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America’s Original Sin: A Study Guide on White Racism

Sojourners, Washington, D.C., 1992

A faith-based perspective on anti-racism activism. The book is a series of articles on different aspects of racism and how to combat it.


A Black Theology of Liberation

James H. Cone, Orbis Books, 1990.  First published in 1970

This book presents a searing indictment of white theology and society, while offering a radical reappraisal of Christianity from the perspective of an oppressed black North American community. Now 20 years later, Cone reviews the evolution of his own thinking, plus black theology in dialogue with feminist theory and third world theologies of liberation.


Crossing the Racial Divide: American’s Struggle for Justice and Reconciliation

Sojourners, Washington, D.C.,

Go beneath the surface of diversity rhetoric and get to the heart of your assumptions about race and privilege. Voices from the streets and from the gospel provide insights into institutional racism and white supremacy. Puts forth practical models for dismantling racism and for reconciliation with justice. Includes lesson plans and study questions.


Dismantling Racism:  The Continuing Challenge to White America

Joseph Barndt, Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1991.

Written for the Christian community as a guide to understanding and dismantling racism, readers can adapt its message to anti-racism work in other kinds of organizations as well.


Enter the River: Healing Steps from White Privilege Toward Racial Reconciliation

Jody Miller Shearer, Herald Press, Scottdale PA, 1994.

Written for a white Christian audience, this book takes a biblical approach to anti-racism work.


Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness and Reconciliation

Miroslav Volf, Abingdon Press, 1996.

How do we identify ourselves as both Christians and members of a certain race? How do we preach the gospel and interpret the Bible in this context? How does the doctrine of the triune God and God’s self-donation revealed on the cross enable us to redefine ourselves so that we become open to others, enriched by their presence, and aware that they are part of our own history? How should we act so that our Christian solidarity with the weak and powerless transforms the dominant culture and finds an appropriate institutional expression? Volf pushes us to ask ourselves these questions, and he gives thoughtful and sober answers.


First We Must Listen: Living in a Multicultural Society,

Anne Leo Ellis, Ed., Friendship Press, New York, 1996.

Addressed to a Christian audience, this book is a collection of articles and conversations, vignettes and speeches that express the opinions and experiences of a diverse array of voices.


God of the Oppressed  

James H. Cone, Orbis Books, 1997.

In his reflections on God, Jesus, suffering, and liberation, James H. Cone relates the gospel message to the experience of the black community. But a wider theme of the book is the role that social and historical context plays in framing the questions we address to God as well as the mode of the answers provided.


Moral Man and Immoral Society: A Study of Ethics and Politics

Reinhold Niebuhr, Westminster John Knox Press, 2002

Niebuhr, noted theologian, elaborates on his thesis, “The individual or the group which organizes society, however social its intentions or pretension, arrogates an inordinate portion of social privilege to itself.”


No Difference in the Fare: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Problem of Racism 

Josiah Ulysses Young, III, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998

Young examines Bonhoeffer’s theological understanding of the race problem and how he became aware of it in the context of American history.


No Longer Slaves: Galatians and African American Experience

Brad Ronell Braxton, Liturgical Press, 2002.

An interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Although Braxton takes seriously the original context of Galatians and his exegesis engages the Greek text, he offers a contemporary theological reading that privileges the history, experiences, and concerns of African Americans. Those who are concerned about the connection between Christianity and ethnicity will find this interpretation intriguing and challenging.


Troubling Biblical Waters: Race, Class, and Family

Cain Hope Felker, Orbis Books, Maryknoll,NY, 1989.

One of the Bishop Henry McNeal Turner Studies Series, which encourages the development of biblical, historical, theological, and pastoral works that analyze the role of the churches and other religious movements in the liberation struggles of Blacks in the United States and the Third World.  A study of the issues of race, class, and family in the Bible.


White Theology: Outing Supremacy in Modernity

James Perkinson, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Re-examines white race privilege throughout history and its relationship to black theology. James W. Perkinson articulates a white theology of responsibility responding to the claims of James Cone (and other black scholars) that serious engagement with history and culture must be at the heart of any American projection of integrity or “salvation” in the modern period. Perkinson interweaves autobiography and postcolonial analysis, history, and phenomenology to explore white supremacy and the future of religious studies.




A Time for Burning

Produced by Bill Jersey, DVD released 2005, 58 minutes

Originally rejected by the three major networks for being too controversial, this classic cinema-verité film from award-winning filmmaker Bill Jersey captures an all-white Lutheran Church in Omaha, Nebraska as their eager, but earnest pastor tries to get the congregation to reach out to their fellow black Lutherans in 1968. Jersey’s camera is there when a highly articulate and outspoken black nationalist Ernie Chambers tells Pastor Youngdahl that his “Jesus is contaminated.” The camera continues to roll as a church elder speaks passionately about the urgency of desegregation but then admits he’s never actually spent time one-on-one with a black person.


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