[On any given Sunday, Redeemer Presbyterian Church's booktable offers much good orthodox reading material, including books by Puritans that would warm the heart of any Reformed person. However, the reading list provided by the church's Racial Unity Ministry contains books featuring potentially inflammatory and even apparently heretical sentiments. We doubt that the suggested books are likely to build genuine unity in the Body of Christ. We are presenting much material from this list so the reader may understand why._Ed.]
Among the "Suggested Resources" recommended by the Racial Unity Ministry "as valuable tools for building unity" are the following:
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This is an autobiographical account of life in the black community of the 1930's in rural Arkansas. Miss Angelou has been a celebrated writer and poet; she was asked by President Clinton to write and recite a poem for his first inaugural.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Among other sentiments, Malcolm X in this book says that the white man has never born the Cross "in the true manner and spirit of Christ's teachings" (p. 178); that "The American black man is the world's most shameful case of oppressed minorities in the world" (p. 180); that Western civilization has ended up on a dead-end street because of the white man's "elaborate, neurotic necessity to hide the black man's true role in history" (p. 182); that "among all Negroes the black convict is the most perfectly conditioned to hear the words, 'the white man is the devil'" (p. 184); that the "white man's Christian religion [was] used to brainwash us black people!" (p. 202); and that "it was a rare one of our black grandmothers, our great-grandmothers and our great-great-grandmothers who escaped the white rapist slavemaster" (p. 204). His change of attitude towards white people as a result of his trip to Mecca was rooted in his belief in Islam's ability to unite mankind (pp. 345-46): ". . . perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man. . . . With racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called 'Christian' white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster_the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves. . . . His Holiness Sheikh Muhammad Harkon himself . . . told me that he prayed that I would be a successful preacher of Islam in America." Malcolm X appealed to a Pan-Africanism in order to put pressure on the United States (pp. 351ff). He was given a state dinner at the Communist Chinese embassy in Ghana, where three "excellent films were shown": the first portrayed the celebration of the Fourteenth Anniversary of the People's Republic of China; the second was on Chinese support for Afro-Americans; the third was on the Algerian Revolution (p. 363). Malcolm X believed that Afro-Americans should press their case regarding oppression before the United Nations; he expressed no surprise when they did not do so, as they had been "brainwashed" into thinking that the problem revolved around "civil rights" rather than being international in scope (p. 370). He also was not surprised that the Negroes would not immediately embrace Islam, because "America's Negroes_especially older Negroes_are too indelibly soaked in Christianity's double standard of oppression" (ibid.). He stated that "[o]nly Islam could keep white Christianity at bay"; and he confidently predicted the end of Christianity (p. 375). In his speeches, he would say, "True Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious, political, economic, psychological, and racial ingredients, or characteristics, to make the Human Family and the Human Society complete" (p. 381). After his pilgrimage to Mecca, he was willing to work with whites to combat white racism (pp. 382-83).
