The topic of race—or ethnicity—is likely the most contentious topic of our day. So much so that many people may not have even opened up this blog to read simply due to the title. That’s okay—it’s simply that controversial, although it shouldn’t be.
Talking about the “race issue” is extremely difficult because there are so many different variables, different emotions, different experiences. In his book Talking About Race: Gospel Hope for Hard Conversations, pastor and author Isaac Adams—who’s also the founder of United? We Pray—seeks to provide hope for those who desire to engage in conversation but simply don’t know how.
Right out the gate, Adams explains the purpose behind this book. “The aim of this book is twofold,” he writes. “First, this book aims to help us think, in light of God’s Word, about why conversations regarding race and racism are so hard—yet also so important—for Christians in America” (xvii). He then adds the second reason. “Second, this book aims to help us think about how we can have these conversations more helpfully.”
By his own admission, this book is not about polemics, statistics, or any other issue that will get anybody riled up. Yes, it’s a book about race. But more specifically—as the title gives away—it’s a book about how to talk about race. And that’s something we should all consider.
Adams formats the book in two sections. The first is a story told from multiple perspectives. It’s a fictional story about a shooting and how members of the same church process it. In my opinion, the formatting of the story and how Adams paints the larger picture with that makes the book. Why is that? By telling a story, Adams is able to showcase all of our perspectives when it comes to the race issue. We can all resonate with one or more of the perspectives.
Isaac’s goal in this book is not to change one’s mind on critical race theory or convince another that reparations is a biblical concept. That’s not it at all. Adams’ point is to help us see—at the very least—that we, as Christians, should be able to talk about race. Just like we can talk about abortion, LGBTQ+ issues, and the like, we should also have no problem talking about race—with grace, compassion, understand, and truth.
So do yourself a favor and purchase a copy—or two!—of this book. At the very least, it’ll help you in discussing this issue with more clarity, charity, and grace.