Hosting a book discussion? The Media Center recommends the following titles from our collection that will invite conversation about faith and the broader culture including topics such as racism, imperfection, and compassion.
Cokesbury offers free reader’s guides for these books as part of their Faith & Culture book club. You can download the PDFs for free from their website by following the links below.
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These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist church in the North Carolina Conference. We can even mail them to you! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.
Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Gregory Boyle
For twenty years, Father Gregory Boyle has run Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles–also known as the gang capital of the world. In Tattoos on the Heart, he has distilled his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree by James H. Cone
The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk.
Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans
Drawing on the best in recent scholarship and using her well-honed literary expertise, Evans examines some of our favorite Bible stories and possible interpretations, retelling them through memoir, original poetry, short stories, soliloquies, and even a short screenplay. Undaunted by the Bible’s most difficult passages, Evans wrestles through the process of doubting, imagining, and debating Scripture’s mysteries.
Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman
In this classic theological treatise, the acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman demonstrates how the gospel may be read as a manual of resistance for the poor and disenfranchised. Only through self-love and love of one another can God’s justice prevail.
In her ten guideposts, Brown explores how we can cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough, And to go to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am sometimes afraid, but I am also brave. And, yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging.
Wallis offers a prophetic and deeply personal call to action in overcoming the racism so ingrained in American society. He speaks candidly to Christians–particularly white Christians–urging them to cross a new bridge toward racial justice and healing. Probing yet positive, biblically rooted yet highly practical, this book shows people of faith how they can work together to overcome the embedded racism in America, galvanizing a movement to cross the bridge to a multiracial church and a new America.