children from prison abuse, staying the gruesome execution of the innocent, offering presence and hope to the families of criminals and victims alike.

You will be hooked on this stunning story within the first few pages, and by the end of the first dozen pages, you will be feeling things you may not have felt in a long while, on the edge of your seat, wanting to know how this young man from a poor village in rural Maryland, who attended a small Christian college in Philadelphia, who was so unsure of himself at Harvard Law School, ended up staring down crass injustice with little assistance and no money in the dangerous South. You will be reminded of the awful last chapter of Dubois’ Soul of Black Folk (“Of the Coming of John”) and you will know that intimidation and even the fear of lynching remains a reality for many of our fellow citizens here in America. Your heart will break when you watch as Bryan visits in very poor homes with family whose loved ones have been abused by the legal system, who say to him, “These people have broken our hearts.”

How can it be that “these people” remain supportive of intransigent, structural injustice, upheld by prosecutors, judges, prison officials (some who appear gruff and abusive, some who appear kind and ashamed of the outcomes of their work)? Why do not more cry out from within the legal system?  What can citizens do?  What might Christian lawyers and legal scholars do? This is the epic stuff of great literature, a grand story that will engage you, inspire you. As Rev. Tutu writes, “It is as gripping to read as any legal thriller, and what hangs in the balance is nothing less than the soul of a great nation.”

forgive us banner.jpg

I have given announcements and brief presentations about Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith by Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, Soong-Chan Rah (Zondervan) at probably half a dozen events this fall, and have tried to be an avid supporter of it. I know three of the four authors (and have met the other) and even helped a tiny bit with some copy editing of this book. I was sent an advanced manuscript so I could offer a blurb, which is included alongside authors, pastors, leaders from across the spectrum of churches and faith traditions. (My little claim to fame — ha!)  We think this book is educational, important, and the prayers and laments are, in fact, useful and healing.  Please consider how you might use this book.  We haven’t sold nearly as many as we would have wished — I’m aware that it looks at some hard stuff but it really is good to read; repentance can lead new joy and sturdy hope.  As I say in my review blurb, it will help you be a “son or daughter of Issachar” (see 2 Chronicles 12:32.) Don’t shy away, please.

Here is a review that I did of this that first appeared in Capitol Commentary from CPJ for whom I’ve been writing a monthly column, mostly on nurturing faithful citizenship.  I had this on facebook, too, so you may have seen it.

forgive us .jpgForgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith Mae Elise Cannon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Troy Jackson, Soong-Chan Rah (Zondervan) regular price $22.99 — our sale price $18.39

Perhaps you have seen that Facebook cartoon showing an indigenous First Nations person musing, “Speaking of bringing deadly diseases to our shores…” The cartoon intends to remind us, in the midst of the fear over the Ebola crisis, that white Europeans have wreaked havoc on local populations in the past, and that the horrific impact was only matched by the gross malfeasance. It is appalling to think about the intentional genocidal decimation of whole populations and the later abuses in North America such as the Trail of Tears, the sins of Kit Carson, the dubious treaties signed and broken, and the injustices of Native American schools and reservation policies.

Forgive Us: Confessions of a Compromised Faith documents such abuses in overwhelming detail that might be disturbing to the tenderhearted. For many readers of Capital Commentary, though, spending time with its four good authors exploring the history of some very heavy stuff will be a significant experience. This is an important book for our organization.

Forgive Us brings together four esteemed evangelical social justice activists and scholars (two who are trained as historians), each telling the sordid tale of a particular group’s abuse and how the Christian church has been complicit in it. The authors in turn teach us about how US churchgoers have hurt native peoples, people of color, women, the GLBTQ communities, immigrants, Jews and Muslims, and in one powerful chapter, the creation itself. These informative chapters bring together important facts about how the church has been harmful.  As a reader, you will most certainly exclaim more than once “Why haven’t we talked about this before? Why did I not know this?” Perhaps it will drive you to your knees.

