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Race and Reconciliation: Books That Might Help Us Get There...
This Side of Heaven by
Publication Date: 2006-12-07
In recent years Christian scholars have become increasingly aware of their responsibility to recognize and respond to the challenges posed by ethnic and racial diversity. Similarly, historically white Christian colleges, universities, seminaries and congregations are struggling to transformthemselves into communities that are welcoming to minorities and sensitive to their needs. This collection of all-new essays is meant to enable those who are engaged in these initiatives to understand the historical linkage of race, ethnicity and Christianity and to explore the ways in whichconstructive change can be achieved.The volume is the product of a long-term study funded by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology. In the course of this study it emerged that many Christian institutions now offer courses on race and ethnicity, but that there is very little relevant literature written from thestandpoint of rigorous Christian scholarship. This book is intended to fill that gap. The authors address such questions as: What has been the history of Christian churches and leaders in relation to slavery, segregation, and apartheid? Which biblical texts and doctrines have historically beenemployed on behalf of racial projects, and which are relevant to the racial and ethnic crises of our day? How have religious leaders constructively engaged such crises? How do congregations shape the values, civic commitments, understandings and sensitivities of their membership? How can localcongregations be sites for racial reconciliation and justice initiatives? Are there positive models for how churches and other religious institutions have helped to bring healing to racial and ethnic tensions and divides? How might Christians in the professions work to bring justice to business,education, government, and other areas of society? When good intentions fail to accomplish desired ends, how do we analyze what went wrong? Written by an interracial and interethnic team of scholars representing diverse disciplines, this book will meet a pressing need and set a new standard for thediscussion of race and ethnicity in the Christian context.
Exclusion and Embrace by
Publication Date: 1996
Otherness, the simple fact of being different in some way, has come to be defined as in and of itself evil. Miroslav Volf contends that if the healing word of the gospel is to be heard today, Christian theology must find ways of speaking that address the hatred of the other. Reaching back to the New Testament metaphor of salvation as reconciliation, Volf proposes the idea of embrace as a theological response to the problem of exclusion. Increasingly we see that exclusion has become the primary sin, skewing our perceptions of reality and causing us to react out of fear and anger to all those who are not within our (ever-narrowing) circle. In light of this, Christians must learn that salvation comes, not only as we are reconciled to God, and not only as we "learn to live with one another," but as we take the dangerous and costly step of opening ourselves to the other, of enfolding him or her in the same embrace with which we have been enfolded by God. Is there any hope of embracing our enemies? Of opening the door to reconciliation? Exclusion happens, Volf argues, wherever impenetrable barriers are set up that prevent a creative encounter with the other. It is easy to assume that "exclusion" is the problem or practice of "barbarians" who live "over there," but Volf persuades us that exclusion is all too often our practice "here" as well.
People of the Dream by
Publication Date: 2008-03-16
Even as workplaces and public institutions such as the military have become racially integrated, racial separation in Christian religious congregations is the norm. And yet some congregations remain stubbornly, racially mixed. People of the Dream is the most complete study of this phenomenon ever undertaken. Author Michael Emerson explores such questions as: how do racially mixed congregations come together? How are they sustained? Who attends them, how did they get there, and what are their experiences? Engagingly written, the book enters the worlds of these congregations through national surveys and in-depth studies of those attending racially mixed churches. Data for the book was collected over seven years by the author and his research team. It includes more than 2,500 telephone interviews, hundreds of written surveys, and extensive visits to mixed-race congregations throughout the United States. People of the Dream argues that multiracial congregations are bridge organizations that gather and facilitate cross-racial friendships, disproportionately housing people who have substantially more racially diverse social networks than do other Americans. The book concludes that multiracial congregations and the people in them may be harbingers of racial change to come in the United States.