Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

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Overview

A leading advocate for racial reconciliation offers a clarion call for Christians to move toward relationship and deeper understanding in the midst of a divisive culture.

With racial tensions as high within the church as outside the church, it is time for Christians to become the leaders in the conversation on racial reconciliation. This power-packed guide helps readers deepen their understanding of historical factors and present realities, equipping them to participate in the ongoing dialogue and to serve as catalysts for righteousness, justice, healing, transformation, and reconciliation.

Praise for Be the Bridge

Be the Bridge is a must-read. Our country continues to experience increasing polarization and violence. The practical lessons laid out in the book, along with the personal and corporate action steps can bring about the change needed to see true, lasting kingdom restoration. Latasha Morrison is a leader of integrity who lives out the values and principles she presents. In a beautiful blend of history and personal experience, she fills the pages with both the why’s and how’s surrounding racial reconciliation. I highly, highly recommend this book.”—Vivian Mabuni, speaker and author of Open Hands, Willing Heart

“As one of the original members of her first ‘unofficial’ Be the Bridge group, I know that no one can build bridges like Tasha Morrison can. But with this book as our guide, we can certainly learn how to witness humanity, love, and empathy in a whole different light. Tasha has woven her own vulnerable stories into a beautiful testament to what it means to Be the Bridge. This is a must-read!”—Jessica Honegger, founder and co-CEO of Noonday Collection

“There’s much talk about reconciliation—both in our larger culture and in the Church. This is good but if we’re not careful, we’ll end up with much more talking, analyzing, and self-righteous finger-pointing. Certainly, words matter but they seem empty without a deep commitment and embodiment. This is why I’m grateful for Latasha Morrison’s book, Be The Bridge. Morrison has written an incredibly timely and necessary book that's pastoral, prophetic, and practical. But most of all, it’s very personal. In other words, Morrison embodies what she preaches as a genuine bridgebuilder.”—Rev. Eugene Cho, founder of One Day’s Wages and author of Overrated

“Morrison tone’s is firm yet compassionate. . . . Though aimed at church groups, Morrison’s clear-eyed vision will aid any reader trying to understand and overcome systemic, internalized racism.”Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525652885
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/15/2019
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 80,123
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

LATASHA MORRISON is a bridge-builder, reconciler, and a compelling voice in the fight for racial justice. Ebony magazine recognized her as one of their 2017 Power 100 for her work as a community crusader. Tasha has spoken across the country at events that include: IF:Gathering, Justice Conference, Youth Specialties, Catalyst, Orange Conference, MOPS International and many others. A native of North Carolina, Tasha earned degrees in human development and business leadership. In 2016 she founded Be the Bridge to inspire and equip ambassadors of racial reconciliation. In addition to equipping more than 1,000 sub-groups across five countries, Be the Bridge hosts a closed, moderated online community of bridge-builders on Facebook with more than 20,000 members.

Read an Excerpt

1

How We Begin

A Posture of Humility

The professor stood at the front of my African American History class, educating freshmen about the African civilizations prior to the Atlantic slave trade. For the first time, I heard the full story of my heritage beyond slavery, the unwhitewashed truth. And all of it felt so significant to me.

As I listened, a feeling of discomfort set in. Why hadn’t I heard about the African empires—the kings, queens, and ingenuity of the people—prior to college? Why didn’t I learn this in high school? Why didn’t my family teach me? Why had no one introduced me to any of the scores of books on the slave trade?

Sure, I’d been taught simple Black history. “Your ancestors were slaves,” my high school teachers said. “Your ancestors were sharecroppers,” my parents taught me. I knew that before President Lincoln freed the slaves, Harriet Tubman had an underground railroad. I seemed to remember that maybe Frederick Douglass was part of that railroad. I knew Douglass had written a few books and published a newspaper. I knew about the Civil War, but there was a massive hole in my understanding of history. What had really happened between that war and the time when Martin Luther King Jr. marched for expanded civil rights? I didn’t know. And why did America seem so bogged down in racial division and discrimination so many years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed? I couldn’t quite say, at least not before I took that class.

I listened to my professor at East Carolina University share the unfiltered history, and as I received this fuller truth about African culture and my African American heritage, something shook loose. Why was I so uncomfortable with hearing this?

Underneath my shame and embarrassment, I felt ignorant. Ignorant of the historical context of my people. Ignorant of my own roots. I wondered how the White students in the class felt. Did they feel as ignorant as I did? Were they filled with embarrassment and shame by what their ancestors did to my people?

