Race complicates our relationships, even when we reject racism and seek to walk a better path together. How can we get our thinking—and our conversations—unstuck from entrenched patterns? In this book, four experts in psychology and social work present a model for how to build and deepen the cross-race relationships we want.
The starting place, they testify, must be a biblical understanding of the problem of racial disunity, grounded in the grand narrative of Scripture, followed by practical insights about psychology and social behavior. This book is the culmination of professional—but also deeply personal—conversations the authors have had with each other, wrestling together over current events, their own stories, and their roles in the healing process. They combine biblical teachings with psychological science to help Christians develop the skills to discuss race and ethnicity.
In each chapter, you will be guided through essential information, biblical examples, case studies, activities, and journaling exercises to prepare you to practice healing conversations. Using research from psychology, attachment theory, and emotionally focused therapy, this process will build your knowledge, self-awareness, other-awareness, and specific relational skills.
Jesus embodied love, challenged injustice, welcomed those rejected by society, and engaged in healing conversations with everyone he encountered. The insights and practices in Healing Conversations on Race will help Christians grow in Christlikeness and follow his example.
"Veola Vazquez, Joshua Knabb, Charles Lee-Johnson, and Krystal Hays have written a very helpful and biblically based book that describes their HEAL model for having healing conversations on race focusing on humility, empathy, acceptance, and love. The authors humbly and transparently share their own stories and struggles and provide practical skills and steps for engaging in the process of building racial understanding and unity and overcoming racism. Highly recommended!"
"The history of the church when it comes to race is a mixed bag. Some Christians have done great work to build bridges and work toward racial healing and justice. Others have used their interpretations of the Bible to make things worse. This book is a welcome step in the right direction. The authors bring together their personal and professional experience to provide a practical road map to help Christians who want to become more like Christ and bring about healing in their communities. If that describes you, this book will help light the path."
"The next generation of scholarship in the world of integration (of Christianity and psychology) needs to speak more directly to the problems of everyday life experienced by both Christians as well as non-Christians. And as I reflect on the many social ills of our day, I cannot think of an issue that is more pressing than the topic of race, and I cannot think of a work more compelling than the cultivation of Christ-inspired healing and shalom. I am so pleased to offer my endorsement of Healing Conversations on Race—it is an honest, personal, and practical resource informed by recent scholarship."
"Racism in America today is not the same as it was in the past. Substantial improvements have occurred in the lives of African Americans since the end of forced segregation. Yet enormous racial suspicion, animosity, and confusion remain so that, in some respects, understanding between Whites and people of color has gotten worse. Is there anything followers of Christ can do to make things better? I don't know of a better remedy than the one described in this book. Based on biblical teaching, relationship research, and Christian love, the authors' practical but profound model for promoting racial understanding has great potential to change the church—and maybe even the world—one relationship at a time."
1. Race Relations: The Problem and the Solution
2. Humility: Pursuing Christlikeness
3. Empathy: Sharing Stories and Lamenting Together
4. Acceptance: Embracing Emotions with Christian Disciplines
5. Love: Deepening Relationships Through Christlike Compassion
6. Holding a Healing Conversation on Race: Demonstrating Christlike Humility, Empathy, Acceptance, and Love
7. Continuing the Journey: Your Story and the Grand Narrative of Scripture