Cornel West, Race Matters. Written by a former professor of religion and the director of Afro-American Studies at Princeton University, and published by Beacon Press (Unitarian-Universalist Association publishing house), this book speaks of the 1992 Los Angeles riot as "justifiable social rage" (p. 1). The author accuses the Republican Party of "playing the black, female, and homophobic cards to realign the electorate along race, sex, and sexual-orientation lines" (p. 6). The "ghastly . . . right-wing cutbacks" of government funds for the poor "are one cause of the nihilist threat to black America" (p. 14). Moreover, "black existential angst derives from the lived experience of ontological wounds and emotional scars inflicted by white supremacist beliefs and images permeating U.S. society and culture" (p. 17). "In white America, cultural conservatism takes the form of a chronic racism, sexism, and homophobia. Hence, only certain kinds of black people deserve high positions, that is, those who accept the rules of the game played by white America. In black America, cultural conservatism takes the form of an inchoate xenophobia (e.g., against whites, Jews, and Asians), systemic sexism, and homophobia. Like all conservatisms rooted in a quest for order, the pervasive disorder in white and, especially, black America fans and fuels the channeling of rage toward the most vulnerable and degraded members of the community. For white America, this means primarily scapegoating black people, women, gay men, and lesbians. For black America, this means principally attacking black women and black gay men and lesbians" (p. 27). "Given the history of this country, it is a virtual certainty that without affirmative action racial and sexual discrimination would return with a vengeance" (p. 64). "Broad redistributive measures require principled coalitions, including multiracial alliances. Without such measures, black America's sufferings deepen. White racism indeed contributes to this suffering. Yet an obsession with white racism often comes at the expense of more broadly based alliances to affect social change and borders on a tribal mentality. The more xenophobic versions of this viewpoint simply mirror the white supremacist ideals we are opposing and preclude any movement toward redistributive goals" (pp. 66-67). "Without some redistribution of wealth and power, downward mobility and debilitating poverty will continue to drive people into desparate channels. And without principled opposition to xenophobias from above and below, these desparate channels will produce a cold-hearted and mean-spirited America no longer worth fighting for" (p. 79). "The major cultural impact of the 1960s was not to demystify black sexuality but rather to make black bodies more accessible to white bodies on an equal basis. The history of such access up to that time was primarily one of brutal white rape and ugly white abuse" (p. 84). "Black sexuality is a taboo subject in America principally because it is a form of black power over which whites have little control_yet its visible manifestations evoke the most visceral of white responses, be it one of seductive obsession or downright disgust" (p. 87). "The prevailing cultural crisis of many black men is the limited stylistic options of self-image and resistance in a culture obsessed with sex yet fearful of black sexuality. This situation is even bleaker for most gay black men who reject the major stylistic option of black machismo identity, yet who are marginalized in white America and penalized in black America for doing so" (p. 89). Black rage should be focused on "any form of racism, sexism, homophobia, or economic injustice that impedes the opportunities of 'everyday people' . . . to live lives of dignity and decency" (p. 104). "Only if we are as willing as Malcolm X to grow and confront the new challenges posed by the black rage of our day will we take the black freedom struggle to a new and higher level. The future of this country may well depend on it" (p. 105).
William Pannell, The Coming Race Wars? A Cry for Reconciliation. The author states, " . . . Nothing in the Reagan-Bush record, either personal or in terms of the Republican party, reveals an ideology of racism such as characterizes David Duke. But the party is about politics, and Republicans, no less than football coaches, know that second place is worse than kissing your sister. Winning is everything, and in the Deep South, where a revival of the Republican Party has clearly been evident, party leaders are slow to jump on the issue of racism. Furthermore, the GOP was not in any position to answer the young candidate on the issues because both Ronald Reagan and George Bush won office by trumpeting the same issues_abortion, welfare, crime, unwed mothers, affirmative action_and appealing to the latent racism of the white working class. The difference is that poor Mr. Duke hasn't yet figured out how to finance fancier speechwriters. Patrick Buchanan was already employed, working on his own version of the same ideology. That ideology is the ideology of white supremacy, and if it does not come across as white supremacist ideology, it is heard as pro-America rhetoric, and that means 'white America.' It can be easily appealed to. All a candidate needs is a black male to target: a Willie Horton" (p. 44). ". . . [U]ltimately, racism in any form is an ideology, which is why it is so difficult to counter with facts. Some of us hear it in the endless rounds of 'Japan bashing' by U.S. automobile executives. The talk is not just about who is making automobiles where" (p. 45). "[George Bush] must bear primary responsibility for exploiting racial attitudes for political gain by