I choose United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity for my Summer Reading because I became Facebook friends with the author, Trillia Newberg and enjoyed her words of encouragement and posts about her family and faith. I wanted to get to know her better but also with so much tension between whites and African-Americans being in the news recently I wanted to read further about God’s view of diversity.
I live outside Baltimore so I was riveted to the TV watching local channels as we saw the rioting and burning, in April. I also lived in South Carolina for 14 years and have been to Charleston many times so I again watched the news about the horrible murders at CHURCH. In both cases Christians came forward. In Baltimore, local pastors were walking through neighbors keeping the peace. Churches came out and helped with the clean-up. In Charleston, the African Methodist Episcopal church set an example by forgiving the gunman.
Trillia Newberg is African-American and married to a white man. Her children are adorable with her daughter having her traits and her son has her husband’s. She wants her children to appreciate their diversity. She asks good questions about why churches today are not diverse and what we can do to change that.
Newberg discusses Imago Dei – “As God’s Image bearers we are all equal. We are all equal in dignity and worth. We are created equally in His image. We are also fallen equally…Understanding our equality as image bearers changes everything we think about our human relationships.” We would do well to remember we are all made in the image of God when we see differences.
I grew up in a small town church that was all white and there were not many African-Americans in our area. After college I attended another church and it too was all white. When I moved to South Carolina there were a few African-Americans in my church and one of them, who also was a Young Life leader, became a dear friend to me and my family. I have had countless young African-American students both in SC and MD and have become close to number of the families. I am thankful for what I have learned from all of them about what it is like being in a minority. I remember when I first taught I was well aware of the different races but now there is such a delightful mix that I hardly notice the racial make-up. I’m glad I have had close African-American friends who have helped me to grow and to understand my own prejudices.
Having friendships with a white and Asian friend helped Newberg to grow in her Christian life. She learned that “being black is a part of my identity, but it isn’t my entire identity.” This book is written in a personal way and I felt like we were sitting around a kitchen table drinking coffee and sharing stories. We need more conversations like that with those who are different from us. The body of Christ includes blacks, whites, Hispanics, Asians and more. We need to work harder to build closer relationships with diverse people.
“God loves diversity. Diversity has been on display from the moment He began creating the world”.
Here is an affiliate link if you would like to order this book. United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity by Trillia J. Newberg