by Chris P. Rice
Why this book matters
It is rare to find someone willing to tell their own story of struggling to overcome the complexities of racism in real time (events just passed) and open honesty. This compelling portrayal of blacks and whites living together and working to overcome the American racial divide shows that glossy-eyed idealism won’t cut it, that there will be pain involved and a million reasons and chances to quit. But the journey can be taken, in God’s grace, and its worth it.
Several families and individuals move in and do life together by building community, working in ministry, sharing pains and trials, while living literally under the same roof. As the work both grows and struggles, “success” is seen and then seemingly lost, and all the while the author is so painfully honest about his own sin and internal struggles of jealousy that you can’t help but think: “This thing is over!!” in many places as they journey on.
Chris Rice and Spencer Perkins are the central characters and it is the forging and testing of their relationship that creates the basic narrative of the book. As Voice of Calvary ministries, CCDA, The Urban Family magazine and other things are started in the wake of John Perkins, Chris and Spencer find their places of voice and leadership along the way. Their personal relationship is central to understanding racial reconciliation at a level that cuts well below the surface.
The agony of Spencer’s untimely passing near the end of the story is heartbreaking. The reality of the long, hard, yet grace-filled road of racial reconciliation is told not so much in theory as in blood, sweat and tears.
Chapter worth the price of the book
One after the next. Each chapter is built on the one before in this narrative and therefore, if you read the first chapter the next will simply add drama, value, insight and grace to your understanding of Chris, Spencer, human nature amidst the struggle of racial reconciliation.
Quote: A mentor that often gave sage advice said the following well into the process of struggling to live together and love one another:
“Giving each other grace is looking at people through God’s eyes. It’s internalizing God’s love so much that we can get into the bones of others that God loves them – by serving, valuing and caring for them. The Bible doesn’t talk about Jesus warm feelings for his disciples. It’s mostly about how he served them – a bunch of failures, doubters, and traitors. God wants us to use our lives to help each other understand who God is.” P 257.
If you liked this book you may want to consider
More Than Equals: Racial Healing for the Sake of the Gospel by Chris Rice and Spencer Perkins