Have you ever thought what it might feel like to be a minority black face in a majority white church? Have you ever noticed how many male, white theologians are referenced in church sermons? Have you ever questioned the power structures and pathways to leadership within the church and thought, are these as inclusive as they could be?
It's time for the church to start talking about race. Ben Lindsay, pastor of Emmanuel Church London, leads this conversation, offering eye-opening insights into the black experience, and challenging the perceived 'status quo' in white majority churches.
Nothing is beyond his scope: music, history, leadership, social justice and theology itself. After each chapter, he offers questions and personal insights in order to best engage his readers with the topic, and suggests practical tips at the end of the book which could help to combat some of the problems he sees.
Preach magazine book review
We Need To Talk About Race is a welcome and relevant book. I approached this text with interest since I live in a predominantly white seaside town and racism is not something that I have either experienced or witnessed. Yet this text is an eye-opener. It is a springboard for people and congregations to reflect on their part in racism. The language is easy and down to earth, so it is good for individual reading, but it would also be a good tool for discussions for a whole church. There are reflections at the end of each chapter, and questions to be talked through.
There has never been a better time for a publication such as this. In the light of events in America leading to the Black Lives Matter protests, the official treatment of the Windrush Generation being discussed in Parliament, and significant anniversaries of the abolition of slavery, this book calls for the church to reflect and to be accountable for its part in these things. Ben Lindsay poses a question about formal apologies for historical events or actions, i.e. is the apology enough without reparation or ‘justice’ when the effects are still felt by members of our communities today?
Ben Lindsay gives the church, whatever denomination you hail from, a resource to see the world and maybe the church and each other through the eyes of God who loves us all.
What I shall take away from this book is how invisible racism is, and how deeply rooted it is. How privileged I have been, by simply being born into a white seaside town. How staying silent can also mean condoning and taking part in something which deep down we know is wrong, because God created us all in his own image. So, when asked (as I was earlier in a Zoom meeting) ‘What do we tolerate and what do we challenge?’, this book is the ideal tool to explore such things and to help equip us to welcome everyone to our churches to be embraced by love and by grace.
Laura Glass - I live in Scarborough with my partner and my son who is four. I am a Local Preacher in the local Methodist Circuit.
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AUTHOR: Ben Lindsay is a pastor at Emmanuel Church London. He is passionate about inclusion and wants to see a racially diverse church that better serves and represents the local context. Ben is CEO and founder of Power The Fight, a charity empowering communities to end youth violence. He has a background working in local government and the charity sector. This is his first book.