elevating a black ex-convict to infamy during the campaign of 1988. Willie Horton thus became a further symbol as to why the country must retain its more civilized roots in Euro-American culture and values. Reagan and Bush's policies were about values. But the values of black people had become suspect" (p. 56). "[Dan] Quayle's role in the Administration was to articulate the party strategy_a strategy that in effect called for bringing the country together by tearing it apart. The effect of his speeches was to pit women against women, rich against poor, employed against the unemployed, the elderly against the young. And he did it for the most part in the guise of family values and morality. Quayle became the point man in a new conservative crusade, a white-washed version of John the Baptist in a Brook Brothers suit calling on common people and 'Murphy Brown' to repent" (p. 60). "If, in a previous time, the racial messages that underlie the political and economic debate were more subtle, today the veneer is off politics. . . . Reagan, Bush, Newt Gingrich et al. may not be older clones of David Duke, but they could teach the young man a lesson or two about how to get elected without changing his positions. So could Jesse Helms, the U.S. Senator from North Carolina who trotted out his racist-oriented tactics when it became clear he could lose the 1990 election to a black man. His political gambit paid off" (pp. 65-66). "The emerging leadership from Koreatown is not only well-trained, but also more experienced in the ways of L.A. politics. There are more women available, and if they can break free from the shackles of an older male-oriented cultural embrace, they will be formidable at every level of city life. Some already are" (p. 76). "Evangelicals have gotten fat along with the rest of white America, and fat people vote conservative, even if in their conferences they incidentally mention something about justice and mercy" (pp. 80-81). "The suburban captivity of mainline and evangelical churches . . . was one reason that leaders in the mainstream black denominations as well as many black evangelical leaders were attracted to the motif of liberation when it first surfaced in the late sixties. . . . Theologians from the South joined their voices to Gustavo Gutierrez', and others added their efforts to rescue theology from the palsied grip of Euro-American scholars and churchmen. A new generation of writers emerged from all this. When they could not find publishers for their insights among establishment houses, they made their way to Paulist Press and Orbis Books, which became the official outlet for disenfranchised theologies and their creators. (The mere mentioning of Orbis Books in some evangelical circles is considered obscene.) The issues then_and those dividing believers today_were and are deep-seated. They go beyond merely reaching different theological conclusions: The divisions represent different hermeneutic starting points. Simply put, the Bible is understood one way in the barrio and quite another in the comforts of suburbia" (pp. 114-45). "The basis for reconciliation between the Jews and other urban tribes is already present in the Jewish experience of oppression and in their long if tortuous relationship with God who delivers and heals. . . . Of course, Christian understandings of the call to reconciliation, along with everything else in evangelical theology, is grounded in the Jewish Scriptures. Thus the groundwork for reconciliation has been laid out for centuries. What is needed today_more than ever_is the willingness of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews in urban America to accelerate the conversations of recent years and tie them to new activities to reinforce a flagging and fraying central city coalition" (p. 138). "For some, spirituality is about signs and wonders and casting out evil spirits. There is a place for that, of course, as Jesus demonstrated. And if it deserves a more prominent place than most of us grant it, let us find some exorcists and go after the powers that be across a broad cultural front, including politics and economics" (p. 141).
Glen Kehrein and Raleigh Washington, Breaking Down Walls: A Model for Reconciliation in an Age of Racial Strife. The authors, one white and one black, tell of their experiences in ministering in a racially-mixed congregation in Chicago. They set forth eight principles for racial reconciliation: 1. commitment to relationship; 2. intentionality; 3. sincerity; 4. sensitivity; 5. interdependence; 6. sacrifice; 7. empowerment; and 8. call. Writing of his childhood days in Wisconsin, Mr. Kehrein says, "We readily accepted, without question, J. Edgar Hoover's accusation that Martin Luther King, Jr., was a Communist and Malcolm X a violent revolutionary" (p. 33). In a chapter entitled, "For White Christians Only," he states, "White Christians have a unique responsibility to address the tremendous pain surrounding racism, because racism at its core is sin, and Satan has used racism as a primary tool to divide not only our nation but the church as well. . . . As the Kerner Commission predicted after the riots in 1968, our country has become two nations_the haves and the have-nots. Essentially, middle- and upper-class whites are the haves, while most blacks and the underclass have been largely cut off from the American Dream. As Christians, we need to take responsibility for allowing ourselves to be carried along that mainstream" (p. 235). "Indeed, the heart of our racial problem may be that we white people often see ourselves as superior in accomplishment, intelligence, and power. We like to make the decisions and are comfortable when we are in control" (p. 236).