The authors are convinced of the Biblical truth that confession and repentance precede outbreaks of gospel good news and that understanding and naming past cultural sins is an essential contemporary spiritual practice. From its earliest days, the Center for Public Justice has called for confession of social injustice, rejecting the hubris of civil-religious pride that would resist admitting to national sin. Learning more – for the first time, or as a refresher – about these complex and harmful past policies, whose implications reverberate in the present, will make us better neighbors, better citizens, and more sensitive to language, feelings, and experiences of others in the public square.  It may help us truly become more caring and just people, appropriately transformed by at least some of the burdens of history that have implicated us.

This feisty quartet of scholar-activists has given us a great and difficult gift. They are all loyal church leaders, desiring above all that Christ be glorified and that God’s message be heard afresh. Indeed, one of the motivations for this book has been their profound personal sadness that too often the watching world realizes (better than many in the church) that the history of Christianity in North America has included great shortcomings like these. This move towards confession will hopefully be noticed by those estranged from the dominant expressions of Christianity and could bear fruit among those who carry within them wounds and worries about the church’s integrity. It might help the public know whether Christian social and political movements such as CPJ care enough about them and their concerns. For these practical reasons, reading and discussing and living out the suggestions found in Forgive Us could be a very important activity.

One thing should be made clear: the Bible teaches, and these authors remind us, that although social sin hurts our neighbors, our land, our culture, and even ourselves, it is first an affront against a Holy God. In Christ alone, through faith alone, by God’s grace alone, we can be forgiven and restored. Confession is an essential step, a response to God’s Spirit working among us, bringing to clarity our sin against God and others. This book includes a litany of confession after each chapter, and these liturgical aids could be useful in one’s personal devotions, in small prayer groups or fellowship meetings, or in more formal worship services. These poetic prayers are reminders of the heart of this book: the profoundly religious call to repent. Naming and confessing our sins, seeking absolution and healing from God, and being open to new opportunities to rebuild trust before th
ose whom we have harmed could be, oddly, a great joy and blessing.  Read Forgive Us: Confessions of a Comprised Faith and thank the Holy One for grace and for these authors, scholars and prophets and pastors that they are, who serve us well by inviting us into this spiritual practice so necessary for a public faith worthy of the name Christian.

some of my best friends.jpgSome of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America Tanner Colby (Penguin) regular price, $16.00 — our sale price $12.80 

This is not about the Jim Crow years, the civil rights struggle or the brave movement of those who followed King’s activism.  Rather, it is what race relations were like in more recent years — with institutionalized racism prevalent and de facto segregation common in many place, but all the kids learning about the “I Have a Dream” speech in school.  We a just love the diversity vision, but how many are actually experiencing it?  It promised in the promo literature to be written with “boundless curiousity and a biting sense of humor.”  Since the author had written books on both John Belusi and Chris Farley, I expected it to be interesting and a bit funny.  It wasn’t really funny, but, still — what a book!

This just came out in paperback and it tells an amazing story of a white guy who realized that he had no black friends.  Raised in the white flight world of Alabama in the 70s, he realized he wanted to do something about his insular background. This book not only tells the general story of Colby learning about racial matters in the US, but describes in detail the situation of suburban Birmingham schools, his move to Kansas City and learning of the racist housing policies in that troubled town, the impact of “affirmative action” type protocols in the advertising world of Madison Avenue professionals, and the dramatic story of the efforts of a Catholic Church in a parish in Louisiana. This memoir really explores some unexpected aspects of our culture — both black and white. Many serious reviewers have commended this for being thoughtful and insightful.  

Timothy Nafuali says, 

In weaving together the personal narratives (including his own) of the Children of White Flight and the Children of the Dream, Tanner Colby has crafted a powerful piece of social commentary and contemporary history. Hugely readable, quirky, and incredibly smart, Some of My Best Friends Are Black present four unforgettable smaller stories to tell the big story of race in today’s America.

