8 Books To Add To Your Faith and Action TBR

Fact, if you read while cooking you’ll be able to read a few more paragraphs vs. cooking only. But you also might burn your food. I will not say anything more about this.

There is a lot to learn about anti-racism, and the great thing about learning is that it gives you an excuse to read a lot of books. My current TBR (to be read) list of books about faith and action is brimming with promising works. I’m excited to share each of these titles and hope you’ll find inspiration for your next read!

Compassion (&) Conviction: The AND Campaign’s Guide to Faithful Civic Engagement 
by Justin Giboney  (Author), Michael Wear (Author), Chris Butler  (Author), Barbara Williams-Skinner (Foreword) 

This one is at the top of my list because the election is 2 months away and outrage culture is at an all time high. Confusion is also at an all time high. I’ve been frustrated with both the “easy” conservative answers that I grew up with and their extreme opposites. Isn’t there a better way to think about faith and politics? Well, yes. Yes there is. Enter this book. Here’s what the publisher has to say:

Have you ever felt too progressive for conservatives, but too conservative for progressives?
Too often, political questions are framed in impossible ways for the faithful Christian: we’re forced to choose between social justice and biblical values, between supporting women and opposing abortion. As a result, it’s easy for Christians to grow disillusioned with civic engagement or fall back into tribal extremes. This state of affairs has damaged Christian public witness and divided the church.
The authors of this book represent the AND Campaign, which exists to educate and organize Christians for faithful civic and cultural engagement. They insist that not only are we called to love our neighbors through the political process but also that doing so requires us to transcend the binary way the debates are usually framed. In simple, understandable language, they lay out the biblical case for political engagement and help Christians navigate the complex world of politics with integrity, from political messaging and the politics of race to protests, advocacy, and more. The book includes a study guide for classroom use and group discussion.
When we understand our civic engagement as a way to obey Christ’s call to love our neighbor, we see that it is possible to engage the political process with both love and truth―compassion and conviction.”

Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics 
by Eugene Cho  (Author) 

Again, this one is on the list because of its timeliness. It’s relevant right now to the outrageously outraged discourse that saturates our social media feeds. Time is running out to talk about the election. Time is not running out to redeem how we talk and encourage others to do the same. From the publisher:

In Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics, Cho encourages readers to remember that hope arrived—not in a politician, system, or great nation—but in the person of Jesus Christ.

With determination and heart, Cho urges readers to stop vilifying those they disagree with—especially the vulnerable—and asks Christians to follow Jesus and reflect His teachings. In this book that integrates the pastoral, prophetic, practical, and personal, readers will be inspired to stay engaged, have integrity, listen to the hurting, and vote their convictions.

“When we stay in the Scriptures, pray for wisdom, and advocate for the vulnerable, our love for politics, ideology, philosophy, or even theology, stop superseding our love for God and neighbor.”


“Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice” by Brenda Salter McNeil  (Author), Eugene Cho (Foreword)

“Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice” by Brenda Salter McNeil  (Author), Eugene Cho (Foreword)

From the publisher: “We can see the injustice and inequality in our lives and in the world. We are ready to rise up. But how, exactly, do we do this? How does one reconcile? What we need is a clear sense of direction.
Based on her extensive consulting experience with churches, colleges and organizations, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil has created a roadmap to show us the way. She guides us through the common topics of discussion and past the bumpy social terrain and political boundaries that will arise.
In this revised and expanded edition, McNeil has updated her signature roadmap to incorporate insights from her more recent work. Roadmap to Reconciliation 2.0 includes a new preface and a new chapter on restoration, which address the high costs for people of color who work in reconciliation and their need for continual renewal.”

Rally: Communal Prayers for Lovers of Jesus and Justice 
by Britney Winn Lee (Author)

A book of powerful prayers for injustice designed to be prayed in community? Sign me up. I often find myself without words when I go to pray about these deep, vast issues. I’m looking forward to using these passionate ones. Here’s what the publisher says:

Rally is a prayer book for faith communities searching for words to respond to the injustices around them. It’s a prayer book for Christian activists who believe in putting feet to their prayers. The book supplies words for concerned Christians who yearn to lift their voices to God about such issues as racism; the abuse of power and privilege; mistreatment of migrants and refugees; lives tragically lost; our violent society; white supremacy; and people being marginalized because of their gender, ethnic identity, sexual orientation, or economic status….“Lord, stir us up to holy action,” cries this powerful book. Rally spurs people to compassionately continue the important work of loving God and neighbor until all of God’s people feel safe and seen.

