Hey everyone! I know that race is a very sensitive, politicized, and uncomfortable topic. My goal with this post is to provide a list of stories, books, articles, websites, organizations, and music that advocate for reconciliation in the church and world with perspectives that are rich with the Biblical principles of truth, love, repentance, grace, mercy, and hope.
Movie: Just Mercy
Who’s it for? Everyone.
What is it about? This movie is an adaptation of the book Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer who has spent much of his life fighting the unjust sentencing of impoverished people.
Why is it helpful? When you love someone, you want to know their story. There are so many people crying out in protest around the world, and this story attempts to explain why. Just Mercy is an honest and hopeful story about love and mercy triumphing over hate.
Who is it for? Evangelical Christians
What is it about? John M. Perkins is a cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) and a leading evangelical voice coming out of the Civil Rights movement. This book is a summation of his vision for the church: an ethnically diverse body of believers reconciled to each other who seek to reconcile the world to God.
Why is it helpful? Perkins is incredibly generous with his vulnerability, and he’s also very understanding of those who might disagree with him. Nevertheless, Perkins offers robost Biblical truth and challenge to the status quo. He shares a beautiful vision of a church body that laments and confesses its sin while striving to be reconciled to each other and to reconcile lost souls to God.
Discussion: Holy Post – Race in America
Who is it for? Anyone
What is it about? Phil Vischer explains why people are mad about racism in 2020. He does so with a short and simple video essay on the history of racism, bias, and policy in America.
Why is it helpful? Vischer uses one of my favorite media formats, the video essay. He fills in a lot historical gaps by looking at statistics and thoroughly answers some of the big-picture questions.
Who’s it for? Evangelical Christians
What is it about? A large statistical survey & analysis of the cultural values of Evangelical Christians and the unrecognized barriers to Christian unity.
Why is it helpful? This book highlights and explains the common thought patterns, assumptions, and behaviors that create barriers to healing and racial reconciliation in Evangelical churches.
Discussion: Grace, Justice, and Mercy: An Evening with Bryan Stevenson & Tim Keller (pt. 1) + Q&A (pt. 2)
Who’s it for? Anyone
What is it about? Tim Keller prefaces the evening with a short sermon on how the Bible speaks about the issue of injustice. Bryan Stevenson (author of Just Mercy) follows Tim’s sermon with the principles and stories from his life that give him the passion and hope to defend and love the clients he serves. Followed by a Q&A with both men.
Why is it helpful? Tim Keller and Bryan Stevenson are two incredibly gifted leaders and speakers and it’s inspiring and helpful to see them share a platform in order to advocate for true healing and reconciliation.
Who’s It For? PCA members, RUF staff, & RUF students
What is it about? Stories and essays from various PCA ministers and some RUF staff about the PCA’s history and current struggles with race.
Why is it helpful? The PCA is actively pursuing reconciliation and unity with our brothers and sisters who we have hurt in the past. This book is a helpful tool in pursuing true healing, understanding, reconciliation, and unity in Christ.
Who’s it for? Everyone
What’s it about? Bryan Stevenson (from Just Mercy) explains the significance of historical narratives and how they either help or impede reconciliation and healing.
Why is it helpful? If you’re confused or upset about the removal of confederate monuments or flags, this is a compelling (and short) introduction to the topic.
Article: Moving Forward by Russ Whitfield
Who’s it for? Evangelical Christians
What’s it about? Russ Whitfield is a pastor of a multi-cultural church called Grace Mosaic Church in Washington, D.C. and the director of Cross-Cultural Advancement for RUF. This article is taken from the book Heal Us Emmanuel (listed above).
Why is it helpful? Russ is a wonderful speaker and Christian leader. This article is both honest and humble about the problem of race in America and what moving towards reconciliation could look like.
Article: Reflections from a Christian scholar on Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, Marxism, and Biblical Ethics by Kelly Hamren
Who’s it for? Evangelical Chrisitans
What it about? How critical race theory, marxism, social justice, white privilege, and the Bible interact with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Why is it helpful? I hear a lot of Christians dismissing/criticizing Black Lives Matter or fellow Christian activists on the grounds of “Marxism,” “Critical Race Theory,” or the notion that white privilege is a myth. Hamren responds to these concerns with some helpful nuance and information to challenge those criticisms without buying into marxism or CRT.
Article:Racism and Corporate Evil: A White Guy’s Perspective (Tim Keller) and Structural Racism: The Child of Structural Pride (John Piper)
Who’s it for? Anyone who considers systemic racism an unbiblical concept.
What is it about? The concept of corporate evil/systemic evil from a Biblical worldview.
Why is it helpful? In America, we tend to view the world through an individualistic framework, which primarily sees the world through the lens of individual actions and consequences. This can make the concept of systemic or corporate evil hard to understand or even believe in. Both Tim Keller and John Piper make the case that the Bible recognizes both individual responsibility and a corporate/systemic manifestation of evil.
Website: The Gospel Coalition & race
Who is it for? Evangelical Christians.
What is it about? Christian writers, theologians, pastors, and artists from various different ethnicities who all share a strong Biblical theology and address a wide range of topics relating to race.
Why is it helpful? The Gospel Coalition has a lot of great resources for a Biblical perspective on a variety of different topics. They’ve been addressing the topic of race in the Bible and church for years and invite a lot of different voices to the table.
Birmingham Ministry Opportunity: Aspire Movement
Who is it for? Christians 18 or older who have either time or money to help mentor at-risk kids in Birmingham, AL.
What is it about? Aspire is a ministry in Birmingham that walks with young people by developing on-going, one-to-one relationships. Mentors serve as role models, advocates, advisors, and friends to their students. Mentors must be good listeners and respectful of differences.
Why is it helpful? Aspire not only gives the student a chance to learn valuable skills and life lessons, but it also gives mentors a chance to learn about the experience of their students: their family, their community, and their story. It’s an opportunity to develop a mutual exchange of love, respect, and understanding for your neighbor.
Playlist: Heal Us Emmanuel
Who is it for? Anyone
What is it about? Some beautiful, inspiring, and challenging music about reconciliation.
Why is it helpful? Jon Foreman has been advocating for justice, mercy, and reconciliation in his music for a long time. Jon’s music and biblical lyrics are honest, rousing, and hopeful, and it has challenged me to think deeply about racial tension and encouraged me to love God and my neighbor. So I put together some of his songs along with a lot of different artists sharing the same sentiment including Josh Garrels, Michael Kiwanuka, Ruth B., Colony House, Lecrae, and Common House.