Published by Zondervan on January 4, 2022
Genres: Non-Fiction, Racial Reconciliation
Buy on Amazon
Conversations about racism are as important as they are hard for American Christians.
Yet the conversation often gets so ugly, even among the faithful who claim unity in Jesus. Why is that the case? Why does it matter? Can things get better, or are we permanently divided?
In this honest and hopeful book, pastor Isaac Adams doesn't just show you how to have the race conversation, he begins it for you. By offering a fictional, racially charged tragedy in order to understand varying perspectives and responses, he examines what is at stake if we ignore this conversation, and why there's just as much at stake in how we have that discussion, especially across color lines--that is, with people of another ethnicity. This unique approach offers insight into how to listen to one another well and seek unity in Christ. Looking to God's Word, Christians can find wisdom to speak gracefully and truthfully about racism for the glory of God, the good of their neighbors, and the building up of the church.
Some feel that the time for talking is over, and that we've heard all this before. But given how polarized American society is becoming--its churches not exempt--fresh attention on the dysfunctional communication between ethnicities is more than warranted. Adams offers an invitation to faithfully combat the racism so many of us say we hate and maintain the unity so many of us say we want. Together we can learn to speak in such a way that we show a divided world a different world.
Talking About Race points to the starting line, not the finish line, when it comes to following Jesus amid race relations. It’s high time to begin running.
I’ve read a lot of books on racial relations, particularly from a Christian perspective, and after a while you begin to recognize the familiar beats. Most books are written to rally the troops. Some books are meant to educate those who are willing to go on the journey of reconciliation. Very few are written ironically, comprehensively, and compassionately enough to draw in those who needs their minds changed. Talking About Race is a book meant to engage others in how to have a conversation about racial issues and it practices what it preaches. Early on, Isaac Adams makes his book’s point very clear: Christians in America have a communication problem regarding race and racism that’s worth studying in light of God’s Word.
Adams divides Talking About Race into two parts. The first is a character study that introduces five diverse, fictional individuals who hear the news that an unarmed, Black man was shot and killed by police in Chicago. Each of the first five chapters follows that characters’ perspective. Adams attempts to faithfully present each perspective with compassion and nuance. This is followed by a non-fictional reflection of why each character held the perspective they had and what needs to be done to alter their perspective or speak about their perspective in a meaningful way.
Along the way, Adams has advice for both Black and white Christians. Should Black Christians leave majority-white churches? What’s the issue with color-blindness? How can pastors navigate building a multicultural community? By using story as a means of teaching (how very like Jesus), Talking About Race is able to put readers in the safety of the hypothetical. That’s what good fiction does. It allows us to see things from a different perspective and learn from that. The stories that Adams tells will be familiar. They’re amalgamations of thousands of stories lived out in reality. And by exploring those stories and conversation, Adams hopes to bring the fictional into reality and improve how we talk about racial injustice and inequality.
Talking About Race believes that the key to racial reconciliation is racial conversation and the relationships that develop through sharing life with one another and understanding one another’s perspectives. Real-life conversations aren’t fiction. They won’t be as easy or as clear-cut as Adams describes. But they’re necessary. There are a lot of books that clearly explain the roots and the continuance of racial injustice. Adams teaches readers how to talk about what we’ve learned in those books, and the news, and through the culture, and from the pulpit, in ways that beneficial and God-honoring. It’s a worthy addition to the conversation.