That history was part of our truth, the richness of the African cultures before the institution of the slave trade by White colonialists. It was a sort of shared history, even though my ancestors and the ancestors of the White students had been on opposites sides of a divide. Now we were together, facing the full truth of our past, and it was awkward for all of us.

When we lack historical understanding, we lose part of our identity. We don’t know where we came from and don’t know what there is to celebrate or lament. Likewise, without knowing our history, it can be difficult to know what needs repairing, what needs reconciling. As I sat in the class, I realized I had a lot to learn about my ancestral identity, about our collective history, and about the history of our country. And over the course of that semester, as I discovered more about where I came from and who I am, a sense of pride began to well up. I realized my very existence was a miracle in the making. I came from brave people, a dignified people, a resilient people. I came from a significant people, and this made me significant. As I learned more and more about the injustices wrought against my ancestors, I began to realize that we deserved justice. This realization awakened within me indignation, pain, and a holy discontent.

This holy discontent intensified after I graduated from college and began my career in corporate America. I worked for a predominantly White Fortune 500 company in Atlanta, an office in which very few people understood the history of Black America, much less the full implications of our country’s discriminatory past. When I later moved to Austin, Texas, in 2012 to join the staff of an almost entirely White church with an almost entirely White staff, that holy discontent reached a boiling point.

As I became friends with church and staff members, I began to see our historical and cultural disconnection. We had different worldviews, experiences, and perspectives. I’d come to learn the ways the White church in America had perpetuated slavery, segregation, and racism. I had learned how so many churches used and abused Scripture to justify the practices, how some denominations even split over slavery. (The Southern Baptist Convention, for instance, was formed in 1845 as a result of a split within the Baptist denomination over whether or not slave owners could serve as missionaries.) My White friends had no connection with my heritage, had no idea how much had been taken from my people when we were sold into slavery. For the most part, they didn’t understand the heritage of racism baked into their own social and cultural structures, including their church.

It was a good church, full of good people, but I came to realize that I was the first and only African American person many of them had ever worked with. As a person of color, I’d integrated within their majority culture. I had become familiar with their movies, music, and fashion. I listened to contemporary Christian music and was familiar with what some of my Black friends call “White worship.” You know it: the moody guitar-driven music that sounds like Coldplay. I watched Friends, The Office, Gilmore Girls, and even the Hallmark Channel. I was comfortable and familiar with White culture, but they’d never had to learn about the history or culture of my people. If I quoted a line from The Color Purple or Doug E. Fresh, my friends were lost. And because I was the only Black person in so many of their lives, I became the go-to source for answers to all their questions about hair and music and all things Black. It felt as if people had saved all their “ask a Black person” questions for me, and they unloaded until it almost drove me insane.

But being the point person for all things African American wasn’t the only thing that led to my deepening disillusionment. A racial disconnect and a surprising level of ignorance about the divisions between our cultures was deeply rooted in the way they did church, and the more I encountered it, the more broken my heart became. Church leaders were slow to acknowledge, let alone lament, the continuing racism in our country. They didn’t have any understanding of the prevalence of police brutality against brown bodies in our country or how so many of my Black brothers are pulled over simply for being Black in a White neighborhood. They equated working hard with success, and they dismissed the reality of systemic issues that create barriers for people of color. They’d never been followed in a department store for being Black, never been stopped and questioned simply for walking down the street. They had always been given the benefit of the doubt, believed to be innocent until proven guilty. They couldn’t see the privileges they enjoyed simply because of the rules set by White society. And sometimes church leaders even referred to non-White communities with terms like they, them, and those people.

The longer I worked in the church, the more I came to see that it wasn’t a credible witness for racial reconciliation. This wasn’t true of only that local congregation, either. As I spoke with my Black friends across the country, I came to understand just how divided the non-White culture and majority-culture churches are. But why is it this way?

I began to ask questions of and have conversations with my White friends within the church about this topic, and as I did, I found that many were oblivious to the full scope of American history and its multicultural realities. With that realization, I made a conscious decision: I’d do my best to build a bridge between the majority and non-White church cultures. That bridge might open space for my White friends to better understand my history, culture, and experience and would provide room for my non-White culture friends to share their pain. I didn’t know exactly where to start, so I started simply. I invited my White friends to watch the movie based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel The Color Purple.

