"The book strikes a delicate balance between constructive criticism and a deep awareness of and sympathy for the perspectives of both white and black. . . [Peter Slade] gets the story remarkably right, with all its nuances."--The Christian Century
"In a book that artfully combines theology, history, and sociology, Peter Slade examines the 'lived theology' of Mission Mississippi. . . . this book is a theological analysis awaiting the final verdict of history. And while Mississippi's history gives little reason for hope in this regard, Slade's perceptive study does."--Journal of American Studies
"Open Friendship in a Closed Society
is a compelling account of how prayer and friendship have enabled Christians in Mississippi to pursue racial reconciliation in the aftermath of the civil rights era. With keen attention to personal narratives and historical background, author Peter Slade leads the reader in an exciting exploration of the global implications of a local experiment in lived theology. I consider this book to be required reading for anyone who is willing to reconsider how religious practices and ideas can bring about social change."
--Cheryl J. Sanders, Author of Saints in Exile and Ministry at the Margins
"This is an excellent piece of lived theology. The theological concept is the 'open friendship' of Jesus Christ. The situation is the closed churches and closed white society of Mississippi. The agent is Mission Mississippi. The solution is: opening friendship with the excluded, the other, the stranger. The goal can't be personal relationships only, the new common cause must be social justice for the oppressed and discriminated. Peter Slade offers a peace-making book."
--Jürgen Moltman, Author of Theology of Hope
"Peter Slade has listened carefully to the voice of the religious people doing the hard work of racial reconciliation, and his analysis puts them in fruitful conversation with academic theologians. This book makes original and powerful links across cultures, from Germany to the American South, to show connections between scholarly considerations of reconciliation and the lived experiences of people struggling to deal with one of the nation's most pressing concerns--transcending racial and religious barriers to achieve social healing. It is wide ranging, subtle, and incisive, with practical implications for the work of the theologian and the churchgoer."
--Charles Reagan Wilson, author of Judgment and Grace in Dixie
and Editor-in-chief of The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture
"This is a remarkably well written and researched volume which details the inspiring work of an exceptional organization and some dedicated individuals who have been leading a southern community on a slow and conflicted journey out of a racially and theologically closed society. No one can read this book without a greater appreciation of the complexities but at the same time the heartening possibilities that are involved in the vital task of racial and spiritual reconciliation. It also serves as a reminder of the universality of the importance of that task."
--William F. Winter, Former Governor of Mississippi
"[Slade's] theological arguments and historical observations are tightly woven and winsomely written, and the mix of pragmatism and hope that permeates the book makes it not only wise but also useful, a welcome quality considering that Mississippi's problems are not as distinctive as its history suggests."--Books and Culture