Here are several books you should consider reading… right now!
- Divided by Faith by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith
As a middle-class white male it is easy for me to look at the black-white racial issues in our country and think that the black community has a perception problem rather than a legitimate concern when it comes to racial injustice. While much of white America views racial inequality as the result of a lack of motivation and vision within the black community, America’s broken system is actually tilted against the black community. If you are one of the many who believe the system isn’t really broken and that the majority of blacks continue to live in poverty due to a lack of determination, then you need to read Divided by Faith by Michael Emerson and Christian Smith. I echo Mark Dever’s sentiments in his review of this book: “This won’t be the most exciting book you read this year, but it may have the most exciting results in your life.”
Divided by Faith is a bit academic and scholarly at times; so if that’s not your thing, check out one of these other books that shine a light on the ethnic and cultural divisions that we face as a nation:
United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia J. Newbell
This book is an easy read, as Trillia Newbell tells her story which involves being on the receiving end of reverse racism, living as a minority in a predominately white church, and having her eyes opened to God’s plan for unity through diversity.
Bloodlines by John Piper
Observing the issues of ethnic and cultural prejudice from a fair and balanced perspective, John Piper’s book makes the case for a shared bloodline that runs back to Adam, and for a Savior who unites nations and people groups for His glory.
To sum things up: If you want a book that observes the landscape of black-white relations, both present and historic, Divided by Faith is the book for you. If you desire a more personal story about God’s grace in the midst of ethnic and cultural diversity, read United. And if you’re looking for a Gospel-centric solution to the racial divide in our country try Bloodlines.
- No Little Women by Aimee Byrd
On a regular basis I listen to the Mortification of Spin podcast, which features Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd. On a recent episode, the hosts were discussing Aimee Byrd’s new book titled No Little Women. It sounded intriguing so I ordered a copy. My expectations for this book were mild; however, once I read No Little Women, I realized this book is a game-changer. Aimee Byrd addresses an important issue in this book that is often overlooked in the church: Bad theology that sneaks into well-intentioned women’s ministries.
No Little Women is written for both men and women, pastors and lay persons, and communicates the importance of cultivating strong, theologically-mature women for the good of the church. Sadly, too often men either: a) See women as a disease to be avoided in the church and keep them at an arm’s length, or b) Get too cozy with women who are not their wives and only see females as an object of lustful desire. However, women are a gift from God to the local church; not just to create a strong women’s ministry, but for the cultivation of a God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, Spirit-filled church. You don’t want to miss Aimee Byrd’s No Little Women.
- Risky Gospel by Dr. Owen Strachan
Before the big game, a coach will stand before his players and give a speech that motivates the team and lays out the game plan to help them overcome the opposing team. Dr. Owen Strachan’s Risky Gospel, in similar fashion, is both motivating and practical for overcoming a life immobilized by fear or indecision. Dr. Strachan lays out a biblical game plan to enjoy the full life that comes from knowing Christ. This book motivates, but not in a go-all-out-and-get-burned-out-in-the-Christian-life sort of way, but in a way that encourages living a life that endures to the end, that faces adversity, and that makes it through the struggles, because God has made us alive in Christ.
“Coach” Strachan encourages the Christian to stop worrying about falling into a sea of failure and instead to make decisions (costly ones at that), to take risks, to weigh the cost, and to live a life of purpose rather than fall into a pit of despondency. For some, this might mean traveling across the globe as a foreign missionary, but for many it will mean enjoying the newness of life in our “normal”, day-to-day activities. This book is a great testimony to the full life that Jesus promises; not the easy and financially prosperous life, but the abundant life. Give Dr. Strachan’s Risky Gospel a try; it’s definitely worth the risk!