4 books finished in 2016: Divided By Faith

4 books finished in 2016

is very complicated
we can do better

You may have noticed this already, but I have a difficult time talking about serious books in blog posts. I can’t figure out how to capture them well in a short summary, and have no interest in writing something lengthy. (Perhaps because other people have already done it more thoroughly.)

Things I really appreciated:
-An overview of the history of slavery and race problems, with the sobering truth about how frequently Christians were responding to cultural norms or powerful forces in their “theology” of slavery/race.
-Being reminded that white northerners were/are just as prejudiced as white southerners. (Being from Ohio, I tend to think I’m “better than all that,” so this was a good reality check.)
-Sociological explanations for why white evangelicals, in particular, have serious blind spots when it comes to social justice. (This was honestly the most useful/hopeful section of the book, in my opinion, because blind spots can be remedied.)
-SO MANY ANECDOTES. The research for this book included 2,000 phone interviews and 200 face-to-face conversations about the topics of faith and racial tension. It was so helpful to see the different responses, and the ways they clarified some of these blind spots. Specifically, that white christians with significant connections to the black community were…erm…less blind.
-The fairly depressing summary that, unless they change, there’s no expectation that white christians will become more aware of problems faced by their black brothers and sisters, nor that they’ll come up with any lasting solutions. It was frustrating to hear! But I think it points back to the blind spots, and asks for some significant shifting of values in the evangelical communities.

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