All God's Children
The more you understand someone's history, the better you can see their humanity. This is true for individuals as well as for society at large. Race relations have suffered because of the erasure of important Black history and cultural context. As we fill in the gaps of our collective knowledge, communities can grow in understanding, empathy, and solidarity.
Terence Lester shares the buried history of the struggles Black people have faced against unjust systems. He tells powerful stories of courage, injustice, pain, and triumph, including ones from his own history. He also unpacks the sociological and cultural dynamics of unconscious bias and inattentional ignorance that keep us apart, and how they can be overcome. This honest account of what it's like to be Black in America paves the way for the church to move beyond showing support from a distance toward loving one another in long-term solidarity, advocacy, and friendship.
"As I joyfully read through Terence Lester's amazing book All God's Children, I realized this was exactly the resource we need for the wilderness season we find ourselves in. . . . As you prepare to read this book, I invite you to open your heart and view All God's Children as a handbook for navigating the wilderness our nation is in. Allow Terence to pastor you in your quest for deeper formation that leads toward greater sight, greater understanding, and ultimately greater love for God and neighbor."
"We belong in God. We belong with each other. And somehow, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, 'We must learn to live together,' or 'we will perish together as fools.' Terence Lester has provided us with some of the ways we can take this journey, and it is up to us to respond with open hearts. He has challenged us to carry the teachings here forward into our everyday lives and live like Christ."
"Terence Lester has a longstanding track record of listening to and standing up for those society would rather forget. This book beautifully, and in some spaces hauntingly, weaves together the story of the unhoused while providing crucial racial analysis that did my soul so much good to read. I think this book deserves a space in classrooms and libraries all across this country."
"I love Terence Lester's mission: 'to ensure that no one feels invisible.' He says that to see someone, to recognize their dignity and know them truly, you have to learn their story and understand their history. We White folks have a centuries-old tendency to bury history that makes us uncomfortable. It's long past time to confront the painful truth of systemic racial injustice in our country. All God's Children isn't a feel-good, let's-all-get-along book, but it's absolutely about love—the kind of love that confronts injustice at every turn. I'm so thankful for Lester and this heartfelt, challenging book."
"Many churches in America struggle with the word justice despite its inextricable link to Christ's ministry. Terence provides a crucial invitation and pathway for today's church to take: come back to Jesus and a more just vocation."
"Terence is one of my favorite voices on the topics of justice and faith. For him, they're inseparable. I'm always grateful for his reminder to move past knowledge and head toward movement; as he says in All God's Children, 'As we bear the loads of others, we become who God meant for us to be.' This book is spiritual formation literature at its finest."
"All God's Children is the companion people of faith need right now. It is vulnerable, courageous, honest, and engaging. Finding a way to be at the same time comprehensive, caring, and challenging, Terence Lester weaves faithful insights and historical context alongside his own personal history and helps us break down the ill-conceived barriers that keep us from living out the solidarity to which God calls us. In a time when competing voices seek to incite our outrage and distrust of one another, Terence's work clears a path and invites us into deeper solidarity and unity with all God's beloved children."
Foreword by Daniel Hill
Introduction: Everyone Has a Story
1. A Past I Could Not Touch
2. A History Few Wanted to Understand
3. God Is Justice
4. Confronting Buried History
5. Unpacking Biases
6. Engaging Differences
7. Engage Your Community
8. Practice Proximity
9. Sit at Another’s Table
10. Break the Silence
Conclusion: Be the Solution
Afterword by Vonnetta L. West