FPC Campus Closure | Tuesday, Sept. 14

Due to inclement weather and the risk of hazardous road conditions, the FPC campus will close today at 5 PM and remain closed all day tomorrow (Tuesday, Sept. 14).


Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation,
Latasha Morrison

Guiding Thoughts from an FPC Shepherding Elder: 
The book is about the author's experience as a Black woman in the United States. Morrison weaves in important aspects of Black history and Biblical perspectives. Be the Bridge encourages reconciliation among individuals and groups; the end of each chapter has small group questions and prayers.

Who would benefit from reading this book? What key questions does it seek to address? 
The book encourages people to ask for forgiveness for racist acts or words by them, their families, or institutions, and then to seek reconciliation (thus, "Be the Bridge").  It outlines Biblical principles and practices for doing this. Morrison’s personal stories and the historical events she recounts are powerful—note that some are violent. Those vignettes might be enlightening to readers who have not heard of these types of historical events, or who have not come to know what it's like to be Black in the United States. People looking for a path towards Biblical reconciliation would also benefit from this book.

Keep in Mind: While there might be discomfort or disagreement on topics like reparations, the book overall strikes a good balance between being challenging but not off-putting.

Expect to Learn: more about how Black people have been mistreated throughout U.S. history—and ways for both victimizers and the victims of racism to overcome it through reliance on Scripture.

Oneness Embraced: Reconciliation, the Kingdom, and How We Are Stronger Together
, Tony Evans

Guiding Thoughts from an FPC Shepherding Elder: 
Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship church in Dallas, addresses church, kingdom oneness, and race reconciliation from a biblical perspective. Using personal experience, extensive study, and a biblical perspective, Evans provides information and motivation throughout the three parts of his book: 

1. Biblical Look at Oneness 
2. Historical View of the Black Church 
3. Kingdom Vision for Societal Impact

Who would benefit from reading this book? What key questions does it seek to address? 
Those looking for understanding about “oneness,” cultural influences, and biblical justice would benefit from reading this book.  It addresses questions such as: What is the role of personal responsibility? Does unity mean uniformity? What is a Kingdom vision?

Keep in Mind: Evans writes from the perspective of a theologian who has “straddled Black, urban culture and white, mainstream evangelicalism.” Readers would do well to remember the diversity of perspectives that exist not only between both of these groups, but also within them, even as they benefit from the unique perspective Evans offers.

Expect to Learn: about biblical reconciliation and the history of the Black Church through the eyes of a prominent Black pastor.

A memorable quote: “The purpose of a bridge is to take you somewhere that you would not have otherwise been able to go.”  This book may be one such a bridge for its readers.

Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey, Sarah Shin

Guiding Thoughts from an FPC Covenant partner: 
Sarah Shin is an Asian-American Christian woman with a purpose and a passion. Her purpose is evangelism in the truest sense: to share the good news of Jesus and His life-redeeming sacrifice on the cross with the world at large. Her passion is to establish a framework of ethnic awareness and appreciation from which to launch her evangelistic message.

Who would benefit from reading this book? What key questions does it seek to address? 
Those who have been taught to think that the best way to overcome racism and prejudice is to be “colorblind” might find this an eye-opening read; it might also provide helpful language for those seeking to compassionately and constructively dialogue with those from a “colorblind” school of thought about why this is often hurtful. This book is a must-read for anyone who does not consider themselves to have an ethnic heritage of their own.

Shin explains why ethnicity is a more helpful framework than race, and advocates for becoming “‘ethnicity aware’ in order to address the beauty and the brokenness in our ethnic stories and the stories of others and seeks to address the difference Jesus makes on this journey (10).” The author also offers a positive Kingdom vision of ethnicity from God’s perspective. 

Each chapter concludes with a set of discussion questions that could be done on an individual basis, with a small group, or even in a classroom. The website http://www.beyondcolorblind.com includes additional reference resources for each chapter as well as links to videos that would aid in discussions.

Words of Caution: Though this might be expected in a book about ethnicity, the author seemingly views everything through the ethnic/cultural lens. The reader would do well to remember to leave room for personality and character variations within the same ethnic groups, as the author did not always emphasize this enough.

Expect to Learn: “The first half of this book focuses on learning your ethnic story and inviting Jesus into that space so that you can proclaim the kingdom of God. The second half focuses on how to share that story and how to steward your ethnic identity in multiracial, multiethnic spaces” (22). Shin’s call is for every individual to learn, understand and embrace their ethnicity and cultural heritage. She firmly views this process as a prerequisite to authentic cross-cultural relationships, effective evangelism, and harmonious life together. 

A memorable quote: “Regional cultures affect our expressions of our ethnic heritage cultures...These cultures highlight and express different values, and we express our individual personalities in these cultures. How can we communicate across such values? More importantly, how do we invite a multi-ethnic group of people to the table where Jesus is the host? (p123).”

The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby, 2019

Guiding Thoughts from an FPC Shepherding Elder: 
Jemar Tisby, MDiv, Reformed Theological Seminary and PhD candidate in history at the University of Mississippi, provides a historical survey of the role of the church in response to the injustice of racism. He paints a sobering picture of the church in America consistently failing to move boldly forward—first, as slavery was entrenched and later abolished, and then even as racism was recognized and affirmed as wrong. This choice of comfort with existing norms and only gradual change has tended to perpetuate injustice. He proposes several possible avenues of action for local churches to engage in courageous, constructive conflict in pursuit of a redemptive version of social justice.

Who would benefit from reading this book? What key questions does it seek to address? White Christians seeking to be honest about the church’s failings and looking for constructive ways for the church to take a greater role in addressing racism in the church and in America.

Keep in Mind: Tisby’s seemingly uncritical acceptance of false narratives about recent events such as Charlottesville and Ferguson, and movements such as Black Lives Matter, must be carefully parsed by the discerning reader. Wise leaders must discern which of his prescriptions for action are worthwhile and which are misguided. For example, his discussion on reparations by government fiat is largely a non-starter for many. On the other hand, he does rightly point out opportunities for evangelical churches to be bolder against racism, especially within their walls and in partnership with black and mixed-race congregations. His discussion of ecclesiastical reparations suggests churches and groups of churches divert investment from their own budgets and into partnerships with black churches, pastors, and parachurch organizations serving in that community.

Expect to Learn: that there is strong evidence that the white evangelical Christian church in America has been guilty of being too cozy with the status quo in racism as it has in other controversial areas of culture. This is clear from Tisby’s survey.

Justice Too Long Delayed - Christianity Today, Timothy Dalrymple

Guiding Thoughts from an FPC Shepherding Elder: 
"Justice Too Long Delayed" is an editorial by the President and CEO of Christianity Today, advocating for the church to make restitution for racial sin. Dalrymple quickly overviews the history of slavery in American and its enduring consequences. He then discusses the Church's role in slavery and argues that though the current Church did not invent slavery or racial injustice, we have benefited from it. He then discusses ways the church might respond, including an example of what some churches are doing.

Who would benefit from reading this article? What key questions does it seek to address? This is a short, well-written article that would benefit anyone who is wondering about the Church's role in racial injustice and how the Church might respond.

Keep in Mind: The idea of corporate restitution and ongoing responsibility for racial injustice might be a non-starter for some readers, but again, this is a short read and strongly recommended—even for those with strong opinions on either end of the spectrum about this topic. It would be a good way to understand the approach some churches are taking toward reconciliation.

Expect to Learn: Some readers may learn about the types of racial injustices that persisted after slavery. For others, the main learning might relate to the rationale for restitution, and how that might happen at the individual church level.

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