Ben Lindsay’s Recently Launched Book About Being Black In A Majority White Church Is Making Waves!
Last week Ben Lindsay, Founder of Power The Fight and Pastor at Emmanuel Church London, launched his new book, We Need To Talk About Race – Understanding The Black Experience In White Majority Churches. The book is largely about his own experiences and is an undeniably necessary read.
I’ll be writing a full book review soon but suffice to say that even the first few chapters cut right to the heart of things in powerful ways as it explores the christian church’s messy history of mishandling race relations, Ben’s personal experiences as a black man growing up in London, and how that relates to the rest of us. All the while holding that in tension with the picture the Bible paints of an impartial God who celebrates diversity in his creation rather than ignoring it. Ben’s central message is that we must all work together to create a truly immersive church community but that is impossible until we start talking about race.
But let’s get back to the event itself! Ben chose an intimate and modern bar space for his book launch and it quickly became apparent that interest in his work was going to outpace the venue capacity. In fact, the room filled up so much that people squeezed into the courtyard so they could still attend. The audience was pretty well mixed between white and BAME attendees. Ben spoke about how he grew up and what sort of racism he encountered in London. Sadly, a prominent part of this story was the racially motivated murder of Stephen Lawrence and the personal impact that had on Ben.
We also got to hear some of the reasoning behind writing the book. This was a particularly hope-filled section as it can often be exhausting trying to open peoples’ eyes to the racism that is prevalent in most aspects of our society. It can be disheartening to discuss these things and see so little change as a result. However, Ben mentioned speaking to one of his elders about race and then giving him the book, Natives: Race and Class In The Ruins Of Empire written by Akala. Apparently the book really changed that elder’s outlook on race. This was an encouragement to Ben that these things really need to be spoken about in the church and that he could share his experience with others through a book as well.
Ben was kind enough to read from his book. Then there was a short Q&A session open to the audience with Ben & Guvna B. This was the real highlight of the event and I wish there had been even more time to tackle these conversations together.
The good news is that Ben’s book isn’t going away anytime soon so you can easily pick up a copy and start digging into this stuff on your own, going through it with a friend, or even start a book group with people from your church! Plus, this isn’t the only event that Ben is running in conjunction with his book launch so there will be other Q&A sessions — to be honest, I’m quite tempted to go along to each of them just to see what the audience asks and to be a part of those important conversations.
Because race has long been an issue largely ignored by the church or, worse still, that the church has used to manipulate and oppress. However, neither of those are acceptable options in today’s society and shouldn’t be acceptable in today’s churches either. Which is why we’re so thankful this book has been written, that there are large communal events happening in various UK cities that will spark discussion, and that with a quick click of a mouse you can send a gift to anyone in your life who needs to address their thinking on race, especially in the church.
You can buy Ben’s book HERE or at your favourite bookstore.