This short list includes resources primarily by Christian authors who can help us understand the issues of racial injustice and also renew our hope in the role of the Church to bring healing. Like me, you may hear or read some things that provoke questions or disagreement. Of course, discernment and honest dialogue is essential. But if you’re in a close relationship, and your friend or a spouse feels deeply hurt by something you’ve done or not done, you know the first step in healing the relationship—you listen and try to understand. At this point, defensiveness and argumentation won’t help heal the broken relationship. You start with with deep, tender-hearted listening. That is the only path to healing.
The Apostle Paul urged the Church to “have the same care for one another.” And then he added, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Cor. 12:25-26). For decades (or even centuries) our Black brothers and sisters in Christ have been trying to tell us that they have often been suffering in ways that most white Christians in America cannot imagine. They have fears for their sons and daughters that we cannot imagine. This is a time for us to hear our brothers and sisters across the racial divide. Let’s commit to a season of humble listening and learning.
Watch for updates and additions to this list as we gather more resources. Let us know your thoughts about these resources as you continue your own listening process.
with Fr. Matt Woodley and Pastor Michael Wright
This article is an edited transcript of an honest, unscripted conversation between Fr. Matt and Pastor Michael talking about their different upbringings, race in America, and the need for revival in the Church.
by Timothy Keller
The first two articles in a three-part series by the brilliant pastor and theologian, Tim Keller. The first article provides a brief overview of what the Bible teaches about race and racial relations. The second article explores four reasons why racism is a sin, whether racism is corporate or merely individual, and why and how we may need to repent from racism.
by Rev. Dr. Irwyn Ince
A moving testimony and plea of a pastor and author from the D.C. The testimony includes his journey from hating the Church and Christianity for it’s complicity with racism to fully embracing Jesus and His Church as the true hope for racial reconciliation.
by Dr. Carl F. Ellis, Jr.
Dr. Ellis, a well-respected theologian, seminary professor and activist, calmly defines and distinguishes between two often conflated and confusing phrases–black lives matter (a biblically-rooted truth that “encompasses the healthy concern for matters that touch Black lives”) and Black Lives Matter (an ideology and an entity that often holds presuppositions regarding human flourishing that are at odds with biblical truth).
by Fr. Dr. Esau McCauley
Why do our Black neighbors seem so angry? Can’t they just move on from past offenses. Fr. McCauley, an ACNA priest and professor at Wheaton College, roots the current expression of “black anger” in a biblical framework of human trauma, the cry of the oppressed, and hope in Christ’s resurrection.
Pastor Keesha Mwangangi of Jubilee Church and Pastor Paco Amador of Nueva Vida are interviewed by Fr. Jonathan Kindberg (from our diocese) in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago. They discuss race, repentance, and our present kairos moment.
The creator of VeggieTale narrates a succinct (17 minutes) and fast-paced 100-year history of race in the United States, explaining the systemic nature of anti-Black racism and why it is still an issue in 2020.
This podcast episode focuses on the recent history of housing segregation in the U.S. and the disparities it created between predominantly white and Black neighborhoods. Housing segregation represents just one way that many of our brothers and sisters in Christ have experienced discrimination in the last fifty years.
Rev. Charlie Dates, a pastor in Chicago, preached this sermon on Pentecost Sunday. Dates exemplifies the beauty of traditional African American preaching; he’s poetic, passionate, and deeply biblical. At a few points in the sermon Dates moves into political critique, so keep in mind the goal of this resource list.
At Christianity Today’s Monday Morning Preaching podcast Fr. Matt interviewed two Black church leaders–Lawrence Aker from Brooklyn, New York and George Hurtt from Los Angeles–about how they and their churches are processing issues of racial justice.
Pastor Keith Bell calls us the Church to repent worldly cultural values, purposes and sytems, and to exercise our true authority in Christ over those systems, principalities, and powers. It begins with prayer and intercession in the heavenlies, and moves to powerful prophetic words and deeds on earth, through faith in Him who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine. May it be so! Come Lord Jesus!
By John M. Perkins
A tried and tested voice in the church and civil rights, John M. Perkins gives some of his final thoughts on how the church can mobilize for racial reconciliation in our communities and country.
By John M. Perkins
This is Perkins’ earlier book, a tender and redemptive memoir based on his personal experiences moving from racial injustice, to deep faith in Christ, to forgiveness, to building a movement based on gospel-centered racial reconciliation.
By Michael O. Emerson and Christian Smith
Written by two Christian sociologists, Divided By Faith discusses the history of race relations in the United States, from slavery to the present day, and offer reasons for why the church’s best attempts at justice and reconciliation have often fallen short.
By Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy follows attorney Bryan Stevenson in his work to save the lives of African Americans falsely convicted or cruelly punished. The memoir shines a moving spotlight on the racial and economic inequities of the U.S. justice system.
(There is also a film version of this book available on Amazon Prime or Netflix.)
(available August 4th)
By Irwin L. Ince Jr.
Rev. Dr. Irwyn L. Ince draws from the theology of our Triune God to propose why the Church can be beautifully diverse and unified at the same time. Ince offers insight into reasons for division in the Church and tools to help the Church become more diversely unified. (Foreword by Timothy Keller).
Contact Fr. Matt Woodley, Mission Pastor