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A Christian Reading List & Recommendations on Race, Justice and Multiculturalism
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A Christian Reading List & Recommendations
on Race, Justice and Multiculturalism

Compiled by college-age believers.

This is not the beginning nor the end by any means of our duty to be active in testifying to the love and salvation we have experienced from our Savior Jesus Christ. As we engage in educating ourselves on social justice, let’s accompany that education with words that speak to our eternal mission. This list was put together primarily by young, college-age believers with input from family members and other peers in seeking books that illuminate how to pursue the justice that goes beyond this world and is rooted in the redemptive power of Christ’s love. These recommendations strive to cover a wide range of topics but definitely do not cover all the resources that are available. These are meant to serve as a starting point and accompaniment to our daily lives and reading the Bible, alongside other crucial reading lists that are circulating on the Internet!

In The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, Timothy J. Keller writes:

Karl Marx and others have charged that religion is “the opiate of the masses.” That is, it is a sedative that makes people passive toward injustice, because there will be “pie in the sky bye and bye.” That may be true of some religions that teach people that this material world is unimportant or illusory. Christianity, however, teaches that God hates the suffering and oppression of this material world so much, he was willing to get involved in it and to fight against it. Properly understood, Christianity is by no means the opiate of the people. It’s more like the smelling salts.

“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

Jude 1:21-23 (ESV)

For further questions or suggestions on this list or to formally request that a book be removed from this list, please contact Karis Ryu at karis_ryu@brown.edu.

We encourage you to begin by reading Christians: Where Are You? (2020), an exhortation from a college student of Cornerstone calling upon Christians to use their voice and take action.

Thank you, and God bless!


Each book below is listed as follows:

Title with Link (Author, Year of Publication) - brief description of book.

For example:

The Color of Compromise (Jemar Tisby, 2019) - on the racial divide in America and Christian complicity in white supremacy.

____

The Color of Compromise (Jemar Tisby, 2019) - on the racial divide in America and Christian complicity in white supremacy.

White Jesus: The Architecture of Racism in Religion and Education (Alexander Jun, Allison N. Ash, Christopher S. Collins, Tabatha L. Jones Jolivet, 2018) - naming the lies, reclaiming the person of Jesus, and reasserting a vision of power that locates Jesus of the Gospels in solidarity with the easily disposed.

Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism (Drew Hart, 2016) - high-profile killings of young black men and women by white police officers, and the protests and violence that ensued, have convinced many white Christians to reexamine their intuitions when it comes to race and justice.

What’s So Amazing About Grace? (Philip Yancey, 1997) - on the difference between pursuing Christian grace and simply exterminating immorality, the latter being an unfortunately common approach in churches.

Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics (Eugene Cho, 2020) - a call for action and reminder of the fact that hope arrived—not in a politician, system, or great nation—but in the person of Jesus Christ.

Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice (Eric Mason, 2018) - Dr. Eric Mason calls the evangelical church to a much-needed reckoning in a call for awareness, redemption, and action that echoes the urgency and passion of the Old Testament prophets and other prophetic voices.

Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just (Tim Keller, 2010) - In Generous Justice, Keller explores a life of justice empowered by an experience of grace: a generous, gracious justice.

Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America (Michael O. Emerson, Christian Smith, 2000) - Emerson and Smith set out to research, understand, and probe the grassroots of white evangelical America. Combining data analysis and interviews, they throw sharp light at the oldest sin and dilemma in America.

Christianity and the Social Crisis (Walter Rauschenbusch, 1907, FREE PDF & AUDIOBOOK) - seminal piece on the social responsibility of American Protestants, probing at how personal piety blinded Christians to the needs of others.

Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study in Ethics and Politics (Reinhold Niebuhr, 1932, FREE PDF) - written in a single summer by an American Protestant theologian, Niebuhr writes that people are more likely to sin as members of a group than as individuals. The book has political leanings, but it has an important message of calling upon Christians to give up their pride and egoism to achieve good in their time.

Ethics of Liberation: In the Age of Globalization and Exclusion (Enrique Dussel, 1998) - Argentinean-born philosopher and theologian Enrique Dussel has a rich discussion on ethics, proposing that if ethics are universal, they demand the political to be ethical and the ethical to be political.

Decolonizing Epistemologies: Latina/o Theology and Philosophy (Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, Eduardo Mendieta, 2011) - using liberation theory and postcolonial theory, this is the work of three generations of Latinx theologians who refuse to be rendered invisible by the dominant discourse and articulate a new point of departure for self-understanding.

A Critical Introduction to Religion in the Americas: Bridging the Liberation Theology and Religious Studies Divide (Michelle A. Gonzalez, 2014) - by drawing on a combination of historical and ethnographic sources, this volume provides a basic introduction to the study of religion and theology in the Latinx, Black, and Latin American contexts, and then shows how theology can be reframed to better speak to the concerns of both religious studies and the real people the theologians' work is meant to represent.

