In April, I had the opportunity to be a guest on the Mortification of Spin with Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd to talk about diversity and the church. It was a great time and they have just posted a link to the podcast (hope you’ll take a listen). In the beginning, they admit that it isn’t a topic that they’ve explored. I was encouraged by their honesty and thoughtful questions. One question stood out to me, though, and as I listened back I remembered why. Trueman began asking me questions about the Black Church. As I listened then and now I’m struck once again by how much I just don’t know. In the interview, I admitted I have no idea but then proceeded to give him a great resource that I pray will benefit him and the whole church: The Front Porch.
I don’t know much about the Black Church because I’ve always attended predominately white churches. As a matter of fact, when you begin to dive into questions on sociology, that’s where the buck stops with me. I have had numerous interviews where I must simply say, I don’t know but here is a resource. A month ago I was discouraged by my lack of knowledge. I felt like a failure and a fraud. How does someone write a whole book on diversity and not know anything beyond theology and the gospel? In my book, I tried to go to experts on those topics but didn’t go in-depth because the book is mainly about the theology of race and the Good News that unites us. But, nonetheless, as I’ve been interviewed I’m undoubtedly asked questions that I simply don’t know.
Today is the first day I’ve been encouraged by my lack of knowledge. I have repented of pride and the fear of man. The Lord kindly reminded me of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 2: 2, “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” That’s what I know and so it’s what I share. I share about the Good News because that’s the only thing I know that can truly unite us. I share about the Good News because, well folks, that’s all I really know. This isn’t an excuse not to gain knowledge about the other important issues and topics in this conversation. I am learning a lot and, as a journalist at heart, it’s my joy to point others to resources and people who actually do know about these things. But at the end of the day, I share about the gospel.
I embrace my limitations and simply say:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16)
I received an email encouraging me about United. In the email she wrote that she “loved my heart” and “passion for diversity.” I starred at my computer for a minute, puzzled. I was definitely thankful for her kind words but what I couldn’t wrap my head around was the ideas that, not only she but many others who have read United, now believe I have a passion for diversity.
Here’s the thing, I don’t have a passion for diversity.
I know that sounds odd coming from someone who just wrote a book about the beauty of diversity in the church, but it’s true. I once had a passion for diversity. Before I became a Christian I longed for diversity—I hoped for equal treatments and rights. But when I became a Christian my desire for diversity changed. Sure, I still longed for it but it was different. I explain this change in United. My desire was no longer for diversity for diversity’s sake.
So, if I don’t have a passion for diversity, why in the world did I write a book about diversity?
I have a passion for the gospel. It is in the gospel that we see people as made in the image of God, uniquely designed by God, and brothers and sisters in Christ. We know that every person who ever lived is made in God’s image, but for the Christian, there is a new family. My desire is that we would see each other as who we really are—brothers and sisters bought with a price.
I think that as we grab hold of what the gospel does to the discussion of race, it is then that we’ll be motivated and stirred to see church communities reflect the family of God. The family of God is diverse. My prayer is that our local bodies and our personal relationships would be too.
If you and I are going to be passionate about something, let’s be passionate about the gospel which transforms not only this conversation but each other.
(Note: The Pastor’s Pursuing Diversity series will continue next week. Feel free to catch up here.)
I’ve gotten wind that a few churches are using United in their adult Sunday schools and small groups as a means of study and discussion. This is deeply encouraging to me. One of my prayers as I completed United was that people would not only read the book, but that it would serve as a catalyst for conversation about race, ethnicity, and the gospel.
Last month, I developed discussion questions to assist the discussion. These questions may be used for personal reflection or in a group setting.
If you’re doing a group study of United or plan to do one, I hope this little resource proves to be useful to you. If you’re reading United but would enjoy thinking through practical application, this is for you!
You can download the discussion questions here.
Also, United is on sale now at Amazon for $2.99 for kindle. Hope you’ll grab a copy!
I woke up this morning and discovered that United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity is on sale for $2.99 at amazon. That is exciting! If you would like the e-book version just swing on over there and pick it up.
Also, here is a video of me sharing about the pursuit of diversity and loving people.
Trillia Newbell: The Pursuit of Diversity from Igniting Women on Vimeo.
Saturday was the “official” release date for United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity! I’m excited about this book because I am convinced of the message. United is not so much a book about diversity as it is about loving others. It is a book about the beauty of diversity in God’s creation and design and how we can fellowship with one another because of the blood of our Savior.
We know that in eternity, people from every tribe and nation will come together. But I think we can start seeing that happen now, in the body of Christ. It amazes me that we are one — brothers and sisters adopted into the family of God. The gospel unites us. It breaks down the barriers that separate us.
I’m praying that we will have a greater vision for what the church could be. That the world will look at the church and see the beauty and diversity of God’s creation. And that they will be amazed by the power of the gospel to make us united.
You can now purchase United via: Amazon, ShopMoody, and other retailers.
Interested in helping spread the word? Here are a few ways:
- Book Review: If you’d like to share your thoughts about United you can do so by writing a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
- Share via social media: You can share links or your thoughts via social media
- Interviews: I am doing several interviews over the next month and would love to chat it up with you. If that interests you feel free to contact Jana Muntsinger. You can learn more here.
United is dedicated to my children. My desire is that one day they would be surprised that their mom would write a book about the beauty of diversity in the church and all of life because it would be so commonplace. This video captures my heart and the book so well.
United: Captured By God’s Vision for Diversity from Igniting Women Books on Vimeo.
Thank you so much for watching! United has released and is available for purchase!