A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Editor, James Melville Washington, referred in his introduction to "[t]he red-baiting ideologues of Americanism such as J. Edgar Hoover, Strom Thurmond, and later George C. Wallace" (p. xvi). King spoke of "Jesus of Nazareth who dreamed a dream of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" (p. 15). He wrote, "I had come to see early that the Christian doctrine of love operating through the Gandhian method of nonviolence was one of the most potent weapons available to the Negro in his struggle for freedom. . . . [I]n the summer of 1957 the name of Mahatma Gandhi was well known in Montgomery. People who had never heard of the little brown saint of India were now saying his name with an air of familiarity. Nonviolent resistance had emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating ideal. In other words, Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method" (pp. 16-17). "The cross is the eternal expression of the length to which God will go in order to restore broken community. The resurrection is a symbol of God's triumph over all the forces that seek to block community. The Holy Spirit is the continuing community-creating reality that moves through history. He who works against community is working against the whole of creation" (p. 20). "It is true that there are devout believers in nonviolence who find it difficult to believe in a personal God. But even these persons believe in the existence of some creative force that works for universal wholeness. Whether we call it an unconscious process, an impersonal Brahman, or a Personal Being of matchless power and infinite love, there is a creative force in this universe that works to bring the disconnected aspects of reality into a harmonious whole" (ibid.). "It was wonderful to be in Gandhi's land, . . . to share reminiscences of his close comrades, to visit his ashrama, to see the countless memorials for him and finally to lay a wreath on his entombed ashes at Rajghat. . . . The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of nonviolence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community" (p. 25). "In its revolt against liberalism's overemphasis on the power of reason, neo-orthodoxy fell into a mood of antirationalism and semifunda-mentalism, stressing a narrow, uncritical biblicism. This approach, I felt, was inadequate both for the church and for personal life. . . . An adequate understanding of man is found neither in the thesis of liberalism nor in the antithesis of neo-orthodoxy, but in a synthesis which reconciles the truths of both. . . . My first contact with [existentialism] came through my reading of Kierkegaard and Nietzsche. Later I turned to a study of Jaspers, Heidegger and Sartre. . . . When I finally turned to a serious study of the works of Paul Tillich I became convinced that existentialism, in spite of the fact that it had become all too fashionable, had grasped certain basic truths about man and his condition that could not be permanently overlooked" (pp. 36-37). Upon entering seminary, "I was immediately influenced by the social gospel. In the early fifties I read Rauschenbusch's Christianity and the Social Crisis, a book which left an indelible imprint on my thinking. . . . [I]n spite of . . . shortcomings Rauschenbusch gave to American Protestantism a sense of social responsibility that it should never lose. The gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but his body, not only his spiritual well-being, but his material well-being. Any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial" (pp. 37-38). "And so the nonviolent resister never lets this idea go, that there is something within human nature that can respond to goodness. So that a Jesus of Nazareth or a Mohandas Gandhi, can appeal to human beings and appeal to that element of goodness within them, and a Hitler can appeal to the element of evil within them. But we must never forget that there is something within human nature that can respond to goodness, that man is not totally depraved; to put it in theological terms, the image of God is never totally gone" (p. 48). "The Constitution assured the right to vote, but there is no such assurance of the right to adequate housing, or the right to an adequate income. And yet, in a nation which has a gross national product of 750 billion dollars a year, it is morally right to insist that every person has a decent house, an adequate education and enough money to provide basic necessities for one's family" (p. 58). "I agree with the President's National Commission on Civil Disorders that our nation is splitting into two hostile societies and that the chief destructive cutting edge is white racism" (p. 64). "It's still a coalition-dominated, rural-dominated, basically southern Congress. There are Southerners there with committee chairmanships, and they are going to stand in the way of progress as long as they can. They get enough right-wing midwestern or northern Republicans to go along with them" (p. 66). "We need an economic bill of rights. This would guarantee a job to all people who want to work and are able to work. It would also guarantee an income for all who are not able to work. . . . It would mean creating certain public-service jobs, but that could be done in a few weeks. A program that would really deal with jobs could minimize_I don't say stop_the