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Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism Paperback – January 19, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In this emotionally wrenching yet accessible book, Hart theologian and minister provides an overview of the systemic racism that nonwhite people, particularly African-Americans, face in the U.S. today, as well as the responses of Bible-based Christian theology...A savvy and balanced blend of the topics that should serve as a useful introduction for Christians of all races who haven t yet understood the full scope of the problem and been inspired to enact change. Publisher s Weekly

In this raw, honest, truth-telling book, Drew Hart offers himself his life, his story, his tears, his fire in the most vulnerable way in the hopes of interrupting the vulgar disposability of black lives in our society. This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in this country. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you and our blood-stained streets. Drew Hart s Trouble I ve Seen is a memoir in the tradition of the blues...it is theological blues...and it will move you to do something about the ugly residue of racism that still haunts us. Shane Claiborne, author of The Irresistible Revolution

Drew Hart masterfully cuts through all the platitudes and good intentions to reach the fleshy, beating heart of true justice. An unforgettable read, Trouble I ve Seen deserves the church s full attention and considered action. It certainly challenged and changed me.

--Rachel Held Evans, bestselling author of A Year of Biblical Womanhood and Searching for Sunday

Reader, brace yourself! Trouble I ve Seen, one of the best books I ve encountered on race and Christian faith, will illuminate and challenge the assumptions that you don t even know you possess. I urge you to pay close attention to Drew Hart s eye-opening analysis. Christena Cleveland, author of Disunity in Christ, from foreword

Drew Hart makes a courageous and compelling call to the church to get on the road to racial reconciliation and righteousness. He provides practical insights and deep theological reflections in this challenging and necessary resource. You won t be comfortable with this read, but you will be led into the deep waters of the social dilemma and reality of the race matrix. In the end, there is an opportunity for the church to be a bridge over these troubled waters. Efrem Smith, president and CEO of World Impact and author of The Post-Black and Post-White Church

Drew Hart is an emerging voice in the one of the most difficult conversations facing the church today the reality and ongoing effects of white supremacy in American Christianity. He challenges the church to take a long, hard look at its complicity with the racism that still permeates our society and to be transformed in thought, word, and deed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. A provocative, powerful, and necessary book.

--John R. Franke, theologian in residence, Second Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis

Trouble I ve Seen makes it plain: in repenting of white supremacy, we have nothing to lose and everything to be liberated from. Hart refuses to silence two gospel scandals that cannot be separated: that in Christ, Pharaoh s armies are invited into the Promised Land, but the only way in is through the waters, where Pharaoh s supremacy and his chariots are drown-ded. This is the saving solidarity of Christ s cross. Jarrod McKenna, award-winning peace activist and cofounder of First Home Project

In a critical moment of American history, Drew Hart has given us a book that is vital for the church. Trouble I ve Seen captures the complexity of race in its systemic and personal consequences and points us to why race should be central to any Christian s life as a follower of Jesus. It is a book for people who are just beginning this journey and for those of us who need encouragement along the way.

--Brian Bantum, associate professor of theology, Seattle Pacific University and Seminary

From the Back Cover

What if racial reconciliation doesn't look like what you expected? The high-profile killings of young black men and women by white police officers, and the protests and violence that ensued, have convinced many white Christians to reexamine their intuitions when it comes to race and justice.

In this provocative book, theologian and blogger Drew G. I. Hart places police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-black stereotypes, poverty, and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. He argues that white Christians have repeatedly gotten it wrong about race because dominant culture and white privilege have so thoroughly shaped their assumptions. He also challenges black Christians about neglecting the most vulnerable in their own communities. Leading readers toward Jesus, Hart offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice.

What if all Christians listened to the stories of those on the racialized margins? How might the church be changed by the trouble they've seen?