As I stretched deeper into this bridge-building process, a few friends joined with me and we formed a racial-reconciliation discussion group. We came together under an umbrella, the shared idea that we could and must do better, and doing better meant showing up to listen and learn. We met once a month to discuss racial tensions in America. Around our reconciliation table, I shared about the history of racism in American Christianity and challenged us to remove the words them, those, and they from our vocabularies, at least in reference to people who represent a different culture from our own. I asked my friends to explore their own family histories, the ways they might have been complicit in racism. Together, we talked, laughed, cried, ate, and prayed. Sometimes we alternated formal meetings with social events to get to know one another in more casual contexts. We pushed deeper into reconciliation and relationship, and as we did we found we understood one another a little better. That understanding brought such healing.

A few months into our meeting, the landscape of American race relations was exposed. Ferguson, Missouri, erupted with violent protests in the wake of the fatal shooting of an eighteen-year-old Black man, and the surrounding events would shape many of us in the group. Many of my new friends had never before been proximate with an ethnically diverse group. And so as we had hard and raw conversations about Michael Brown, policing, and Black lives, space opened for anger, grief, and empathy. Many of my White friends admitted that if it wasn’t for the group, they might have ignored the context or dismissed the events of Ferguson. Attending the monthly circles ensured they wouldn’t remain silent, wouldn’t be complicit. As they became aware of racial injustice and the history of discrimination, it become impossible for them to turn a blind eye.

These conversations set the stage for the launch of Be the Bridge, an organization committed to bringing the reconciliation power of the gospel to the racial divide in America. As we’ve replicated our reconciliation conversations in hundreds of groups across the nation and beyond, I’ve watched people awaken to the realities of the racial divide and their personal racial illiteracy. I’ve seen them go from living in hard-hearted denial to leading movements toward reconciliation. I’ve seen them awaken to the work of the Lord in their lives.


Understanding Begins with the Right Posture

If you’ve picked up this book, chances are you’re interested in the work of racial reconciliation. I’m glad you’re here. Before we start, please understand this: the work of racial reconciliation requires a certain posture. If you’re White, if you come from the majority culture, you’ll need to bend low in a posture of humility. You may need to talk less and listen more, opening your heart to the voices of your non-White brothers and sisters. You’ll need to open your mind and study the hard truths of history without trying to explain them away. You’ll need to examine your own life and the lives of your ancestors so you can see whether you’ve participated in, perpetuated, or benefited from systems of racism.

If you’re Black, Latinx, Asian, Native American, or part of any other non-White group, you’ll need to come with your own posture of humility, though it will look different from that of your White brothers and sisters. In humility, you might need to sit with other non-White groups and learn their stories. You might need to confess the ways you’ve perpetuated oppression of other non-White people. People of color may need to confess internalized racism and colorism. You’ll need to correct and instruct when necessary and will need to recognize the effort of those trying to cross the bridge, even if imperfectly. After all, the work of racial reconciliation is anything but perfect.

If we come together in the posture of humility, we can start to bridge the racial divide. A bridge that lifts up marginalized voices. A bridge of voices that is about equity of marginalized voices, not equality. How do I know? Because I’ve witnessed it.

Since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014, the racial divide in America has only gotten worse. We’ve seen a rise in white nationalism in the media. We’ve heard government officials use language that, to minorities, sounds racially coded. But even though the country is more racially divided than ever, bridge builders are meeting in Be the Bridge groups across America. Week after week, I hear their stories. People of all ethnicities are coming together. They’re learning, growing, and even worshipping together in the spirit of John 17, a spirit of multiethnic unity.

God is inviting all of us to be active participants in racial reconciliation, to show the world that racial unity is possible through Christ. So, in the pages to come, I’m inviting you to journey with me toward racial reconciliation. I hope that as you do, you’ll engage with the prayers that conclude each chapter and use them to form your own prayers. And after each of the three major sections of the book, let the liturgies draw you deeper into God’s heart for reconciliation.

Ultimately, I pray you’ll join a movement of bridge builders who are fighting for oneness and unity, not uniformity, in “such a time as this.”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

1. Have you studied the history of non-White cultures in America and how those cultures came to be here? If so, what books and articles have you read and what videos and documentaries have you watched about the history of those cultures prior to their forced migration?

2. Describe some of the books you have read, films you have watched, or art you have admired that were produced by individuals of a different ethnicity than yours.

