Diversity & Racial Justice Resources
Updated Friday, July 17, 2021The love we have for our Heavenly Father is inextricably linked to loving our neighbors as ourselves. If we say that we love Him, then our actions need to line up with the way that we care for others, especially the vulnerable. Our nation is still divided 55 years after its last civil rights movement. Once again, His church has an opportunity to either lead us into unity or remain complicit in allowing systems of racial inequities to disproportionately harm our sisters and brothers of color…
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As a church, we have spent the last three years intentionally breaking down such systems internally and have focused on building a more inclusive culture and church. For the foreseeable future, we are furthering our commitment to equip and empower our church family by creating an atmosphere that’s conducive for awareness, compassion, knowledge building, advocacy and activism. As God’s people, we want to humbly and boldly usher in God’s will on earth by leaning into the work of Biblical racial reconciliation with our families, friends, coworkers, and communities.The sin of racism is pervasive, both in our racialized surroundings and also within us. No matter where you are on the broad spectrum of readiness to battle this sin, study and intentionality are required. Below you will find a curated list of resources. While the bulk of these come from a stream of Christian theology that we adhere to, we’re also including very powerful secular items that provide additional context. To quote Karl Barth, “Take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.” We do this because racism isn’t just a social matter, it’s Biblical as well.
A few things to keep in mind:
- A few of the resources listed below may not come directly from our Christian worldview, but we find them helpful for context, to grasp concepts and terms, and to better understand our nation’s racialized history and the ongoing impact in our day.
- Be mindful to work through these resources at a reasonable pace that allows your hearts and minds to experience in real-time what you’re learning.
- Wherever you are on this journey, we recommend starting from “The Basics” (see below) and then working through the rest of the items after. This list was designed with precepts that build upon precepts.
- Identify individuals or a group where you’ll feel safe to process and advance in your journey.
The BasicsWe highly suggest perusing these two resources as “prerequisites.” They establish common ground for reflection and discussion and lay the foundation for what we believe God is calling us to do as a church in seeking Jesus’ heart for justice.
Gary McQuinnIn the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus is confronts racism and calls His followers to be marked by compassion to the hurting and a sacrificial love that bridges ethnic divisions.
Gary McQuinnGod’s design for a beautifully diverse world has been damaged by racism and only Jesus can restore it all.
Second StepIf you’re new to this work or to these ideas, these resources are designed to help you with the history and ongoing struggle against racism in our country. They’ll also help lay a foundation for how and why Park Church is engaging in this work. We’ve added a quick blurb to each, giving an overview of the content for each resource. Click one of the boxes below to get started.
- Race, Justice, and the Church: In a conference session from 2017, Pastor Eric Mason challenges us that the church has tragically majored on the minor things, and by doing so has become a pathetic voice rather than a prophetic voice.
- 1st Corinthians 1:10–17: Brandon Washington’s sermon at Park Church
- The Gospel & Diversity: A seminar with Q&A led by Brandon Washington
- Grace, Justice and Mercy: Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City hosted an evening discussion on race, grace, and the church with Bryan Stevenson and Pastor Timothy Keller.
- Just Mercy: Movie based on a true story, in which world-renowned civil rights defense attorney Bryan Stevenson works to free a wrongly condemned death row prisoner.
- 13th: Movie offering An in-depth look at the prison system in the United States and how it reveals the nation’s history of racial inequality
- The Color of Compromise : Short videos from Jemar Tisby walking through the content of his book:
- The Bible Project: Justice: A short video asking “What is justice, exactly, and who gets to define it?” The Biblical theme of Justice is explored, demonstrating how it’s deeply rooted in the storyline of the Bible that leads to Jesus.
- Letter from Birmingham Jail: Martin Luther King Jr.
- Oneness Embraced: Book by Tony Evans that provides a Biblical and pastoral guide for striving for unity across racial and socioeconomic divides
- Be The Bridge: Book by Latasha Morrision presents a compelling vision of what it means for every follower of Jesus to become a bridge builder, committed to pursuing justice and racial unity in light of the gospel
- Insider Outsider: Book by Bryan Lorrits about what it’s like to be a person of color in predominantly white evangelical spaces today and where we can go from here
- Color of Compromise: Book by Jemar Tisby about how people of faith have historically–up to the present day–worked against racial justice. And a call for urgent action by all Christians today in response
Third Step:Learn more about the reality of racial injustice: There are many resources to take next steps in understanding the intricacies of race. Learning and being aware of our history helps us to move forward in healing. Click one of the boxes below to get started.
- Matt Chandler on Ephesians 1:15-23: (Sermon starts at 34:16) Sermon about the need to be active as Christians in the pursuit for racial justice in our country
- Code Switch: Podcast from a multi-racial, multi-generational team of journalists fascinated by the overlapping themes of race, ethnicity and culture, how they play out in their lives and communities, and how all of this is shifting.
- EJI Racial Injustice Calendar: Daily calendar to help us learn more about people and events in American history that are critically important but not well known.
- Housing Segregation and Redlining in America: A Short History: A video from NPR on the historical practice of redlining and how that has shaped and affected most major US metropolitan areas. Note: The beginning of this video contains one instance of explicit language.
- Right Color Wrong Culture: Book by Bryan Lorrits about individuals who are grappling with changing neighborhoods while struggling to remain relevant within communities growing in diversity
- One Blood: Book by Dr. John Perkins calls for repentance from both the white and black church and unpacks the reality that true reconciliation won’t happen until we get more intentional and relational.
- The New Jim Crow: Book by Michelle Alexander about the stunning account of the rebirth of a caste-like system in the US that has resulted in millions of African Americans locked behind bars and then relegated to a permanent second-class status—denied the very rights supposedly won in the Civil Rights Movement
- The Cross and the Lynching Tree: Book by James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk
- The Next Evangelicalism (Multi-ethnic Ministry): Book by Soong Chan Rah calls on the North American church to escape its captivity to Western cultural trappings and to embrace a new evangelicalism that is diverse and multiethnic
- Christians at the Border: Book by Daniel Carrol Draws on key biblical ideas, and speaks to both the immigrant culture and the host culture, arguing that both sides have much to learn about immigration
Click here to be added to the waitlist if you are interested in either the People of Color Intensive or Whiteness Intensive via Be The Bridge in the Fall.
How to teach kids:Parents, there are very important meaningful lessons that can be taught early on in your child’s development. Here are some resources to help you during their early childhood:
- Tiny Truth Illustrated Bible: Bible that presents refreshingly diverse character illustrations that depict what people in Bible times more accurately looked like and includes non-traditional stories that are typically excluded from most children’s Bibles. Age: 4–10
- ColorFull: Celebrating the Colors God Gave Us by Dorena Williamson: a book about best friends, Imani and Kayla, who are learning to celebrate their different skin colors. As they look around them at the amazing colors in nature, they can see that their skin is another example of God’s creativity! Age: 4–8
- God’s Very Good Idea by Trillia Newbell: A beautiful story about how God intentionally created each of us uniquely to reflect his goodness. It highlights and celebrates differences in preferences to differences in skin color. Age: 4–10
- God Made Me and You by Shai Linne: A story book about God’s creation. God loved so much that he made each of us! Love made you. Age: 4–11.
- The Gospel in Color: For Kids by Curtis Woods and Jarvis Williams: Racism is a painful, complex issue, and can be challenging to explain to children. This book is written to facilitate honest conversations about race and racial reconciliation between kids and their parents. Age: 10+. See also: The Gospel in Color: For Parents