I have not read Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's latest offering, Free to Be Bound: Church Beyond the Color Line, but I want to recommend it nonetheless. My recommendation stems from three premises:
- The bits-and-pieces I have read from Jonathan's other books waiting patiently on my shelf have been both informative and engaging.
- Jonathan lives what he teaches. He and his wife live in intentional community at Rutba House, offering hope and hospitality to neighbors in need. He also serves as a pastor in a local congregation.
- I had the opportunity to hear him speak last October at the annual CCDA conference on this very subject, and I really enjoyed that workshop, his presentation style, his story and the way he graciously interacted with his co-presenter.
An excerpt from his email announcing the publication summarizes his purpose for writing the book:
This wasn't an easy book to write. I struggled to know just how to convey my own journey -to tell the truth about the feelings I've had, the repenting I've done, the demons I've wrestled, and the ways I've failed in trying to make sense of race and the church. Along the way, I received a number of gifts from saints who've gone before me and friends who know the truth of the gospel. It wasn't an easy book to write, but I wrote it out of a deep joy. I believe there is good news for the broken body of Christ today. I don't just believe it. I've seen it. So I'm excited to share my joy with you.
I've started trying to summarize my own history with race and the church, and I hope to have that posted in the next few days to accompany this recommendation.