3. Do you approach conversations of racial reconciliation as if you have all the answers? Do you approach those conversations with a willingness to be corrected? What do you think it looks like for participants to approach those conversations in humility?

4. Are you committed to leaning in to this book, to reading each chapter and answering the questions, even when it’s difficult?


A Prayer for Humility

Lord, we ask that the words of this book fall on the soil of our hearts. Come into our brokenness and our lives with your love that heals all. Consume our pride and replace it with humility and vulnerability. Allow us to make space for your correction and redemption. Allow us to bow down with humble hearts, hearts of repentance. Bind us together in true unity and restoration. May we hear your voice within the words of these pages. Give us collective eyes to see our role in repairing what has been broken. Allow these words to be a conduit for personal transformation that would lead to collective reproduction.

—Latasha Morrison

Reading Group Guide

1. 1. Have you studied the history of non-White cultures in America and how those cultures came to be here? If so, what books and articles have you read and what videos and documentaries have you watched about the history of those cultures prior to their forced migration?

2. Describe some of the books you have read, films you have watched, or art you have admired that was produced by individuals of a different ethnicity than yours.

3. Do you approach conversations of racial reconciliationas if you have all the answers? Do you approach those conversations with a willingness to be corrected? What do you think it looks like for participants to approach those conversations in humility?

4. Are you committed to leaning in to this book, to reading each chapter and answering the questions, even when it’s difficult?

2. 1. Is truth important on the Christian journey? Explain your answer.

2. Why do we sometimes try to suppress truth? What motivation might be at work when we avoid engaging with truth?

3. List at least two scriptures that call us to a common and shared memory of our faith.

4. Why is it important to be familiar with historical events?

5. List three historical facts related to our nation’s racial history that you learned outside school.

6. Why does the process of bridge building begin with awareness?

7. Discuss some ways we can become more aware of our racial history.

3. 1. Read Lamentations 3:22–23. How does God come to our rescue through mourning?

2. How is reconciliation linked to acknowledgment and lament?

3. What do you need to acknowledge as it relates to our racial history?

4. Was anything in this chapter new information for you? If so, please explain.

5. What are you currently lamenting related to our racial history?

6. What connections do you find between Deanna’s story and your own life?

7. Consider researching your family tree and discovering any role your ancestors played in systemic racism or abolition.

4. 1. Reflect on Ezra 9:5–8. Why was Ezra ashamed and disgraced for an act he wasn’t guilty of?

2. Have you ever been ashamed on behalf of someone else’s sin? If so, describe the situation.

3. What historical guilt was Ezra recalling in verse 7?

4. How can experiencing communal guilt be an opportunity to pursue righteousness?

5. Do you agree that as Christians, we bear a burden of guilt for the collective sins of our nation? Why or why not?

6. How do you handle personal feelings of shame and guilt? Do you allow yourself to feel the guilt and shame? Do you confess it? Or do you bury those feelings?

7. Reflect on your cultural upbringing. Were you raised in a more collective communal community or a more individualistic one? How was this evidenced?

8. How does your cultural background affect the way you process shame and guilt?

9. What purpose can communal shame and guilt serve as they relate to redemption and restoration?

5. 1. In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, he wrote, “He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. But it is the grace of the Gospel, which is so hard for the pious to understand, that it confronts us with the truth and says: You are a sinner, a great, desperate sinner; now come, as the sinner that you are, to God who loves you.” What does he mean about being utterly alone? And what changes when we embrace the grace of the gospel?

2. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” Why is it important for us to confess our sins to one another? How does this differ from confessing our sins to God?

3. Name some historical examples of confession leading to repentance. What about times in your own life?

4. One of the major fears about confession is wondering what others will think of us. What do you fear your confessions will lead others to conclude about you? How do you think others might respond to seeing the real you?

5. How is confession an application of the gospel? What scriptures support this belief?

6. If confession isn’t optional in our faith, why has the church found it difficult to confess its racist past in many cases? How could the church lead the culture and set the example in what confession as a step toward reconciliation can look like?

7. List specific historical injustices the US and other countries need to confess.

8. Describe a personal experience you’ve had with racism or colorism. How does that experience, or retelling it, highlight for you the value of confession?

6. 1. Name a time or two that you refused to extend forgiveness to those who hadn’t asked. What was your reasoning?

