I’ve contracted with InterVarsity Press (IVP) to publish a book about the intersection of discipleship and race within majority white Christian spaces. The draft manuscript will be turned in, Lord willing, early in 2019.
IVP has been a great fit since the very beginning of this idea. The folks there were encouraging when the idea was very – very! – rough and have stuck with me through the process of refining it to the point where there’s now a chance of adding a unique contribution to the conversation about racial reconciliation.
The original idea was sparked in the months following the 2016 presidential election. Throughout the campaign I was struck by how many white Christians seemed to ignore or explain away the concerns and fears of other Christians, especially African Americans and those from immigrant communities. Often, in those wild days, we were told by the would-be president’s white Christian supporters that the things most concerning to other Christians were simply political rhetoric. There was no way that he’d follow-up on his most frightening promises.
And then he did. And rather than lose backing from white Christians, his support appeared to increase. This is when I began thinking about discipleship. I found that my questions where echoed by friends and colleagues who serve in majority white churches and communities. These were not partisan conversations; neither were they especially political. Instead, we wondered about why it was so hard for white Christians to hear and believe the experiences and concerns that were being so clearly expressed by their fellow Christians.
Over the past couple of years I’ve engaged these questions with a small group of white Christian leaders from around the country. I’m indebted to them for their insightful questions and wise observations. I’m writing this book alone, but their voices echo loudly in my thoughts. The same is true about the multiracial community to which I belong. Though the book is focused on white Christianity, I cannot help but view the questions and themes through my place among a racially and ethnically diverse group of people. I couldn’t write this book without the generous support and critique of all of these folks.