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We Need to Talk About Race: Understanding the black experience in white majority churches – Ben Lindsay

SPCK | 186 PAGES | £9.99 | ISBN 978 0 281 08017 5

Brilliant, necessary, overdue and compelling.

This book reminded me of a recent sermon I heard around the time of the 70th anniversary of the arrival of the West Indian immigrants aboard the Windrush; the parents of the preacher encountered the following sign when looking for a place to stay:

No blacks
No Irish
No dogs.

This is a brilliant book that skilfully combines careful biblical thinking, sensitive reflection, personal narrative and prophetic boldness.

This book is necessary because it opens a window on what it really means to be black (or a person of any other colour than white) in the UK. Ben Lindsay outlines the ways in which overt and subtle racism restricts, intimidates, threatens and hurts people who are different.

This is overdue; the author says that he has carried the message of this (book) for years.  Ben Lindsay narrates his own experience of racism encountered in numerous ways from his childhood up; yet he argues that ironically the issue is so obvious that hardly anyone notices.

This book is compelling; the Church in the UK should be grateful to God to Ben Lindsay for writing so clearly, graciously and honestly about this issue. One helpful feature of the book are the prompts at the end of each chapter, urging persons of colour, white church leaders, white church members and everyone else to consider carefully what has been written.

Who should read this book? Every Christian would benefit from reading this account; it might help every reader get on the same page as God. The verse that Ben Lindsey uses to begin this book sums up its message: “For God shows no partiality.” (Romans 2: 11)

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussex

 

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