More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States (Imani Perry, 2011) - details how post-intentional racism works and maintains that it cannot be addressed solely through the kinds of structural solutions of the Left or the values arguments of the Right. Perry identifies an entirely different space of “righteous hope” that may help articulate a notion of ethics and human agency.

The Cross and the Lynching Tree (James Cone, 2011, $3.90 EBOOK) - Cone’s landmark in conversation on race and religion is, in his own words, “my prayer, my invocation to God on behalf of black people in the hope that their nearly 400 years of suffering will be redemptive for their children and grandchildren, revealing to them the beauty in their tragic past… I think Black Lives Matter is a partial realization of that hope.”

Black Prophetic Fire (Cornel West, 2014) - African-American philosopher Cornel West writes on six great African-American prophetic leaders: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Ella Baker, Malcom X and Ida B. Wells, and a look into true leadership, sacrifice, and courage.

Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times (Soong Chan Rah, 2015) - a biblical and theological lens for examining the church’s relationship with a suffering world. It critiques our success-centered triumphalism and calls us to repent of our hubris.

The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (Soong Chan Rah, 2009) - calls the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic.

At Home in Exile: Finding Jesus Among My Ancestors and Refugee Neighbors (Russell Jeung, 2016) - a spiritual memoir from Dr. Jeung’s life in East Oakland’s Murder Dubs neighborhood. Explores topics such as refugees and exiles, mass displacement and poverty, racism and persistent inequality.

Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We are Stronger Together (Tony Evans, 2015) - As a young theologian [Evans] straddled black, urban culture and white, mainline evangelicalism...a biblical and pastoral guide for striving for unity across racial and socioeconomic divides.

Marginality: The Key to Multicultural Theology (Jung Young Lee, 1995) - a reevaluation of theology from the perspective of marginality, or the experiences of non-dominant groups, at the heart of Christianity, with Jesus Christ as the paradigm of marginality.

God’s Long Summer: Stories of Faith and Civil Rights (Charles Marsh, 2008) - focuses on the events and religious convictions of five very different historical figures in 1964 Mississippi; each of them believes, or comes to believe, that their particular viewpoint on racial relations is condoned and supported by God.

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion (Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, 2018) - on the subversiveness of the gospel sustained the church through centuries of slavery and oppression, from the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond, and how the gospel can be reconstructed for freedom and justice for all.

All are Welcome: Toward a Multi-Everything Church (Eric Washington, Irwyn Ince, and Jemar Tisby, 2018) - provides ideas and answers for how to create a much more welcoming environment for all people in our local congregations. Each editor is an underrepresented voice in the Western church: an ethnic minority.

His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God (Kristie Anyabilwe, 2019) - a collection of devotions by African-American, Hispanic, Caribbean, and Asian women on Psalm 119.

Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture (Jackie Hill Perry) - a 7-session group Bible study plan for women and teenage girls, diving into themes of being called, loved, and kept, and learning how to point others to Jesus in grace and truth.

Mother to Son: Letters to a Black Boy on Identity and Hope (Jasmine L. Holmes, 2020) - In Mother to Son, Jasmine Holmes shares a series of powerful letters to her young son. These are about her journey as an African American Christian and what she wants her son to know as he grows and approaches the world as a black man.

Heal Us, Emmanuel: A Call for Racial Reconciliation, Representation, and Unity in the Church (Doug Serven, 2016) - The thirty church leaders who contributed to Heal Us, Emmanuel desire racial reconciliation, representation, and supernatural unity in all the churches of Christ.

The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church at Its Best (Irwyn L. Ince Jr., 2020) - Pastor and theologian Irwyn L. Ince Jr. roots the gospel imperative to pursue unity in diversity in the study of our triune God.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (Bryan Stevenson, 2015) - Now a motion picture, the case of Walter McMillian, a young black man sentenced to death for a murder he didn’t commit, transformed lawyer Bryan Stevenson’s understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores (Dominique DuBois Gilliard, 2018) - an examination of Christianity’s role in the foundation, evolution, and expansion of mass incarceration, and a call to action for Christians and the church to pursue justice that transforms our criminal justice system.

Asian American Christian Collaborative Anti-Racism Resources - includes articles, books, websites, podcasts, and videos, specifically on anti-Asian racism and justice.

Christians and Racial Justice (Sojourner magazine, 1991-2003, FREE) - a discussion guide on how to live out God’s call for justice in our world, specifically related to “America’s original sin: racism.”

The National Council of Churches Anti-Racism Resources - the A.C.T. Now to End Racism initiative of the National Council of Churches urges the NCC, its members and partners to Awaken to the many manifestations of white supremacy and racism especially in the church, to Confront the need for change, and to work to Transform church and society into a reflection of the inclusive and equitable reign of God.