2. What are some ways that forgiveness has been demanded from the racially marginalized in our communities? List them and talk with a diverse group of friends about the short-and long-term effects of this expectation.

3. List three reasons forgiveness should never be demanded.

4. Do you believe forgiveness primarily benefits the person who has been harmed? Why or why not?

5. How do you know when you have forgiven someone for something?

6. Examine your life. What specific to racism, colorism, or other forms of prejudice and discrimination do you need to be forgiven for? Who might you need to call or visit and ask for forgiveness?

7. Now consider those you might need to forgive. Consider particularly those you might need to forgive for their participation in racism or structural privilege. Consider the Dylann Roofs of the world. Consider the Judge Gosnells of the world. Consider the well-meaning people who’ve been blind to structural privilege too, folks like Brooke Park. What would it look like for you to choose forgiveness?

8. Confession of sin by the perpetrators and forgiveness of sin by those who have been sinned against are both indispensable in the process of racial reconciliation. Discuss what you think would happen if either of these was lacking. What changes about the relational dynamic when both are present?

7. 1. What is your greatest hindrance or barrier to recognizing your own sin? How can you overcome it?

2. Why are we so often blind to our own sins but fully aware of the sins of others?

3. A. W. Tozer wrote, “Repentance is a wound I praywe may all feel.” What do you think Tozer meant by repentance being a wound?

4. In what ways might self-preservation or personal pride get in the way of your moving forward in racial reconciliation and repentance?

5. What are some of the realities we as a country need to repent of in the area of racial injustice? What would true repentance look like at an individual level? Within the local church? At a cultural or governmental level?

6. What is one thing you can do to make sure these conversations we’ve been having about race don’t stop with this book or this study?

7. What tangible acts of repentance do you need to make?

8. 1. How is the desire to make reparations, in the way Zacchaeus expressed, different from guilt? How is reparation related to the concepts of equality and equity?

2. What could reparations look like in the context of the racial dynamics of America?

3. For racial reconciliation to happen within the American church, what are some of the costs the majority culture will need to pay? What price will communities of color have to pay?

4. What is the risk of not making reparations?

5. What would reparations look like in your church? At your work? In your neighborhood?

9. 1. Restorative reconciliation, particularly in the context of racial reconciliation, is primarily about repairing relationships between the parties. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?

2. Who should take the first step in restorative reconciliation: the offending party or the wounded party? Explain your answer.

3. In the gospel of John, we see Jesus restoring both Peter and Thomas, both of whom had denied him in some way. What observations can you make about the way Jesus acted to restore the relationship with both?

4. What obstacles do you see to restorative reconciliation in our country, your state, your community, and your church?

5. What are some positive signs you’ve observed that confirm that racial reconciliation is possible?

6. Thinking through the previous chapters, where do you think the reconciliation process most often gets hijacked? Why do you think people so rarely make it to the work of restoration?

7. What personal relationship could you work to restore? Is there a specific systemic, structural, or governmental system that’s broken and in which you could engage to bring restorative reconciliation? Make a list of those relationships, those systems, those structures, or those governmental systems, and begin brainstorming ways to open restorative space.

10. 1. Historically, what are some ways the transmission of ideas and values has shifted cultures and communities?

2. Why does reproduction matter in the work of racial solidarity and racial reconciliation?

3. Take the time now to write a plan of reproduction, whether it’s starting your own Be the Bridge group, making a strategic plan of action after participating in a group, or simply sharing with a specific person what you’ve learned from reading this book. Remember that the work of reconciliation—work that we’ve been called to according to 2 Corinthians 5:11—requires a lifestyle commitment to reproduction.

4. How do you plan to help your friends, family, and church members understand the work of racial reconciliation? How do you plan to reproduce people who lean into that work?

5. List people you will follow on social media or books you will read to continue your learning, to help you along your own path to racial reconciliation.