Here is a link to a list of books I put together after the exciting “Living in Color” conference at Genevaliving in color woodley.jpg College in 2013.  This really does include some of our classic, go-to resources, and a few other fun titles we threw in.  This is a good list, I think. Please, please, copy this, forward it, spread the word. And thanks to those good friends at Geneva and other Christian colleges who are working hard to bring evangelical and Reformed faith to bear on the issues of life, and to give voice to concerns of minority staff and students.

Here is a link to a BookNotes blog post I was proud of, a listing of some of the many books we havefree ellis.jpg and recommend on Martin Luther King, Jr. and the famous March on Washington and the history of the civil rights struggle. What lessons we can learn from those who were faithful in working for justice so many years ago.  I wrote this the week of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary, thinking it would be timely for our customers who wanted to read up on this extraordinary event in American history.  I was sad we didn’t sell any of these that week.

Here is a long column I did in the fall of 2011, a major review of Bloodlines: Race,bloodlines.jpg

Cross, and Christian published by Crossway.   This an important book by a conservative, passionate evangelical leader, Rev. John Piper (with a foreword by Timothy Keller.)  I not only ruminate on Piper’s grace-filled, gospel-centered, exceptionally rigorous Biblical orientation, and how that names racism as sin, but list 10  strengths of this intense book.

Here is a review I wrote a long time ago, sharing (in light of a few good books ofbeing white.jpg worldview studies) about a title called Being White: Finding Our Place in a Multi-ethnic World by Paula Harris & Doug Schaupp, and a very creatively written, deeply moving, feisty anthology about inter-racial friendships, Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships edited by Emily Bernard.  The formatting of my piece may be a bit odd, and I apologize — it is worth knowing about these books, though, so thanks for your patience with some errors in the fonts. Gotta figure out how to correct some of our old archived stuff.  We do still have these books, by the way.

As is sometimes my approach, I sometimes rattle off a handful of titles that are important, name-dropping for your sake so you know key authors, and books we esteem and stock.  In the middle of the review of the intense Calvinistic Baptist John Piper, I do this little rant:

Do you know the very insightful sociological study Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in themany colors.jpg Cafeteria and Other Conversations on Race (Basic Books) by Beverly Daniel Tatum? Or the heavy anti-racism classic recently updated and reissued by Joseph Barndt, Becoming the Anti-Racist Church: Journey Toward Wholeness (Fortress)?  I really hope you know the excellent recent title Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church by Soong-Chan Rah (Moody Press.) I really appreciate the neo-Calvinist worldviewish perspective of foreign language scholar David Smith who wrote Learning from the Stranger: Christian Faith and Cultural Diversity (Eerdmans) as it brings a somewhat scholarly, hospitable bit of research tocultural_intelligence_cover.jpg the conversation. Even more scholarly is the extraordinary and highlymore than equals.jpglearning from the stranger b-N.jpg reviewed (if dense) work The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race by Willie James Jennings of Duke that came out last year on Yale University Press. (Which just was announced — December 2014 — to have won the prestigious and generous Grawemeyer Award in Religion Prize offered by Louisville Theological Seminary.) More practically, I hope every church leader or youth worker, especially, has practical educational resources like Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ To Engage Our Multicultural Worldleading a healthy multi-ethnic church.jpg by David Livermore (Baker), or the practical books on increasing and navigating congregational diversity such as One New People by Manuelrace matters.jpg Ortiz (IVP.)  Do you know the progressive theologian and Episcopalian church diversity trainer, Eric Law? UCC conference minister Lorene Beth Bowers?  Or the books by Curtis DeYoung? Or Brenda Salter McNeil? Mark DeYmaz? Soong-Chan Rah? Howard Thurman? Shelby Steele? Cornel West? John Perkins, of course?  

There are so many good leaders working on this topic, so many fine books, and we have many.  Why not make a commitment to read something new in this field, find a group, get a partner, form a start a class.  Maybe make a donation of a few to your local church or library. Let’s get the word out about these helpful gifts of shalom. Let’s do the work. 

Read for the Kingdom!



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