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Beyond Colorblind: Redeeming Our Ethnic Journey Paperback – November 14, 2017
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"This is groundbreaking work: first, it highlights how a lack of ethnic identity is a barrier to being effective witnesses, and then it calls all people to ethnic identity, awareness, healing, and reconciliation through the gospel. It's brilliant and it's good news!" (James Choung, author of True Story and Real Life)
"How might Christian communities break away from the powerful grip of a colorblind narrative? By challenging Christians to reinterpret the significance and meaning of ethnicity through the lens of the good news of Jesus, this timely work points to a clear pathway forward that is biblical, pastoral, and prophetic. I strongly recommend Sarah Shin's work to all Christians who seek to better understand how our Christian and ethnic identities intersect in today's multicultural world." (Peter Cha, professor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
"In Beyond Colorblind, Sarah Shin offers us a personal and practical resource as we explore the issues of ethnicity, race, and diversity in our fractured world. This important book will prod at your heart at times, perhaps challenging you to reflect on your own assumptions. But it also serves to equip you―as a friend or neighbor, as a church or community leader, in work or in love. With humility, wisdom, and compassion, Sarah calls us to 'become ethnicity aware in order to address the beauty and brokenness in our ethnic stories and the stories of others.' Essential reading for today." (Jo Saxton, chair of 3DMovements, speaker, author of More Than Enchanting)
"I will never forget hearing Dr. John Perkins say that if we want to disciple people in the Christian faith, a primary focus should be on stewarding ethnic identity. I also will never forget having no idea what that meant or how to do it! I wish I had Beyond Colorblind when I first heard those words. In this critical work, Sarah Shin lays the foundation for ethnic identity in a winsome manner and with a thoughtful approach. I'm convinced that when the light bulb turns on for the importance of ethnic identity, this book will become a can't-miss resource." (Daniel Hill, pastor, author of White Awake)
"Beautifully written and astute. Sarah Shin takes readers on a deep, honest, and spiritual journey through the complications of our racial history. Along the way, she dismantles the objections of thin thinking and religious sentimentality while depositing a rich, nuanced, and healthy soil in its place. Whatever your background or level of experience in this conversation, Sarah's voice and wisdom will add rich texture to your understanding. I can't recommend Beyond Colorblind highly enough." (Ken Wytsma, author of The Myth of Equality)
"Sarah Shin is brilliant! Beyond Colorblind is revolutionary; it is a prophetic, pragmatic, and plucky guide for recovering the gifts and blessings of our ethnic journey. Grounded in Scripture and empowered by personal narratives, this masterpiece is kingdom-focused, Christ-centered, and full of healing. Beyond being a 'must-read' book, this is a 'must-study' resource." (Emmett G. Price III, executive director, Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)
"For some reason, the American church has decided that a disability should be considered an asset. The unbiblical and unhelpful approach of being colorblind in a diverse world has resulted in significant unintended negative consequences that have adversely impacted the work of the multiethnic church. Sarah Shin calls us to move beyond our superficial understanding of culture, race, and ethnicity toward a more biblical theological approach that offers the hope of healing." (Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary, author of Prophetic Lament and The Next Evangelicalism)
"The unbiblical and unhelpful approach of being colorblind in a diverse world has resulted in significant unintended negative consequences that have adversely impacted the work of the multiethnic church. Sarah Shin calls us to move beyond our superficial understanding of culture, race, and ethnicity toward a more biblical theological approach that offers the hope of healing." (Soong-Chan Rah, North Park Theological Seminary, author of Prophetic Lament and The Next Evangelicalism)
"Ignoring our diversity is not faithful to the Scriptures, the reality that we live in, or the future of the church. Sarah's experience as a minister of the gospel as well as her voice as a woman of color bring a unique perspective that is both deeply theological and richly experiential. What a gift it is to have a resource on crosscultural fluency that is crafted for the whole church." (Sandra Maria Van Opstal, executive pastor, Grace and Peace Community, author of The Next Worship)
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In “Beyond Colorblind” Sarah Shin points out the danger of following this flow and challenges us to follow God’s heart of recognizing the beauty that lies within every one of our heritages. We need to understand how to highlight and cherish our identities yet be sensitive and gracious at the same time in order to love each other fully and be reconciled through and with God.
The book highlights numerous conversations and situations that we all have experienced (or probably will sometime) in the context of our churches, campuses, or work settings, which easily drew me in to examine my own gut reactions and thoughts. There is a large amount of historical context given in the book along with instruction on navigating the topic of race and justice, yet the book is also firmly rooted in the scripture. The author notes the multiple times in the Bible that highlights racial tension between the many nations (the Samaritan woman at the well, early church's possible split in Acts 6, etc) and the ways God uses his covenant in the Old Testament and Jesus and the early church in the New Testament.
I particularly enjoyed Chapter 3 “The Cracks in Our Ethnicity” as it laid out the need to recognize our brokenness to confess, lament and repent so that we can name these cracks and start the healing process, even if it may be a difficult one. Chapter 6 "Trust-building with Ethnic Strangers" was also insightful as it went through the concrete ways to converse with others about their ethnic identities in appropriate and empowering ways.
It’s clear through the author’s numerous personal stories that she’s been a bridge-builder to those around her. I’m thankful that this book exists not only to share those testimonies with the reader but also to equip and encourage us to do the same whoever and wherever we are. I hope to be part of this healing movement as well.
Sarah Shin writes in a conversational style that is both befriending and compelling. Each chapter is followed by discussion questions to help the reader better engage the material and apply the concepts to their personal life. The first half of the book is all about what it means to invite Jesus into the journey of understanding our ethnic backgrounds. The second half of the book is all about what it looks like to steward our ethnic heritage to better bless those around us. Her writing is both compelling and practical. Beyond Colorblind stands out because of the ways in which I can see myself using quotes from different chapters to best articulate concepts I’ve been mulling over for some time.
As someone who has struggled to find my role in conversations about race and ethnicity, I find this book both refreshing as well as challenging. The material is fresh, inspiring, and even healing as I saw glimpses of my own story reflected in different snippets throughout the book. Because Shin weaves stories together from a wide array of experiences. Black, Latino, Native, Asian, white American and more, I’ve seen people from all types of different backgrounds find the book helpful. Honestly I had hardly finished before I found myself ordering more copies to pass out to friends and coworkers.
“You can identify a good mentor by watching them share how Jesus transformed their ethnic journeys. They know and embrace who they are ethnically; they can articulate the good in their culture, talk about their brokenness that Jesus is healing, and steward who they are for the kingdom.” (130). I'd highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to better understand how God has made your ethnicity and culture, and desiring to engage with others in dialogue about how to embrace one another. 5 stars!