6. What could reproduction look like for your church and community?

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Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Kelly Hodgkins 17 days ago
“The truth is that each ethnicity reflects a unique aspect of God’s image. No one tribe or group of people can adequately display the fullness of God.“ - From Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison Latasha Morrison, in her book Be The Book, shares her journey with racism highlighting key steps she’s taken to find forgiveness and reconciliation. She reflects back on the trauma, discusses the present struggles and then tackles how we can work together going forward, in unity, all from Biblical perspective. “In fact, Paul emphasized that unity can be found in diversity. We all have been given different gifts; we all are different parts of the same body. In the love of the family of God, we must become color brave, color caring, color honoring, and not color blind. We have to recognize the image of God in one another. We have to love despite, and even because of, our differences.” - From Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison The book is broken into three parts and ten chapters. Part one, The Bridge to Lament, tackles the history of racism particularly focusing on America. Through the stories of those who lived through the slave trade, Latasha corrects perspectives on what happened, invites the reader to empathize with the suffering and then calls on us all to lament. To mourn, as fellow humans, the pain we inflicted on one another, asking God for His forgiveness. The stories are heartbreaking and hard to read, that such atrocities were a part of life is chilling. Latasha doesn’t try and beat the reader with it but carefully illustrate a point. Using the Biblical stories to show how to lament on behalf of a community, of a people, she offers a way to grieve the past to bring healing whilst admitting the truth of what happened. “Bridge builders don’t deny hurt. They experience it. Sit in it. Feel it. But they don’t stay in that pain. They don’t allow those who’ve wounded them to control them or constantly drive them back to anger and resentment. Instead, they allow that pain to continually push them into forgiveness.” - From Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison Part two, The Bridge to Confession and Forgiveness, discusses what roadblocks stop reconciliation, namely shame and guilt. The healing process is complex enough when it’s in the present day but working through pain inflicted over centuries, indoctrinated into culture and used by those involved to continue the division of people feels overwhelming and bewildering. By giving voice to the struggles of all the sides of the problem, Latasha shines light, hope and understanding. Drawing on her own experiences, the discussions held in her Be The Bridge sessions, and the Bible, she walks the reader through how to work through these emotions to allow healing to begin. She continues onto forgiveness, how to receive it and give it. Part three, The Bridge to Restorative Restoration, encourages the reader to action, to repentance, making amends and reconciliation. The suggestions made are practical, small and not intimidating. Latasha shares the positive changes she’s seeing and instills hope in what can be acheived. “But you can identify racial wrongs in the world around you and take one step toward making them right.” - From Be The Bridge by Latasha Morrison It is not an easy read, but in picking up Be The Bridge, I didn’t expect it would be. Racism is so harmful, so dark, so divisive, my temptation is to hide from it and focus on the good in the world. Latasha’s book reminded me why that isn’t how w
Meg Baatz 23 days ago
If you're a Christian who is white, wanting to care about race and racial reconciliation, but you don't know where to start, START HERE! Latasha Morrison is compassionate, gentle, and will bring you up to speed. Here are a few aspects of the content I found meaningful: 1) Latasha Morrison addresses topics from American history like slavery, lynchings, and massacres – including things I never grew up learning in school. She made me realize how racial segregation in Christian churches; modern shootings of young innocent black lives; and intentional disregard for Black history and culture in the Church is absolutely connected to our nation's past. We can't run from the past, white brothers and sisters! We have an opportunity to learn and understand our place in history – and ultimately, in God's great story of redeeming sinful humankind, reconciling us to Himself. 2) Morrison discusses how she experiences being a black woman in primarily white churches – showing us (white Christians) glimpses of roadblocks to racial unity that we often aren't even aware of. She talks about the need for people of color and caucasian people alike to acknowledge, lament, and feel the weight of the shame and guilt of sins and evil committed by people like you and me (often our ancestors). As a white evangelical, I grew up not appreciative of the place of lament. Through this book, I learned that just about every biblical prophet took part in intentional lament over corporate sin! And God encouraged people even to corporately repent and turn from their historic past – not by just doing nothing, but by becoming a healing balm to wounds that remained open from past generations. Wow. 3) Latasha Morrison leveled the playing field. Though she didn't have to, she owned up to places in her life where she internalized a value of light skin and a devaluing of those with darker skin. If even a black woman can grow up with such a bias of colorism, how much more do we (white women and men) likely grow up valuing our a certain skin tone, music style (even in worship music), culture, etc. in ways that influence who we place around us and who is absent? This has complex implications. Instead of running from them or shaming/blaming ourselves, Morrison encourages us to acknowledge these things and call them by name so we can repent from devaluing biases and not let them continue to control our thinking and speaking. 