Desegregating Our Hearts—And Pews

Breaking Down Walls: A Model for Reconciliation in an Age of Racial Strife,by Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein (Moody, 241 pp.; $14.99, hardcover);More Than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel,by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice (InterVarsity, 238 pp.; $9.99, paper). Reviewed by Edward Gilbreath.

In the wake of the now almost-mythic Rodney King saga, America has been rudely awakened and forced to re-examine the current state of race relations. Among the discoveries is the continued relevancy, some 35 years later, of the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The most segregated hour of America is 11 o’clock on Sunday morning.”

Two recent and remarkably similar books adroitly address race relations in the church, both shedding light and providing hope. Save for the unique personalities of the coauthors, Breaking Down Walls, by Raleigh Washington and Glen Kehrein, and More Than Equals, by Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice, could well be the same book: both are written by a black and white team; both arise from experiences in similar cross-cultural ministries; and both offer thoughtful and challenging strategies for reconciliation during this current wave of racial awareness.

Breaking Down Walls is the more practical of the two books, which may be attributed to its authors’ added years of experience. Washington (an African American) pastors the cross-cultural congregation of Rock of Our Salvation Evangelical Free Church, while Kehrein (who is white) directs the various inner-city services of Circle Urban Ministries. They are partners in a holistic outreach to the Austin community on Chicago’s rough West Side. Part one covers their diverse backgrounds and the circumstances that brought them ...

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