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A book on racial reconciliation I read last week

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Welcome to my weekly book update post where I share what books I read this past week + my honest thoughts and star ratings of them.

A Word on My Star Ratings

The star ratings I give the books I read are based on a 5-star rating system. I rarely will ever give a book a 1-star rating (maybe never?), because my philosophy is that if a book is only worthy of one star, I’m more than likely going to quit reading it. 🙂 In the same vein, you’ll also notice that I’ll rarely give a 5-star rating as I reserve those for only my very, very favorite books.

Want to see all of the books I’ve read so far this year? Check out my Good Reads page.

Last week, I finished one book and here is my review…

Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison

This past week, I listened to Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison. This book had been highly recommended by multiple people, but I went into it fairly apprehensive.

You see, about two years ago, I listened to I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown. And while the book was eye-opening and stirred up a lot inside of me (which was good), it also left me feeling frustrated. I wrote about it here, but here’s one thing I said in that post:

I want to do the best I can to raise my children with eyes and ears and a heart to see and love ALL people and I want that so much for myself, too. But she only gave example after example of what not to do — which I really appreciated. But I ended the book feeling like, “Well then what should I do?”

I felt like the author of I’m Still Here gave story after story after story of racial injustice and how she and other black people had been mistreated and misjudged over the years. But she didn’t give any solutions or provide any suggestions for what a white woman like me could do to love people of color well or what we should say or ask. And for awhile after I read it, I felt scared that I would unknowingly do or say something hurtful to my black friends.

In fact, it took me months to not feel like I was totally walking on pins and needles around my black friends and any black people I met — which I’d never been doing before. And I hated that! I wanted to just freely love well instead of always worrying that I was missing the mark.

I did end up having some uncomfortable conversations with some of my POC friends about it and I asked a lot of questions and had my eyes opened even more. And I’m grateful for that.

But I kind of was scared to read another book on racial reconciliation. However, I’m so glad I ended up listening to Be the Bridge as it left me feeling so much more encouraged and hopeful.

In Be the Bridge, LaTasha Morrison paints a beautiful picture in this book for ways that Christians can come alongside others who have different skin colors and/or come from different backgrounds and cultures, have uncomfortable conversations, and ultimately love well. She shares story after story of how this can beautifully play out and gives practical examples of how to take the first steps.

I also really appreciated how she shared about her own racial biases, her own struggles to overcome racial differences, and how she is seeking to walk out these principles in her own life.

While I don’t agree with everything in the book and definitely had my toes stepped on in many places, I finished this book feeling so excited about what the future could hold for relationships in my own life and how I can more effectively be a bridge builder and raise my kids to do the same.

Verdict: 4 stars

Picture Book: Guess How Much I Love You

This was a picture book that I read so many times to Kathrynne when she was a baby. It’s where we coined the phrase that we say all the time, “I love you to the moon and back.”

So, of course, we had to introduce the babies to this sweet book. I’ve read it to them pretty much every night before bed for the past week.

What have you read recently? I’d love to hear! Tell us in the comments!

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  • Jacqueline says:

    I just finished reading Lynn Austin’s Restoration Chronicle series. I am beginning Where the Crawdads Sing.

  • Stacy says:

    I’d recommend White Fragility and then How to be an Antiracist. As someone who has also felt a bit lost in ways I can love well but need to work on my own biases and issues. It will make you uncomfortable. It’s not a Christian book and it will cause you to question a lot of your own views and ideas on race and equality.

  • Lisa says:

    I just finished Be the Bridge and really appreciated it as well–such a helpful perspective, very eye-opening.

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed it, too!

    • Christi says:

      My church is reading Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Dr. Drew Hart. I’m only half way through but it is VERY good and instructive. My husband already finished it and it really impacted him. You might want to check it out. I’m trying to read a variety of books about racial justice and learn about our real history. White Fragility was eye opening. Waking up White is also good.

