Many voices compete for your attention in how to best respond to the ongoing racial tensions in our country. As our Lead Pastor Sam Polson shared, the best disciples are those who position themselves to listen. But out of all those voices we hear and read online, who should we focus on and listen to most closely?
For every follower of Jesus Christ, the answer is tied to the greatest commandment and the one like it:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37–39, ESV)
Out of love for God, we listen to Him. We hear Him speak to us through His Word and His Son. Out of love for our neighbor, we listen to those who can help us learn and grow to see things the way Jesus does in this world.
On this page you’ll find resources that accompany our Love Listens emphasis. Check back here frequently to access blog posts, videos, book recommendations and kids resources to help you love your neighbors, whatever their ethnicity and background and pursue biblical justice to help those who are hurting and in need. We all have much to learn from one another, so let’s listen up!
A Helpful Reading List (and what to avoid) on Racial Issues
One resource I’ve found helpful in gaining a Christian perspective on race issues in the USA has been the website of Christian apologist Neil Shenvi. In the “helpful reading list” link above you’ll go to Shenvi’s list of what current books are available for everyone in the church to help us gain clarity on race issues. However, as Neil Shenvi says, not all books are equal: some are highly recommended and some are dangerous. You may see some book titles you recognize. I would refer you to only those Dr. Shenvi highly recommends.
One Race, One Blood by Ken Ham and Charles Ware
West Park hosted Pastor Charles Ware in a special service on April 14, 2019. His message called “Color Me Love” helped us over a year ago to gain biblical perspective on racism before our current events. What he had to share that day was just a snapshot of what he wrote with Ken Ham in One Race, One Blood. Read chapter 2 for a historical overview of race issues in America and then chapter 7 on “Grace Relations,” Dr. Ware’s outline for overcoming racist heart attitudes with God’s truth and grace.
One Blood for Kids
Author Ken Ham has created a unique children’s version of the book he cowrote with Dr. Charles Ware. Over the past several weeks my wife and I have been reading this to our kids. The simple illustrations and biblical foundations help to cut through the cultural buzzwords and social definitions for race and racial issues today. We highly recommend this book for the families in our church.
God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell
My wife and I look for excellent kids’ books that we can read to our 3 kids, particularly books that help them see the beauty of God and His family. God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell shows kids through beautiful illustrations and compelling writing that reconciliation is only truly available through Jesus Christ and is displayed in the church. Trillia Newbell shows the diversity of the people God is reconciling to Himself in the church, and reminds us how privileged all of us are, no matter our background or color, to be included.
A Perspective to Consider
The Center for Biblical Unity
Several weeks ago I listened to the story of Monique Duson, a woman who is passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ways to help make the gospel central in the topic of racial divides. After two decades advocating a secular theory of race, Monique discerned that her work and passion did not align with the gospel. Her work now is to align with God’s Word, and to that end she has founded The Center for Biblical Unity. With the theme of “One Race, One People, One Savior,” Ms. Duson and others work toward pointing people back to the power of Jesus Christ to heal racial divides wherever they exist.
Shai Linne on Christians Labeling and Categorizing Each Other During This Cultural Moment
This article, which is a reprint of several tweets made by Christian artist Shai Linne, goes along with both our current divides as a country as well as our series on the conscience in our own church. Read what Shai has to say about our tendency as Christians to label and dismiss each other, and please read it through his gracious tone as he points us back to the unity and only hope we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.