number of riots that could take place this summer. Our whole campaign, then, will center on the job question, with other demands, like housing, that are closely tied to it" (p. 67). "But I'm frank enough to admit that if our nonviolent campaign doesn't generate some progress, people are just going to engage in more violent activity, and the discussion of guerrilla warfare will be more extensive. In any event, we will not have been the ones who have failed. We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of the government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind. If that power refuses to acknowledge its debt to the poor, it will have failed to live up to its promise to insure 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' to its citizens. If this society fails, I fear that we will learn very shortly that racism is a sickness unto death. . . . But for a rare exception, [the riots] haven't killed any white people, and Negroes could, if they wished, kill by the hundreds. . . . But the amazing thing is that the Negro has vented his anger on property, not persons, even in the emotional turbulence of riots. But I'm convinced that if something isn't done to deal with the very harsh and real economic problems of the ghetto, the talk of guerrilla warfare is going to become much more real. . . . As committed as I am to nonviolence, I have to face this fact: if we do not get a positive response in Washington, many more Negroes will begin to think and act in violent terms" (pp. 69-70). "Segregation is nothing but slavery covered up with certain niceties of complexity. Segregation is a blatant denial of the unity which we all have in Christ Jesus" (p. 142). "And when we allow freedom to ring, . . . we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children_black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Catholics and Protestants_will be able to join hands and to sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, 'Free at last, free at last; thank God Almighty, we are free at last'" (p. 220). ". . . I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them" (p. 234). "[The Vietnamese] languish under our bombs and consider us_not their fellow Vietnamese_the real enemy. They move sadly and apathetically as we herd them off the land of their fathers into concentration camps where minimal social needs are rarely met. They know they must move or be destroyed by our bombs. . . . They watch as we poison their water, as we kill a million acres of their crops. They must weep as the bulldozers roar through their areas preparing to destroy the precious trees. They wander into hospitals, with at least twenty casualities from American firepower for every 'Vietcong'-inflicted injury. So far we may have killed a million of them_mostly children. . . . What do they think as we test out our latest weapons on them, just as the Germans tested out new medicine and new tortures in the concentration camps of Europe? . . . We have cooperated in the crushing of the nation's only non-Communist revolutionary political force_the unified Buddhist church. We have supported the enemies of the peasants of Saigon. We have corrupted their women and children and killed their men. What liberators!" (p. 236). "It will become clear that our minimal expectation is to occupy [Vietnam] as an American colony and men will not refrain from thinking that our maximum hope is to goad China into a war so that we may bomb her nuclear installations. . . . In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war" (p. 239). "These are revolutionary times. All over the globe men are revolting against old systems of exploitation and oppression and out of the wombs of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are rising up as never before. 'The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light.' We in the West must support these revolutions. . . . Our only hope today lies in our ability to recapture the revolutionary spirit and go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism. . . . A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. . . . When I speak of love . . . I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. [It is a] Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief" (p. 242). ". . . [C]ommunism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. . . . [Jesus said to Nicodemus,] 'Your whole structure must be changed.' . . . All of these problems [exploiting of the poor, foreign investments, and military might to protect them] are tied together. What I am saying today is that we must go from this convention and say, 'America, you must be born again!'" (pp. 250-51). "God didn't call America to engage in a senseless, unjust war, [such] as the war in Vietnam. And we are criminals in that war. We have committed more war crimes almost than any nation in the world" (p. 265) "Dives went to hell because he was passed by Lazarus every day and he never really saw him. He went to hell because he allowed his brother to become invisible. Dives went to hell because he maximized the minimum and minimized the maximum. Indeed, Dives went to hell because he sought to become a conscientious objector in the war against poverty" (p. 274). In "Letter from Birmingham City Jail," King wrote, "just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Graeco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown" (p. 290).
Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Strange Pilgrims. This is a collection of twelve stories, described by the dust jacket this way: "An ailing Caribbean ex-President is befriended in Geneva by an ambitious ambulance driver and his headstrong wife. Margarito Duarte comes to Rome from the Colombian Andes with a box the shape and size of a cello case in order to show the Pope its contents. A woman who wears a snake ring with emerald eyes and is known only as Frau Frieda to the Latin American students in Vienna makes a living by telling her dreams to wealthy families. A pretty Mexican music hall performer is returning to Barcelona when her car breaks down, and she ends up in an insane asylum. In Tuscany, a vacationing family visits a Renaissance castle now owned by a famous Venezualan writer and meets up with a phantom. Maria dos Prazeres, once Barcelona's most sought-after lady of the night, has a dream in which death appears, so she begins to plan her own funeral. A widow dressed in the habit of Saint Francis sails to Rome from Argentina to meet the Pope. A beautiful Caribbean boy is driven mad in Spain. A German governess detroys the summer for her wards_and is herself destroyed. Billy Sanchez takes his pregnant wife with a cut on her finger to a hospital in Paris_and never sees her again. Once again in this breathtaking collection, Gabriel Garcia Marquez invites us into worlds of majesty and magic, from which we emerge spellbound."
Jim Wallis, The Call to Conversion. "The looting by the poor simply mirrors the looting of the poor that has gone on in this country for a long time. The spirit of pillage in our inner cities is a crude and desparate reflection of an entire economic order whose basic premise is looting_the looting of the rich by the poor, legitimized and rationalized into a global economic system" (p. 42). "Ironically, a movement [evangelicalism] that once fought to free slaves, support industrial workers, and liberate women now has a reputation for accommodating racism, favoring business over labor, and resisting equal rights for women" (p. 56). "We could have realized that, while Hitler and his allies had been defeated, the victory of the spirit of Nazism was present in the ashes of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We could have seen how low we had descended and been shaken out of our lethargy to act then to restore some sanity and peace to the world around us. Or we could choose to descend still further into the moral abyss by justifying what we had done. We could quickly create military, ideological, and national security reasons for the new weapon. We could seek to turn its possession to our own political advantage and decide to build more and bigger bombs. As history has shown, we took the latter course" (p. 76). "The sign of the nuclear age is the Bomb. The sign of Christ is the Cross. The Bomb is the countersign to the Cross; it arrogantly threatens to undo the work that the Cross has done. . . . Which sign will the church choose for its own life? The great evangelistic task before us is to convert our people from the Bomb to the Cross" (p. 88). "What was one's pastoral responsibility toward those who were building the ovens [in Nazi Germany]? And today, what is one's pastoral responsibility toward those who are building, for example, Trident submarines that are capable of creating infernos many times more destructive than the ovens at Auschwitz? . . . When a pastor encourages young people to refuse to register for the military draft, he or she receives a torrent of criticism" (p. 91). "Jesus was there at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He was beside the woman who left only a shadow on a wall. Jesus was with the victims. He felt their terror and their pain because he was among them in the inferno. What was done to them was done to him. 'As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' On the cross, Jesus took upon himself every sin, every hate, every fear, every violence, and every death, including those of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. He took our place. He represented us. Jesus bore in his own body the wrath that we deserved. The death of the Japanese thousands, and the spirit of violence that felled them, fell on Jesus at Calvary. He was there with them. By remembering the weight of the sin he bore at Calvary, we have an intimation of his agony at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. By seeing him there, we begin to understand the sufferings of those places. Perhaps we can better comprehend the deaths of millions in a nuclear war if we realize that Jesus would be the central victim. . . . Jesus would be there with every father, mother, and terrified child in thousands of infernos. He would feel every death. What this means is that every missile today is aimed at Jesus. . . . Those who aim the weapons but remain blind to the victims will be blind to this victim too. But Jesus is there. Every nuclear attack will be directed finally at him. Every silo, bomber, and submarine will empty its destructive power on the one who has already borne the sin of the world. More than any violence the world has known, nuclear war will be a crucifixion of humanity and a recrucifixion of Jesus" (pp. 101-02).
The other books on the list are as follows: Sojourners Editors, America's Original Sin: A Study Guide on White Racism; Ray Bakke, The Urban Christian; Chan Sucheng, Asian Americans: An Interpretive History; John Dawson, Healing America's Wounds; Robert Lupton, Theirs is the Kingdom: Celebrating the Gospel in Urban America; Manuel Ortiz, One New People; John Perkins and Thomas Tarrants, He's My Brother; John Perkins and Jo Kadlecek, Resurrecting Hope: Powerful Stories of God Reaching the City; and Spencer Perkins and Chris Rice, More Than Equals.