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Archive for the tag “Intervarsity Press”

Review: ‘White Awake’ by Daniel White

White Awake: An honest look at what it means to be white
Daniel Hill (Intervarsity Press, September 2017)

I’ll admit to a certain degree of resistance to this book. One can reasonably be weary of self-righteous pronouncements about “white privilege” from quarters of our society where people don’t seem to understand the difference between justice and revenge. It makes sense to discount critiques from people whose ideology is based on a faulty worldview.

At the same time, you can’t ignore the reluctance of many “whites” to acknowledge – much less discuss – the systemic aspects of injustice in this country. It’s hard to take seriously complaints about “reverse racism” from people who are ignorant of the atrocities that created today’s circumstances of poverty and inequality. People who aren’t struggling every day with poverty and injustice let themselves off the hook too easily when the question “What should I do?” arises.

Both “white folks” and “people of color” can benefit from this book. Daniel Hill takes a stand between the strident voices complaining about “white guilt” and the complacent yawns or (worse) angry condemnations of those who think they bear no personal responsibility for either past atrocities or current injustices.

The heart of the book for me is when Hill quotes Mark Charles quoting Georges Erasmus: “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.” Once you get past the book’s opening personal testimony and the necessary lecture about cultural identity, Hill journeys through an insightful and helpful discussion about cross-cultural friendship, denial of injustice, the disorientation that comes with awakening, dealing with shame, the problem of self-righteousness in regard to “bad” people, seven markers of racial awakening, and practical suggestions for changing the status quo.

The cause of Kingdom justice is being harmed by both strident voices and complacent yawns. But we don’t have to buy into someone else’s ideology or political agenda to acknowledge that the status quo in our communities doesn’t begin to approach God’s Kingdom design. We ignore at our own peril the fact that God requires his people to open their ears to the cries of the poor and oppressed, love compassion, and do justice. Let Daniel Hill talk with you about serious issues with which we need to come to terms.

* I apologize for the quotation marks. So much of the conversation on the subject deals in stereotypes that oversimplify the complexities of these issues.

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Refuse to do nothing

refuse to do nothingSlavery is a stubborn oppression.

Men and women who understand God’s heart for the poor and oppressed have fought slavery, at tremendous personal sacrifice, and won great victories, like William Wilberforce’s Slavery Abolition Act of 1833.

Yet today slavery is more rampant than ever, endemic to virtually every community, epidemic in many places. An estimated 27 million souls — 80% women and children — suffer in involuntary servitude, many of them in horrible circumstances.

Laws can make a difference in the social realm, but evil thrives nonetheless, because it sinks its roots into the dark, fertile soil of each individual’s heart. The hard-won political and legal victories achieved by activists cannot change the individual heart.

That immutable fact brings us face to face with a profoundly personal truth: If you want to abolish slavery — if you want to stop any injustice — you must get personally involved. You cannot leave abolition to the activists who lobby lawmakers. You have to take stock of your own life and how your lifestyle supports slavery. You have to look around for the slavery forced upon others in your own community, even in the house next door. You need to inform yourself about the evils of slavery around the world and find a partner to help you get involved.

Most of us ordinary folks, however, choose to sit on the sidelines. “I’m just a soccer mom.” “I’m just a baseball dad.” “I’m not an activist. What can I do?”

And we wind up doing nothing. A little girl is chained to a bed at a sleazy motel out by the interstate. A little boy labors from dawn til dark on a cocoa farm in Ivory Coast. Women and men slave away in a Pakistani brick factory for meager rations and a hovel to sleep in.

So the evil in your heart isn’t the one that forces people into slavery. Instead, it’s the one that does nothing while your neighbor suffers, the one that buys the goods and services produced by the slave master.

Shayne Moore and Kimberly McOwen Yim have a different idea. What if you refused to do nothing?

In their new book, Refuse to Do Nothing, these two “Abolitionist Mamas” talk about how they discovered the power to make a difference that was available to them in their everyday lives. The book is a discomforting read, but it is very practical. You will discover you do have power you can exercise — through your purchases, your relationships, and the advocacy opportunities a free society offers.

You will discover you can make difference, right where you are, to set the captives free. Their stories may well inspire within you the kind of fierce love that drives you up out of your easy chair and into action.

Each of the book’s 15 chapters ends with questions for reflection that will help you zero in on God’s call for you to “do justice” or serve as a discussion guide for your small group. You will find lists of resources for further study and organizations that can help you make a difference. A set of five related videos is available at ivpress.com.

Can you live with the thought that you could have prevented an innocent soul’s suffering, yet chose to do nothing? What if you refused to do nothing?

Deepening the Soul for Justice

Bethany H. Hoang

The challenges of global injustice can be overwhelming. The pain is real; the violence dark. Many well-intentioned Christians get burned out. What can you do to stay in the game?

Bethany Hoang, director of International Justice Mission‘s IJM Institute, has seen firsthand how spiritual formation can fuel our response to God’s call to justice — from the inside out. At IJM, global justice issues are seen as a catalyst for greater spiritual growth and deeper personal discipleship. Hoang shares the spiritual concepts and practices teams members use to maintain spiritual vitality in the face of the world’s injustices. Honed on the frontlines of the fight for justice, these guideposts for inward journey can propel a disciple outward, empowering the difficult work of justice.

Discover spiritual disciplines for the justice-seeker and renew and invigorate your own justice journey.

This booklet includes questions for group discussion. It is part of Intervarsity Press‘ “Urbana Onward” series of studies designed to help students translate the powerful inspiration of the Urbana missions conferences into meaningful, effective action. Other titles in the series: Pursuing God’s Call, Partnering with the Global Church, Spiritual Warfare in Mission, Your Mind’s Mission, and The Mission of Worship.

Available December 2012. Click here to view on Amazon.com

(Purchase benefits Multiply Justice partner projects)

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