UPDATE 12/17/16- I really had great intentions of writing out some thoughts on this book and of starting a book club. Surprise surprise I haven’t had as much time as I hoped I would. I’m still reading this book at a snail’s pace- just wanted to update you. I still encourage you to grab the book and start the conversation in your own circles!
“Jesus says the dividing wall is coming down. It’s been up far too long. We grieve that we are so late to the party. We have finally arrived at the troubling conclusion that there is brokenness in the way that we value and treat one another on the basis of skin color. We praise God that he is patient and gracious with us as we slowly come around to the reality that so many of our neighbors, brothers, and sisters have known their entire lives. We pray that they would forgive our blindness to their suffering as we move forward, seeking to learn and grow toward racial reconciliation.” – Rev. Dr. Irwiyn Ince and Rev. Doug Serven (Heal Us, Emmanuel)
Let me start out by saying- I had this great video invitation for you. And then I had a bad meeting with some editing software. Eventually, I had to choose between my sanity and having an angry mental breakdown because why isn’t editing software more intuitive for people like me who have zero technical intuition? I chose my sanity. So, my friends, here is a written invitation instead, because words I can do.
Also- the opinion on this book is my own. I do NOT receive anything should you desire to purchase this book. Don’t forget to check your local library first!
Several days ago I told you how it felt to be a black wife and mom to a black husband and black children right here in this time. I asked you to listen. I asked you to pray. And many of you said, “Okay”. Many of you said, “We care”. And many of you also responded with an appeal of your own. “How?” “What do we do?” “What is our next step?” “We want to do more, tell us what that looks like.”
I wasn’t ready for this appeal and I really did not have an answer beyond listen and pray.
Then one of you, yes a commenter on that first post, recommended a book, and even though it is not THE ANSWER, I think it is a great step!
Heal Us Emmanuel- A Call for Racial Reconciliation, Representation, and Unity in the Church
When this book was recommended, I quickly went online to research it more. I read the description and the reviews and it felt like a great starting place, so, after checking my local library for availability and finding none, I purchased it. I’m only through the intro and first chapter and I already feel excitement stirring in me. Maybe that’s hope stirring, too?
People, we NEED this book. We need the perspective it offers. We need the conversations it fosters. We need the healing it desires to promote. And the message of this book is so clearly, centrally focused on Jesus my heart was singing as I read the words. Don’t you see? There is always hope when God’s people come together to really hear HIS heart on an issue He most certainly is invested in. There is always progress when God’s people are mobilized and unified. There is always real change when we trade our own bias and prejudice of people for God’s unwavering truth that all are valued, all are cherished, all are loved. There is not a one of us who is dismissed, marginalized, or abandoned by God. There is not a one of us who should be dismissing, marginalizing, or abandoning others.
Will you read this book with me? Will you not only read it, but will you consider asking others in your circle to read it, to? Will you invite people who don’t look like you to join, too? Form a safe, (but maybe not always comfortable) space where you and your circle can talk about the things you are hearing in this book. Meet every week, or once a month or however frequently it works. Consider putting out some food, too. Food seems to help foster these types of conversations.
Listen to me, accept this invitation and I think you’ll see, with your very own eyes, walls coming down and unlikely friendships forming. The stories you will learn, the perspective you will gain, the words you will say to each other and to God…goodness they could revive a hurting soul and awaken a love in you that you never knew was possible. Because I think, at some point, it could become less about every word on the page, and more about every person in your world. Doing this, reading this book, talking with people about the hard work of racial reconciliation, this could reconcile some things in your own heart, too. God let it be, in every single one of us, let it be.
Will you join me?
A Little Bit of Fun
If you’re accepting this invitation, will you let me know? Just tell me yes here, and then when you get your book, post a picture of yourself with your copy on Facebook or Instagram and make sure to tag me. You could even post a picture of your group when you start meeting, too! I’ll be doing the same. And of course, let me know how it’s going if you’d like to. Email me or message me your thoughts. I’ll be posting about things I’m learning from the book from time to time so please join the discussion!
A Whole Lot of Thanks
Thank you for listening. Thank you for praying. Thank you for considering this invitation.