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Gracism: The Art of Inclusion (BridgeLeader Books) Hardcover – May 1, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Anderson, pastor of Bridgeway Community Church in Baltimore (and author of Multicultural Ministry) advocates "gracism" and encourages people to focus "on race for the purpose of positive ministry and service." Against conventional wisdom, he argues that Christians should extend favor to people based on "color, class, or culture." Because of the increasing number of minorities in America, Anderson argues, this makes good demographic sense, but it also makes biblical sense, because Scripture enjoins Christians to extend themselves on behalf of the downtrodden and the outcast. Anderson outlines many steps Christians can take toward gracism: they can lift people up in prayer, and celebrate with people from other ethnic groups. He encourages churches to partner with, rather than adopt, poorer churches around the globe. On a very practical level, Anderson calls those who have personal ties with bankers to leverage those relationships and help minorities, who are often discriminated against when they try to secure a loan or buy a house. This is a thoughtful but flawed book. Too-cute phrasing abounds ("racism is not... a skin problem but is a sin problem"). Occasional digressions, like Anderson's musing about his wife's immodest dress, are distracting. Still, Anderson's framework is innovative, and the discussion questions included after each chapter will usefully guide the conversations that this provocative manifesto is sure to inspire. (June)
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In this book the author encourages people to be gracious to minorities and help them live a quality life. Anderson skillfully explains this biblical mandate to care for the marginalized. (Book Bargains and Previews, May 2008)
If you have been exposed to this idea of God desiring ethnic reconciliation and justice but have felt overwhelmed by the task or wondered why it should even be a priority, this book is for you. (Being Redefined Blog, May 25, 2007)
Anderson has practiced what he preaches, which is to honor diversity and be committed to the dignity of other races and cultures. His concept of gracism--as opposed to racism--involves not accepting special treatment at the expense of another and not just ministering to the "least of these," but standing alongside them. (Outreach, July/August 2007)
Anderson's framework is innovative, and the discussion questions included after each chapter will usefully guide the conversations that this provocative manifesto is sure to inspire. (Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2007)
"After reading this book, I am convinced: we need gracism. Division and inequality are consequences of our fallen world. But as the members of the church we must walk against division and injustice. The brilliance of this book is that we are shown how to overcome individual-level racism, clearly and plainly. Dr. Anderson provides us with real tools for real life. Gracism is an act, a state of being. Members of the body, let's be gracists." (Michael Emerson, Founding Director, Center on Race, Religion, and Urban Life, Rice University, and coauthor of Divided by Faith and United by Faith)
"Dr. David Anderson is one of the finest reconciliation practitioners that I know. In this book, Gracism: The Art of Inclusion, he honestly shares his journey into a profound concept that has the potential to revolutionize how we confront racism to create a society with liberty and justice for all." (Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil, President, Salter McNeil & Associates, LLC, Co-author of The Heart of Racial Justice: How Soul Change Leads to Social Change)
"David Anderson speaks, lives and is called to the truth of multicultural relationships and ministry. This book is not a book just for black people to work with whites or whites to learn how to be sensitive to blacks, but a book about God's practical, real transforming grace for all people to be kingdom people." (Phil Jackson, lead pastor, The House, coauthor, The Hip-Hop Church)
"David Anderson addresses one of the real solutions to the issue of racism with this difficult practice of grace! David's take from an African American perspective enlightens us to how deep racism runs even in Christian institutions and relationships, but more than that, he also offers us a biblical initiative to lead us to the vision of being a community that reflects the diversity of God." (Dave Gibbons, lead pastor, NewSong Church, and CVO, Xealot Inc.)
"A tough-minded book and clear-sighted look at what it means for Christians to 'overcome evil with good.' If metaphor is metamorphosis, the metaphor of 'gracism' will change how we do church like it's changed how I do life." (Leonard Sweet, E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism, The Theological School, Drew University, and Visiting Distinguished Professor, George Fox University)
"With profound concepts and a compelling voice, Gracism creates an accessible tool for navigating culture clashes. Anderson merges a sophisticated understanding of cultural dynamics with real-time, everyday advice. He takes old-time concepts like 'favor' and gives them flesh and blood for a modern world." (Nikki A. Toyama, coeditor of More Than Serving Tea: Asian American Women on Expectations, Relationships, Leadership and Faith)
"Dr. David Anderson has given us both a great new word and a fresh way to approach our racial and cultural divisions in the church--and in life. I'm hoping a huge audience will read this book and discover the heart and passion of one of the racial reconciliation movement's most dynamic young leaders." (Edward Gilbreath, author of Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical's Inside View of White Christianity)
"Anderson provides us with more than just a theoretical or political rationale for Christians to work toward racial reconciliation. He also provides us with practical methods by which this reconciliation may be achieved. Gracism needs to become a term common to Christians of all races. As we follow the advice in this important book we will find ourselves becoming inclusive of those who are different than us. As Anderson so ably demonstrates, it is when we develop the heart and skills necessary for such a conclusion that we will be able to truly adopt Christlike attitudes toward our racially different neighbors and colleagues." (George Yancey, associate professor of sociology, University of North Texas, author of Beyond Racial Gridlock)
"What a beautiful--and needed!--book. Dave Anderson calls people who are saved by the grace of God to extend grace to their neighbors, whoever they are. I can't imagine anyone reading this book without being marked for life as an agent of gracism, which may be the best synonym for reconciliation ever invented." (Brian D. McLaren, author/activist)
"David Anderson is a powerful voice of hope and a national leader in racial reconciliation. This book provides a new--and the only--'ism' that can heal the deep wounds of racism." (Donald T. Floyd Jr., President and CEO, National 4-H Council) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
So I'd like to temper my critique with the above.
1. The book is simplistic and takes a while to make obvious points.
2. The author using "I" too many times, and the book tends to be self-centered on the author's experiences. I found that distracting.
3. The biblical connections were excellent. I learned somethings from this book in that regard. The author explains them very well.
4.I liked the questions for discussion at the end of each chapter. They would serve a study group very well.
5. The author was very gracious to all parties: it is not a "bash the whites" book at all.
6. I found it difficult to assess Dr. Anderson's political affiliation, and see this as a good sign he's focused on helping everyone.
7. I do wish Dr. Anderson avoided some political correctness buzz phrases (multiculturalism, for example). It had my hackles up, unnecessarily.
Reviewer: Bob Kellemen, Ph.D., is the author of Beyond the Suffering: Embracing the Legacy of African American Soul Care and Spiritual Direction , Soul Physicians: A Theology of Soul Care and Spiritual Direction, and Spiritual Friends: A Methodology of Soul Care And Spiritual Direction.
Peace starts at home and in community and knowing others individually and not as part of a group breaks
down the stereotypes. Reverend Anderson while sharing stories about inclusion or the lack of it also
provides practical suggestions about how to do extend grace to others.