4) Latasha is gentle and believes through Jesus Christ that the church can become a witness of the reconciliation, diversity, justice, mercy, hope, and unity that mark God's kingdom. Because she so believes in God's power through broken people, she challenges us to Be The Bridge to racial reconciliation! White people are NOT disqualified from this work; we are NEEDED! We need to educate ourselves and pursue spaces – like the ones she has made through Be The Bridge groups – where we can become humble, confident, and effective bridge builders. Morrison does not shy away from this challenge at the end of her book. We are not only to read; we are to act toward seeing God's heart in the church. I honestly can't think of many books more necessary for America in 2019. Jesus changes the world by getting a small group of people to care about God's purposes for "every tribe, tongue, and nation." Today, it's no different. We will change the conversation on race through small groups of people caring about people who are different from them. Start here: Buy this book!
RadicalAbandonment 28 days ago
This book was a learning experience in the best way. I have lived in relative ignorance, silence, and white privilege my entire life and it’s time for me to change! I learned new and often disturbing facts in chapter after chapter. Latasha Morrison offers strength and forgiveness to the conversation as she reveals her own journey. She is the founder of the organization by the same name, Be the Bridge which is “committed to bringing the reconciliation power of the gospel to the racial divide in America.” The subtitle of the book, “Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation” is a wake up call to the Christian church. Each chapter ends with questions for reflection and discussion and each section contains a liturgy that can be used with a group to perhaps formalize the commitment on the path of reconciliation. Make no mistake, this may be personally challenging but may also be the most life changing book you read this year.
Cbrowniemama 28 days ago
In her first book, LaTasha boldly leads in grace and truth, creating space for a national race conversation that is historically and currently fraught with ignorance, tension, and dismissal. In order to uproot the complicity of racism in the Church and live in the unity Christ offers, we must heed Tasha's charge and press into our own implicit bias and prejudice. I so appreciate Tasha's ability to write a book that is both an "on ramp" for the pricked hearts of beginners as well as a call to action for anti-racist sojourners. Give this book to your family, your neighbors, your educators, and your pastors, and open your heart to being the bridge.
Anonymous 28 days ago
This is an incredibly important book for such a time as this. Though conversations around racial reconciliation are trending, Latasha Morrison grounds the conversation in scripture and gives an in-depth and practical perspective of what reconciliation entails. She takes the reader through clear steps along the path to reconciliation. Her writing is engaging and easy to read but the concepts are a challenging call to action. She used personal stories from her own life and the lives of other bridge builders to show practical application. She tells the truth with grace and compassion, inviting the reader along in the difficult but rewarding, transformative journey of racial reconciliation. I received an advance reader copy of this book.
Fayelle 28 days ago
A unique book of its kind. Morrison is excellent at approaching this subject with knowledge, kindness, strength, and conviction. I felt often like I was reading a letter from a friend rather than just a book. This one's a treasure.
EmilyBoyMom 28 days ago
Racial reconciliation is a topic that's not easy, nor could you cover everything necessary in one book. However, I did find "Be The Bridge" to be a book that can begin to turn the tide towards a hopeful understanding. LaTasha Morrison is the founder of "Be The Bridge," a group that encourages people of all races and cultures to come together to work towards reconciliation. Morrison begins the book with history that many have never heard in school. She discusses not only white and black issues but also the colorism that affects the black community internally. Each chapter has a specific focus, which I found helpful. There are three main parts to the book: Part 1- The Bridge to Lament, Part 2- The Bridge to Confession and Forgiveness and Part 3-The Bridge to Restorative Reconciliation. This is not a book to read quickly, as there are many things to ruminate on, pray over and learn from. I think this book would be best used in conjunction with a Be The Bridge group, but it could also be useful for individuals to learn from on their own, as well, as some areas may not have the availability to participate in a group (yet). This is hard work, so do not be afraid, but prepare your heart to receive the message within. Here are a few quotes from the book that I highlighted: "When we lack historical understanding, we lose part of our identity. We don't know where we came from and don't know what there is to celebrate or lament. Likewise, without knowing our history, it can be difficult to know what needs repairing, what needs reconciling." "If we come together in the posture of humility, we can start to bridge the racial divide. A bridge that lifts up the marginalized voices. A bridge of voices that is about equity of marginalized voices, not equality." "The truth is that each ethnicity reflects a unique aspect of God's image. No one tribe or group of people can adequately display the fullness of God. The truth is that it takes every tribe, tongue and nation to reflect the image of God in his fullness." If you're willing to do the work and take to heart this book that encourages change, courage and understanding, "Be The Bridge" is for you. I was an early reader, thanks to the publisher, and I appreciated the opportunity to read early. All opinions are my own.