We Need To Talk About Race – by Ben Lindsay

8 02 2022

This was definitely a challenging read, but it felt important to read it.

The book is aimed at all Christians, black and white, congregation member and leader. Each chapter has a question for reflection for each perspective, which helps process what you’ve just read.

It also has two interludes, one of which was women of colour sharing their stories of what they’ve experienced in church, the real-life examples were pretty hard hitting.

As he acknowledges in the book, a lot of white people, myself included, are scared of talking about race for fear of saying the wrong thing, so really what I’ve put below is just a few bits from pages where I turned the corner down, it doesn’t flow, but I think that reflects that I’m still processing what I’ve read. Even now, I’m scared I’ve said something wrong somewhere in this post, my sincere apologies if this is the case.

  • The black majority church has been growing, partly because people of colour have not felt included in white churches, and so we’ve become a much more segregated church overall, which is not how it was meant to be.
  • Early on he listed a load of privileges white people have that they don’t even realise, which was helpful to give something practical to think about.
  • He talks about the differences between churches being diverse, and churches being inclusive – so often the focus is diversity, but this reminded us that this isn’t the ultimate aim.
  • The importance of acknowledging the churches part in the start of the slave trade, and not just the abolitionists.
  • Is the churches approach to social action more about pulling people from the river than seeing why they’re falling in in the first place?
  • Distinguishing between Social Welfare – serving practical needs of the community, and Social Justice – campaigning and advocacy, addressing what left the community in that state to start with.

And then a line that just stood out to me as something to apply far more widely in life: “Forgiveness without progress is hard. This is not to say we should not forgive.”

I definitely feel this book increased my awareness, and I’ll be recommending it to my Pastor. I want to dig out an article it recommends called “100 ways white people can make life less frustrating for people of colour” by Kesiena Boom, as I’m a person who works well off specific examples. As a Christian in a very white church, and has always attended very white churches, I would recommend this to other white Christians too.