CBF Book Club
Brown Church: Five Centuries of Latina/o Social Justice, Theology and Identity
By Robert Chao Romero
Interest in and awareness of the demand for social justice as an outworking of the Christian faith is growing. But it is not new. For five hundred years, Latina/o culture and identity have been shaped by their challenges to the religious, socio-economic, and political status quo, whether in opposition to Spanish colonialism, Latin American dictatorships, US imperialism in Central America, the oppression of farmworkers, or the current exploitation of undocumented immigrants. Christianity has played a significant role in that movement at every stage.
Robert Chao Romero, the son of a Mexican father and a Chinese immigrant mother, explores the history and theology of what he terms the “Brown Church.” Romero considers how this movement has responded to these and other injustices throughout its history by appealing to the belief that God’s vision for redemption includes not only heavenly promises but also the transformation of every aspect of our lives and the world. Walking through this history of activism and faith, readers will discover that Latina/o Christians have a heart after God’s own.
I Was Hungry: Cultivating Common Ground to End an American Crisis
By Jeremy Everett
Hunger is one of the most significant issues in America. One in eight Americans struggles with hunger, and more than thirteen million children live in food insecure homes. As Christians we are called to address the suffering of the hungry and poor: “For I was hungry, and you gave me food . . .” (Matthew 25:35). However, the problems of hunger and poverty are too large and too complex for any one of us to resolve individually.
Everett, appointed by US Congress to the National Commission on Hunger, offers not only an assessment of the current crisis but also a strategy for addressing it. He calls Christians to work intentionally across ideological divides to build trust with one another and impoverished communities and effectively end America’s hunger crisis. Everett details tells stories to help Christians of all political persuasions understand how they can work together to truly make a difference.
The Making of Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth
By Beth Allison Barr
Biblical womanhood—the belief that God designed women to be submissive wives, virtuous mothers, and joyful homemakers—pervades North American Christianity. From choices about careers to roles in local churches to relationship dynamics, this belief shapes the everyday lives of evangelical women.
Interweaving her story as a Baptist pastor’s wife, Barr moves the conversation about biblical womanhood beyond Greek grammar and into the realm of church history to show that this belief is not divinely ordained but a product of human civilization that continues to creep into the church. Barr’s historical insights provide context for contemporary teachings about women’s roles in the church and help move the conversation forward
Healing Our Broken Humanity: Practices for Revitalizing the Church and Renewing the World
By Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Graham Hill
We live in conflicted times. Our newsfeeds are filled with inequality, division, and fear. We want to make a difference and see justice restored because Jesus calls us to be a peacemaking and reconciling people. But how do we do this? Based on their work with diverse churches, colleges, and other organizations, Grace Ji-Sun Kim and Graham Hill offer Christian practices that can bring healing and hope to a broken world. They provide ten ways to transform society, from lament and repentance to relinquishing power, reinforcing agency, and more. Embodying these practices enables us to be the new humanity in Jesus Christ, so the church and world can experience reconciliation, justice, unity, peace, and love. With small group activities, discussion questions, and exercises in each chapter, this book is ideal to read together in community. Discover here how to bring real change to a dehumanized world.
White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity
By Robert Jones
As the nation grapples with demographic changes and the legacy of racism in America, Christianity’s role as a cornerstone of white supremacy has been largely overlooked. But white Christians—from evangelicals in the South to mainline Protestants in the Midwest and Catholics in the Northeast—have not just been complacent or complicit; rather, as the dominant cultural power, they have constructed and sustained a project of protecting white supremacy and opposing black equality that has framed the entire American story.
Drawing on history, public opinion surveys, and personal experience, Robert P. Jones delivers a provocative examination of the unholy relationship between American Christianity and white supremacy, and issues an urgent call for white Christians to reckon with this legacy for the sake of themselves and the nation.
CBF Gathering Discussion with Robert Jones
By Alan Gratz
JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .
ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .
MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .
All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers -- from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end.
This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home.
Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering
By Kaitlin Curtice
Native is about identity, soul-searching, and the never-ending journey of finding ourselves and finding God. As both a citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and a Christian, Kaitlin Curtice offers a unique perspective on these topics. In this book, she shows how reconnecting with her Potawatomi identity both informs and challenges her faith.
Curtice draws on her personal journey, poetry, imagery, and stories of the Potawatomi people to address themes at the forefront of today’s discussions of faith and culture in a positive and constructive way. She encourages us to embrace our own origins and to share and listen to each other’s stories so we can build a more inclusive and diverse future. Each of our stories matters for the church to be truly whole. As Curtice shares what it means to experience her faith through the lens of her Indigenous heritage, she reveals that a vibrant spirituality has its origins in identity, belonging, and a sense of place.
