UNITED: CAPTURED BY GOD'S VISION FOR DIVERSITY BOOK REVIEW
“Perhaps we are all tired of the conversation about race. It doesn't take much to recognize that our country continues to be divided along racial lines. Perhaps it seems that the country is moving toward unity, but it’s a facade - just check your local news. And though our society may want to move on we can’t, and neither can or should the church.” (Newbell, 15)
It can be said that many of us feel just like Trilla, tired of racism being a thing. Just like powdered wigs and parachute pants, we want racism to be a thing of the past. Nevertheless, we can not move past it. What I believe Trilla does in her book is show how the church should be able to work through this issue rather than sweeping it underneath the rug. She transparently tells her story of operating through predominantly white churches and friendships in a way that is disarming and gracious.
Trilla expresses so simply what so many have a hard time expressing themselves. Not only that but she also shows the similarity of the struggles of all people regardless of their skin color, while explaining the nuances that are there.
Fear of Man and Acceptance by God
“So I never felt completely unwanted - just never fully a part… I longed to be accepted. I wanted to fit in. I found myself craving the approval of the church members.” (Newbell, 42)
One of the biggest hurdles she talks about having to overcome was the fear of man. It caused her to deny parts of herself God meant for her to express to others. There was wisdom and experiences that she had that no one else had. This is the diversity that the body of Christ needs: people being who God intended them to be. The fear of man only calls us to conform to the image of man, but the fear of God calls each of us to conform to his image. And within the Godhead there is a beautiful vision of unity and diversity.
What is God’s Vision for Diversity?
“True unity is found first through being reconciled to God and then to each other. To walk in that unity arm in arm with people of every tribe and race is to declare to the world that Christ blood is enough for the fight for racial reconciliation.” (Newbell, 63)
Surprise, surprise! There is no true unity without first being reconciled to God through the gospel. This is the hope for us because the gospel does it’s work and we can trust it to unify us to God and one another. The same price was paid for the souls of black folk, brown folks, and white folks. Every tribe and race are bought by the blood of the lamb. Because of the work of Christ reconciling us, we can do the work of cultivating these relationships. The rest of her book will show how she would encourage us to do so.
I have spoiled enough of this book. Trilla is truly encouraging and we can learn much from her. May we take her prayer to heart that “God would give you a radical love for people” (Newbell, 107).
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