Anthony Bradley is the editor of a book gathering scholars from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, and also diverse Christian evangelical backgrounds (more on that later) called Aliens in the Promised Land: Why Minority Leadership is overlooked in White Christian Churches and Institutions. I appreciate the book and the call to encourage minority leadership in the white church, and was intrigued to read a book that would challenge my assumptions of race within the Church. We tend to assume all is well within the evangelical world if our theology is correct, and in my privileged position where I can assume that almost all the leadership and teaching I encounter will not be coming from someone of a different ethnicity that me (more on that later too) its easy to “see no evil” if theology seems sound.
I want to go through the diverse chapters, and record my observations and responses. In many ways I found the book to perhaps scratch the surface in detailing the experience of minorities within white-majority churches. But I’m probably missing something.
I personally connected with some of the issues raised, particularly the tribulations Lance Lewis faced in his ministry in Philadelphia, as I’m a member of the church that started Lewis on the church-planting path. Since he does not view that as a positive experience, I was somewhat surprised, and frustrated to learn that all was not rosy after Tenth set daughter churches loose. I also had a longstanding peripheral connection to issues surrounding C.U.T.S (the Center for Urban Theological Studies) and was intrigued by the intersection of that institution with the stories and issues in the book.
While I have some comments to make about Bradley’s own introduction and afterword, I’ll hold off on that till I go through the other contributor’s chapters. It should be noted that of the book’s 250 pages (including endnotes, ugh), 50 or so pages are taken up with reprinting the LCMS’s Racism and the Church report, a truly excellent report, but it does take up a lot of room in the book.