When St. Louis worship pastor Michelle Higgins praised the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement before the Urbana 2015 audience, not everyone was pleased. The response to her statements exposed a degree of ongoing suspicion between some evangelicals and BLM activists. CT asked Bryan Loritts, pastor of Abundant Life Christian Fellowship in Mountain View, California, to imagine leading a reconciliation gathering with representatives from both camps. Here, he chooses five books to help evangelicals understand the hopes and anxieties of black America.

Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison

Published in 1952, at the height of Jim Crow and the dawn of the civil rights movement, this book remains profoundly relevant. By leaving his lead character nameless, Ellison places his finger on the inhumanity of being treated as anonymous—a low-grade fever that continues to simmer among people of color. If we want to restore humanity for people of color in our institutions and churches, reflecting on Invisible Man is a good place to start.

Oneness Embraced: Through the Eyes of Tony Evans

Tony Evans

Evans was the first African American to earn a doctorate in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. His take on race relations is scholarly, biblical, Christ-centered—and, in the best sense, uncomfortable. He does not shy from the problem of racism or shrink from proclaiming its remedy: the Cross of Christ played out within the local church. Whatever your racial or religious background, you’ll find plenty to agree with—and plenty to make you wince.

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Coates has been called the James Baldwin of our time—a fitting description for an African American whose pen wields a prophetic edge. Written as a ...

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