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Race in America: Christians Respond to the Crisis

David Maxwell and Laura M. Cheifetz, editors
WJK Press, 172 pages

At a flashpoint in the United States, during the great uprising of 2020, some quipped “white people read books.” It was not meant kindly. How ironic then that many of the most courageous leaders, people of color, have contributed to this book that, one hopes, will be read by many white people. For Presbyterians, reading books belongs in our tradition, even if dismantling white supremacy has not. The authors certainly hope that the latter will be a consequence of the former.

Many white congregations and pastors are looking for books that will help them engage the conversation about Christianity, racism and white supremacy. More than conversation, the authors intend Christians to act against the deeper structures that sustain the racism that is obvious to anyone with eyes to see. The problem, as the authors point out, is the eyes to see and the ears to hear. One is blind, the other stopped.

So go ahead, do what white people do, read this book. Read it with your community of faith. Read it to be disturbed. Holy disturbance. Read it to be uncomfortable. Holy discomfort. Read it with your elders and deacons to discern what God is calling you to do to confront the sin of racism with faith and courage. Otis Moss III said this in his foreword: “Racism is not expunged by the elimination of Blackness. … It is eradicated by Christians only when we reject these myths and come to grips with the beauty of Africanness and dare to live out a new Christianity that is not beholden to European views.” (In the next edition, please change the title to Race in the United States. America is much larger than one nation.)

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