First as a teacher, then as clergy, Martha Dixon Kearse, a white female minister, struggles to understand the real lessons of racial justice in America—particularly for those people of faith who claim to love everyone—and what work is required of those same white people of faith to make things right. Through the theology of hospitality, Kearse describes how she came to understand her privilege as a white person, the racism built into many institutions—even sometimes in the church—and ways she can speak out against racism without speaking over marginalized voices.
Delay it, do it halfway, ignore it—however we avoid it, the truth is that progress is stymied until the people of the church confront real issues in hard, sincere, painful, revealing, and honest conversations with other Christians, both black and white. Only then can any action occur; only then can the process of true reconciliation move forward.
“Sleeper, awake,” Paul sings, “and the light of Christ will shine on you.” In these personal reflections, Martha tells the story of how she, like Paul, has woken up and had the scales fall from her eyes. In a church culture that loves its willful blindness, this memoir comes from a powerful white lady who has seen the light, and now has an important song to sing.
Author of A Riff of Love: Notes on Community and Belonging
Founder of QC Family Tree
For anyone who wants to do the real work of racial reconciliation, this book is a true, if bracing, gift. Kearse raises up, in searingly honest and often achingly painful ways, the unintentional and unknowing ways in which we often trip ourselves up and the harm we often do to others in the process. She brings a mature faithfulness as a reader of the Bible, a deep grasp of good theology and its comforts and demands, and a fierce love for people, churches, and the Church. Writing not as an outside critic but as a passionate insider willing to share the ways in which she has been “blind, asleep, and useless,” Kearse also gives witness to the possibility of personal transformation that renders us capable of becoming part of God’s transforming work.
—Rev./Rvda. LeDayne McLeese Polaski
Executive Director/Directora Ejecutiva
BPFNA ~ Bautistas por la Paz