In recent years Christian scholars have become increasingly aware of their responsibility to recognize and respond to the challenges posed by ethnic and racial diversity. Similarly, historically white Christian colleges, universities, seminaries and congregations are struggling to transform themselves into communities that are welcoming to minorities and sensitive to their needs. This collection of all-new essays is meant to enable those who are engaged in these initiatives to understand the historical linkage of race, ethnicity and Christianity and to explore the ways in which constructive change can be achieved. The volume is the product of a long-term study funded by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology. In the course of this study it emerged that many Christian institutions now offer courses on race and ethnicity, but that there is very little relevant literature written from the standpoint of rigorous Christian scholarship. This book is intended to fill that gap. The authors address such questions as: What has been the history of Christian churches and leaders in relation to slavery, segregation, and apartheid? Which biblical texts and doctrines have historically been employed on behalf of racial projects, and which are relevant to the racial and ethnic crises of our day? How have religious leaders constructively engaged such crises? How do congregations shape the values, civic commitments, understandings and sensitivities of their membership? How can local congregations be sites for racial reconciliation and justice initiatives? Are there positive models for how churches and other religious institutions have helped to bring healing to racial and ethnic tensions and divides? How might Christians in the professions work to bring justice to business, education, government, and other areas of society? When good intentions fail to accomplish desired ends, how do we analyze what went wrong? Written by an interracial and interethnic team of scholars representing diverse disciplines, this book will meet a pressing need and set a new standard for the discussion of race and ethnicity in the Christian context.
Robert J. Priest is Director of the PhD Program in Intercultural Studies and Professor of Mission and Anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His research and writing have focused on religious conversion, moral discourse, and missionary practices. Alvaro L. Nieves is Department Chair and Professor of Sociology at Wheaton College. He recently served as General Editor of The Latino Heritage Bible and has also served as a consultant to the Department of Energy.
"Amply documented and with helpful bibliographies, this set will appeal to all concerned about diversity in evangelical congregations, schools, and other agencies."--Choice
"This Side of Heaven
is a major contribution to the study of race, ethnicity, and religion. I found an incredible wealth of knowledge and insight in the book's chapters. This is a book to use in college and seminary courses, to read in your home, and to work through in small groups. Be prepared for serious discussions, as this volume if full of hard hitting chapters that cut to the core of religion, race, and ethnicity. Strongly recommended." --Michael O. Emerson, co-author of Divided by Faith
and United by Faith
"This Side of Heaven
is unique among Christian books on multiculturalism and race because the authors combine thier social science analysis with their theological viewpoints." --Contemporary Sociology
"The editors have managed to produce a volume that has unity and clarity, combining the realistic double edge of social analysis with a courageous rereading of biblical texts and a hopeful attitude in spite of discomforting facts. In short, this book represents missiology at its best." --International Bulletin of Missionary Research
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