"This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets."--Shane Claiborne, author of "The Irresistible Revolution"

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Herald Press (January 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1513800000
  • ISBN-13: 978-1513800004
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent book! Drew Hart writes "truth in love" about racism to white Christians in the U.S. using clear examples of personal experiences and knowledge of the Bible, history, and current events. Jesus and his life and teachings are front and center. I will need to re-read to capture the layers. And buy a few more copies to share with friends.
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Format: Paperback
Few topics cause the emotional response that racism does, especially when we discuss the wider Christian cultures culpability in perpetuating it. Those of us who are white are especially nervous, not wanting to be characterized as "racist", conjuring images of cross-burning extremists. What we need more than anything is an honest, yet unwavering examination of the history that is offered with the grace and hope that real change can happen.

That is what this book offers, written by someone who has and continues to do the hard work of reconciliation- Drew G.I. Hart. This book is a much needed resource for churches, organizations and individuals who want to see the restoration of the beloved community. Few books are more timely and important as this one. Order it now.

(The only reason I gave this book 4 stars, instead of 5, is because many potential readers dismiss 5 star reviews as being "fanboy" propaganda.)
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I appreciate Drew’s thoughtfulness and bravery in approaching such a challenging subject. This book is a much needed resource to help the church move from viewing incidents in our society as ‘isolated’ or ‘exceptional’ to understanding how they are deeply woven into the systems that structure our society. Through his story and sharp intellect he illuminates the complexities of the racial divide that has plagued the church through time. I deeply appreciate that this is written to faith-based communities. Often resources on race and racism are secular and miss the transformational power of Christ. Drew is able to weave in faith to complex societal issues in a way that invites everyone into the hard work of reconciliation.
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Format: Paperback
TROUBLE I’VE SEEN: CHANGING THE WAY THE CHURCH VIEWS RACISM
DREW G. I. HART

W. E. B. DuBois, in The Souls of Black Folk, defined the problem of the day in the United States as the Negro problem and the color line. Carter G. Woodson spoke of the detrimental effect for all, not just Negroes when people use the United States construct of race to define self-worth in The Miseducation of the Negro because everyone loses if there is anyone who is the “oppressed less than” among us. Drew G. I. Hart puts into contemporary language the teachings of these great twentieth century scholars in Trouble I’ve Seen, and adds an eight-step prescription to put the reader on the right path to realizing the fulfillment of God’s kingdom with Jesus Christ resuming his role as the architect working through the church.
Hart outlines the problem of the color line in describing his experience in the city, on campus at a Christian college and interactions with Christian clergy and lay people in those environments. The problem is that the person of color lives in two worlds, the community of people of color and the dominant culture, while the person in the dominant culture is unaware of, and thus ill equipped to see the other in his different culture. The person in the dominant culture sees his experience as “the experience,” not as it really is, one of many perspectives in the midst of many cultures that are part of the United States of America. Unable to see the other’s culture, the person immersed in the dominant culture cannot find value in that which he cannot see and thus, assigns no value that which is beyond the experience of living solely in the dominant culture.
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So this book is several things.

One, it is a book of theology of the kingdom of the Messiah. Dr. Hart lays out the plans of God through Jesus Christ in instituting his kingdom, which is topsy-turvy: it is not power-based, it is not authority-based, it is not self-based. It is, instead, based upon love and community, honesty and commitment, risk and sacrifice and the great great reward of connection with Jesus. For that alone, you should read this book.

It is also a book about America, plainly stated, as it was, and is, and perhaps may not always be. It is a book about how we Christians have acquired a worldview of the church and society, of God and Jesus, that matches with our own estimation of the normalcy of "whiteness." There are books which will give you much more detail about the American past, creating the concept of "whiteness" and "blackness" in order to justify power and ownership of one person over another. There are books which will give you more details about how these all worked out in society, from redlining to education to family stability to job access, even to the point of membership and participation in the church. The thesis is that we American Christians have re-created the Jesus of Scripture to be a slightly more beneficent-appearing Uncle Sam, a Jesus committed to the supremacy of America, along with its violence and authority and rulership. The Jesus of the America church, he argues, represents a Jesus we have created in our image so that we may receive approval for our actions in his name.
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