Welcome to my bookshelf! This is where I will be keeping track of the books I’m reading and reviewing related to social justice issues, race, missions, and following Jesus! Check back, as my bookshelf will be growing. These are amazon affiliate links, so I will get some kickback from amazon if you do end up buying a book through here. And that helps me keep this blog going 🙂
RACE & SOCIAL JUSTICE
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Tatum.
This is the book I read in college that made so many pieces fall into place for me. It gave me tools and words to talk about race, it’s super accessible even though it’s written to be used in college classes (I promise, you don’t need a degree in sociology to understand it) and it answers a lot of questions people have. The book explains racial identity, and helps people understand the process of black identity development, and helps white people understand things like segregation, institutional racism, and–basically–why all the black kids sit together in the cafeteria! 🙂
Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible by M Daniel Carroll R.
This book is focused on Hispanic immigration to the US, and how Christians should frame their response to this (both majority culture Christians, and immigrants). The first chapter looks at the history of immigration and Hispanic immigration in the US. The bulk of the book is spent looking at OT laws, stories, and the view of Jesus and NT writers, and how all those things together should ground our perspective. Carroll talks about undocumented workers, and the “Romans 13 debate”, and does not advocate for a specific policy, but spends time arguing that if our view on immigration is steeped in scripture, then we will be able to discern just and compassionate responses and laws. Really good foundation if you don’t know how Christians should view immigration and want Biblical backing. Reads (especially the intro) a bit like a college text book, but he explains things well, so any educated person can keep up.
Welcoming the Stranger by Matthew Sorens and Jenny Hwang Yang.
A great book that looks at the practical implications of our current immigration system in the USA, as well as giving some brief Biblical foundation for why we should welcome immigrants. I mostly like this book because it’s full of information- like how long does it take to get into the US legally? How many “illegal immigrants” are actually arrested for crimes every year? Do immigrants suck our public health system dry? Do they pay taxes? etc…. this is all things we have information about.
Generous Justice by Tim Keller I find myself returning to this book again and again, especially when I’m talking with or working with Christian groups that have never thought about social justice or reconciliation before. He’s at his best when he’s walking through the Biblical foundations for social justice. He gets a little dense/wordy when he talks about the practical applications in chapter 6 (rather read something like When Helping Hurts for that type of content) but I love this book.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson This is a heart-wrenching book, but a MUST READ for anyone who wants to understand Criminal Justice system reform. Bryan is motivated by his Christian faith, although this is not a “Christian book” per se.
RACE & RECONCILIATION
Disunity in Christ: Uncovering the Hidden Forces that Keep Us Apart by Christena Cleveland. I can’t push this book enough. I also can’t push Christena Cleveland’s blog enough (and no one is paying me to say that! 😀 It’s a goldmine of resources). This book is a good mix of solid social psychology research and really conversational (and funny) writing. Christena unpacks some of the reasons behind segregated churches, and also has practical advice for leaders on ways to address this. If you’re serious about helping your church become more diverse, and have a heart for reconciliation, this is the book for you. In terms of readability, this is like reading a Tim Keller.
Gracism: The Art of Inclusion by David Anderson. I was introduced to this book during Taylor University’s MLK day celebrations. I listened to a speaker who had worked with David Anderson, and he highly recommended this practical book. This book is perfect if you’re looking for an easy introduction to the importance of racial reconciliation from a Christian perspective. It’s very practical, and since Anderson structures the book by walking through scripture, it would be easy to talk through as a small group, or recommend to a pastor. Anderson has other books I’m keen to read! In terms of readability, this is like reading Max Lucado.
Roadmap to Reconciliation: Brenda Salter McNeil This is a great book if you’re looking for a practical handbook on Reconciliation. If you’re like… yes, I get the need for reconciliation but what exactly does that process involve? Then this is the book for you. She has great discussion questions for leaders and communities to think about, and literally “maps” a journey of reconciled communities.
The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly in a Violent World by Miroslav Volf. I just did a two part summary of the book here on the blog, if you’re interested in knowing what this book is about. This book covers forgiveness, memory, and asks the question: How long should we remember the wrongs we have suffered, and how do we remember rightly, in light of Christ? Volf is pretty academic. He cites ancient philosophers and current journal articles, and you have to be awake to keep up. But, he also writes beautifully. He has a poetic turn of phrase that makes reading his books really delightful.
Out of Sorts: Making Peace with an Evolving Faith by Sarah Bessey. I love Sarah’s blog and her style of writing. It’s really poetic, but conversational. Each chapter looks at a different topic- the institutional church, grief and lament, mutuality in marriage, social justice, community, ancient spiritual practices- and Sarah talks about how her appreciation and relationship with these different aspects of her faith have grown and changed. She quotes poets and mystics and Dallas Willard, and this is a great book for anyone who is wrestling with their faith, or the changes they’ve found in their faith. I wrote about it here and here, and here’s my review on amazon.