Reading While Black: African American Biblical Interpretation as an Exercise in Hope 
by Esau McCaulley 

Ahhh, I can’t wait to dive into this one. The more I’ve realized the extent to which racial context influences our Biblical interpretations, the more I crave understanding how people of color understand passages I’ve only ever seen one way. From the publisher:

At a time in which some within the African American community are questioning the place of the Christian faith in the struggle for justice, New Testament scholar McCaulley argues that reading Scripture from the perspective of Black church tradition is invaluable for connecting with a rich faith history and addressing the urgent issues of our times. He advocates for a model of interpretation that involves an ongoing conversation between the collective Black experience and the Bible, in which the particular questions coming out of Black communities are given pride of place and the Bible is given space to respond by affirming, challenging, and, at times, reshaping Black concerns. McCaulley demonstrates this model with studies on how Scripture speaks to topics often overlooked by white interpreters, such as ethnicity, political protest, policing, and slavery.
Ultimately McCaulley calls the church to a dynamic theological engagement with Scripture, in which Christians of diverse backgrounds dialogue with their own social location as well as the cultures of others. Reading While Black moves the conversation forward.

Reconstructing the Gospel: Finding Freedom from Slaveholder Religion
by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove 

From the publisher:
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove grew up in the Bible Belt in the American South as a faithful church-going Christian. But he gradually came to realize that the gospel his Christianity proclaimed was not good news for everybody. The same Christianity that sang, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound” also perpetuated racial injustice and white supremacy in the name of Jesus. His Christianity, he discovered, was the religion of the slaveholder.
Just as Reconstruction after the Civil War worked to repair a desperately broken society, our compromised Christianity requires a spiritual reconstruction that undoes the injustices of the past. Wilson-Hartgrove traces his journey from the religion of the slaveholder to the Christianity of Christ. Reconstructing the gospel requires facing the pain of the past and present, from racial blindness to systemic abuses of power. Grappling seriously with troubling history and theology, Wilson-Hartgrove recovers the subversiveness of the gospel that sustained the church through centuries of slavery and oppression, from the civil rights era to the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond.
When the gospel is reconstructed, freedom rings for both individuals and society as a whole. Discover how Jesus continues to save us from ourselves and each other, to repair the breach and heal our land.

Unsettling Truths: The Ongoing, Dehumanizing Legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery 
by Mark Charles  (Author), Soong-Chan Rah  (Author)

A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review:

You cannot discover lands already inhabited. Injustice has plagued American society for centuries. And we cannot move toward being a more just nation without understanding the root causes that have shaped our culture and institutions. In this prophetic blend of history, theology, and cultural commentary, Mark Charles and Soong-Chan Rah reveal the far-reaching, damaging effects of the “Doctrine of Discovery.” In the fifteenth century, official church edicts gave Christian explorers the right to claim territories they “discovered.” This was institutionalized as an implicit national framework that justifies American triumphalism, white supremacy, and ongoing injustices. The result is that the dominant culture idealizes a history of discovery, opportunity, expansion, and equality, while minority communities have been traumatized by colonization, slavery, segregation, and dehumanization. Healing begins when deeply entrenched beliefs are unsettled. Charles and Rah aim to recover a common memory and shared understanding of where we have been and where we are going. As other nations have instituted truth and reconciliation commissions, so do the authors call our nation and churches to a truth-telling that will expose past injustices and open the door to conciliation and true community.



How to Fight Racism: Courageous Christianity and the Journey Toward Racial Justice -January 5, 2021
by Jemar Tisby 

This book is available now for pre-order (one of the most important ways you can support an author). If you’ve been around this blog or Facebook page long, you know how I rave about Jemar Tisby. His insight into the the church’s historical relationship with racism is second to none. His first book “The Color of Compromise” ends with a chapter on action, primarily through the ARC model (Awareness, Relationships, Commitment). While the chapter is excellent in itself, it still leaves you craving more understanding of how to be active in anti-racism. Enter this book: that’s what it’s all about! I just cannot wait to hear what he has to say and to put it into practice. You should definitely consider pre-ordering this!

That brings me to the end of my current TBR. Now it’s your turn! When it comes to faith and action, what are some of the books you are excited about reading? Or have already read? Please share them in the comments!

Published by crisannewerner

Stay-at-home mom times 3. Northwesterner turned Midwesterner. Functional introvert. Learning addict. Bibliophile. Jesus follower. Beginner anti-racist. Ready to listen, learn, examine, and change.

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