  • Archie L Davis Jr says:

    The best book I read on the issue is Oneness Embraced by Tony Evans. I gave the book to my Pastor and he told me it helped him alot. I can relate to what Tony Evans said in the book because I was not accepted in Southern Baptist churches when I was in college 20 years ago. My other advice to anyone who is not black and that is find Podcast of those who dont look like you and listen and stop making the same lame excuses. There are alot of Positive black Men and Women who are saved and doing great in the nation and you don’t have to agree on it all. I also believe Parents have model and have friends of those different race than you. I lived overseas and it is different than it is in the states. If kids see that their parents don’t reach out to those different than them than it sends a mixed signals. We all should value others just like Jesus did. Also I would say cut off the Tv and get to know others for yourself. Oneness Embraced has solutions to solve this issue of racism. I don’t expect others to agree with me on it all but I see to much nonsense in my lifetime. I like the fact you read books. I would also say stop looking for debates. People are wanting to be heard and some have ignore so long what some have to say and don’t be defensive when reading books from Black Authors. I don’t get defensive when I read John Maxwell books or anyone who is White. We are put on this Earth to learn from others. No one knows it except the Lord. Have a great week.

  • Airy’s Mom says:

    As an AA women I appreciate you even addressing the topic in a nonjudgmental or defensive manner. Thank you. None of us have all the answers.

  • Janet says:

    I second the recommendation of How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. He gives specific actions and ways to change your thinking. It is the best book I’ve listened to. I got it on my Libby app.

    • Sarah says:

      According to Janet Helms, there are stages of white identity development, and different steps to follow (including specific books to read) at each stage. So accordingly, a book such as “I’m Still Here” by Austin Channing Brown should be read when you are at the first stage, the ‘contact’ stage. Books like this are meant for educating yourself as a white person. This work needs to be done first so that you can work through the subsequent stages and get to that stage of immersion where you are ready to work against systems of oppression. Books such as “How to Be An Antiracist” are meant for these later stages. So it’s okay if you weren’t given any action steps in Austin Channing Brown’s book; it was very eye opening and a must read!

    • Thank you so much for the recommendation!

  • Kristen says:

    I would encourage you to check out the Center for Biblical Unity, and to inform yourself on critical race theory. There can be good things mixed in with messages that need closer examination.
    I too want to learn and help my children in that process as well. It is also important to me that it is done in a Christian worldwide and framework.

  • Jennifer says:

    Thank you for your informative and thoughtful review. I have also been left frustrated by articles that are very eye opening but don’t provide any solutions. I will definitely give this book a try!

  • Ashley Busakula says:

    I would recommend “The Third Option.”

  • Janice says:

    As an African American woman, I would advise not to be too hung up with what you should do. Look around and see what opportunities God has already given you. Smile and acknowledge people of different races in your neighborhood and church. You would be surprised how many times my family is totally ignored at church, as if we simply do not exist. I’ve noticed that women tend to speak to their same familiar friends at church and won’t acknowledge anyone else. If they see a woman of a different race in the bathroom or hallway, they won’t even look their way, despite just hearing an amazing sermon. Unfortunately, the kids and teens pick up this same behavior and that’s where exclusion happens. Just do what God leads you to do, right where you are!

    • Such wisdom in this comment! Thank you for sharing. But I am SO sorry that you have experienced that. It makes my heart hurt so much! And yes, I think one of the most important things I can do right now is love little Champ and his mama well. And continue to look for ways to reach out right where I am.

  • Elisabeth Alexis says:

    As a woman married to a black man and mother of three biracial children, I would just add that it’s so important to celebrate differences. Cultural and colour differences are real and should be a source of wonder at the goodness of God, not a source of embarrassment! I find that many people in the church want to be “colour blind” and teach their children that colour doesn’t matter… we are all from Adam and therefore the same. That’s a start, but we need to go beyond that and learn about other countries and cultures too. I was raised in a fairly white community with plenty of stereotypes toward others. I have to be intentional to teach my children something other than my own comfort zone and include aspects of a culture I was not raised in. Their heritage includes another language, a different style of cuisine, different games, the list goes on. I want them to know that those are good things and that they can be proud of who they are!

    • YES!!! I love this so much and I’m with you! I did a video on Instagram awhile back on why we’re not raising our kids to be color blind. We want them to appreciate different cultures and backgrounds because there is so much richness in diversity and I’ve learned so much from other cultures!

  • Glenda says:

    I’m a child of God first, and secondly a hispanic woman married to a black man and we have beautiful mixed children. I would also recommend The Center for Biblical Unity. It is important to approach these issues with biblical framework. Some parts of the CRT message do need some examination through biblical lens. I also recommend Oneness by Tony Evans.

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