A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal
By Sarah Bessey
For the weary, the angry, the anxious, and the hopeful, this collection of moving, tender prayers offers rest, joyful resistance, and a call to act, written by Barbara Brown Taylor, Amena Brown, Nadia Bolz-Weber, and other artists and thinkers, curated by acclaimed author Sarah Bessey.
It’s no secret that we are overworked and edging burnout. Unsurprisingly, this fact is as old as time—and that’s why we see so many prayer circles within a multitude of church traditions. These gatherings are a trusted space where people seek help, hope, and peace, energized by God and one another.
This book celebrates and honors that prayerful tradition in a literary form. A companion for all who feel the immense joys and challenges of the journey of faith, this collection of prayers says it all aloud, giving readers permission to recognize the weight of all they carry. These writings also offer a broadened imagination of hope—of what can be restored and made new. Each prayer is an original piece of writing, with new essays by Bessey throughout.
Encompassing the full breadth of the emotional landscape, these deeply tender yet subversive prayers give readers an intimate look at the diverse language and shapes of prayer.
His Truth Is Marching on: John Lewis and the Power of Hope
By Jon Meacham
John Lewis, who at age twenty-five marched in Selma, Alabama, and was beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, was a visionary and a man of faith. Drawing on decades of wide-ranging interviews, Meacham writes of how this great-grandson of a slave and son of an Alabama tenant farmer was inspired by the Bible and key leaders to put his life on the line in the service of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
Meacham calls Lewis “as important to the founding of a modern and multiethnic twentieth- and twenty-first-century America as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and Samuel Adams were to the initial creation of the Republic itself in the eighteenth century.” A believer in the injunction that one should love one’s neighbor as oneself, Lewis was arguably a saint in our time, risking limb and life to bear witness for the powerless in the face of the powerful. In many ways he brought a still-evolving nation closer to realizing its ideals, and his story offers inspiration and illumination for Americans today who are working for social and political change.
Abuelita Faith: What Women on the Margins Teach Us about Wisdom, Persistence, and Strength
By Kat Armas
Kat Armas, a second-generation Cuban-American, grew up on the outskirts of Little Havana, Miami’s famed Cuban neighborhood. Her earliest theological formation came from her grandmother, her abuelita, who fled Cuba during the height of political unrest and raised three children alone after her husband passed away. Combining personal storytelling with biblical reflection, Armas shows us how voices on the margins—those often dismissed, isolated, and oppressed because of their gender, socioeconomic status, or lack of education—have more to tell us about Christian faith than we realize.
Abuelita Faith tells the story of unnamed and overlooked theologians in society and in the Bible—mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and daughters—whose survival, strength, resistance, and persistence teach us the true power of faith and love. The author’s exploration of abuelita theology will help people of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds reflect on the abuelitas in their own lives and ministries and on ways they can live out abuelita faith in their day-to-day lives.
Becoming Brave: finding the Courage to Pursue Racial Justice Now
By Brenda Salter McNeil
Reconciliation is not true reconciliation without justice! Brenda Salter McNeil has come to this conviction as she has led the church in pursuing reconciliation efforts over the past three decades. McNeil calls the church to repair the old reconciliation paradigm by moving beyond individual racism to address systemic injustice, both historical and present. It’s time for the church to go beyond individual reconciliation and “heart change” and to boldly mature in its response to racial division.
Looking through the lens of the biblical narrative of Esther, McNeil challenges Christian reconcilers to recognize the particular pain in our world so they can work together to repair what is broken while maintaining a deep hope in God’s ongoing work for justice. This book provides education and prophetic inspiration for every person who wants to take reconciliation seriously.
Becoming Brave offers a distinctly Christian framework for addressing systemic injustice. It challenges Christians to be everyday activists who become brave enough to break the silence and work with others to dismantle systems of injustice and inequality.
Love is the Way: Holding on to Hope in Troubling Times
By Bishop Michael Curry
As the descendant of slaves and the son of a civil rights activist, Bishop Michael Curry’s life illustrates massive changes in our times. Much of the world met Bishop Curry when he delivered his sermon on the redemptive power of love at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Windsor Castle. Here, he expands on his message of hope in an inspirational road map for living the way of love, illuminated with moving lessons from his own life. Through the prism of his faith, ancestry, and personal journey, Love Is the Way shows us how America came this far and, more important, how to go a whole lot further.
The way of love is essential for addressing the seemingly insurmountable challenges facing the world today: poverty, racism, selfishness, deep ideological divisions, competing claims to speak for God. This book will lead readers to discover the gifts they need in order to live the way of love: deep reservoirs of hope and resilience, simple wisdom, the discipline of nonviolence, and unshakable regard for human dignity.